- Books, Literature, and Writing
Are comicbooks riddled with political correctness? No!
Do you think Comicbooks are becoming too PC?
I'm a huge fan of comicbooks, I think that they're fun, action-packed, a great blend of art and literature, and are often deeply political and/or philosophical!
Recently, many popular characters have been changed.Some, have come out of the closet, such as Ice-Man or Green Lantern (Alan Scott) .Some have changed ethnicity such as Spider-Man, Ms.Marvel, or Green Lantern (Simon Baz). And Thor has even changed gender. Many people, when discovering these changes are quick to say 'This is the result of political correctness!' However, as both a fan of comicbooks and a hater of political correctness, I cannot agree with that statement.
I won't go into too much detail on why I hate political correctness so much, but to summarise it in one sentence... It infringes of freedom of speech, it prevents people from doing their jobs for fear of being called 'racist' and other names (Rotherham), and it makes it difficult to have certain political discussions (such as those on immigration).
But, whilst I do hate it, I don't think that it is responsible for the increase of diversity within comicbooks.
Diversity is what sells.
The main reason why comicbooks are becoming more diverse is not because of political correctness but because of capitalism. Superheores who have had a change of gender, ethnicity or sexuality are simply selling better than they did before the changes (and the ones that don't go back fairly quickly).
For example, in September 2014, one month before Thor's hammer was handed over to Jane Foster, 'Thor:God of Thunder' was the 25th best selling comicbook of that month. However in March 2015, 'Thor' was the 11th!
Kamala Khan, the first Muslim-American-Marvel-Hero has also been incredibly popular. In October 2014, Ms.Marvel Vol 1, became the best selling graphic novel of that month. She also made it onto 'The New York Times Best Seller list of paperback graphic books' several times; she reached number 2 in November 2014, number 4 in April 2015, and number 3 in July 2015.
The evidence shows that diversity sells, and because Marvel (and DC) are both companies, they're obviously going to sell that characters that make money!
Certain occasions have shown that diversity pretty much sells itself, for example when 'Thor' was announced to be becoming a woman, and when 'Ice-Man' was revealed to be gay, many news sites (most of them not even comicbook ones) were writing about it. Some of them were quite complimentary, others not so much. But regardless of that, this news coverage help sell these comicbooks.
The reason why comicbooks are becoming more diverse is not because of political correctness but because of capitalism.
'It's just diversity for the sake of diversity!'
Whilst I don't completely disagree with the statement, I don't find it a particularly valid criticism. For those of you who say that comicbooks are just becoming more diverse 'for the sake of diversity', let me ask you this. What would you consider a good reason for it? I'm sure pretty much everyone would agree that variety is not a bad thing!
Although, it's not absolutely needed neither are most things in fiction. Why do comicbooks contain fight scenes or brightly coloured outfits? For the same reasons that comicbooks are no longer filled with straight white men. Because of what readers like!
Comics have always represented society. X-Men came about due to high levels of discrimination during the 60s, Wonder Woman was a result of the rise of feminism, and Captain America was created due to the rising threat of Hitler and the Nazis. Because of comics' tendency to mirror society but in a fun way,it would make sense that superheroes become more diverse as society does so too.
So whilst comics are becoming more diverse 'for the sake of it', they are doing so in order to better represent both society, and the readers and writers of comicbooks!
'Why do you have to change current superheroes? Why can't you just create new ones and make them gay/ethnic/female?'
New superheroes rarely (of course there are exceptions, but generally speaking) end up selling as well as the ones that have already been known for some time. Take for example the homosexual characters 'Hulking' and 'Midnighter' - I know that they're technically based on Hulk and Batman, but let's leave that to the side for now - whilst most comicbook readers know about them (and probably know they're gay), the titles they star in are not particularly successful in terms of sales figures.
If we take a look at the comicbook sales from across 2015, we can see that the most popular ones are ones with already established characters in them! The simple fact of the matter is that already well-known characters tend to sell better than new ones!
Plus, changing characters does create a talking point,and people talking about it is what sells these comicbooks. Do you think they would sell as well if they made new characters?
When you complain that Spider-Man is black, or that Thor is female, or that Ice-Man is gay, ask yourself this question... Is what makes these superheroes who they are, their skin colour, gender or sexual orientation? Of course not! Just to be clear, there are some superheroes where changing their skin colour (Black Panther) or gender (Wonder Woman) would change the character, but generally, they're not being ruined at all!
After reading this, do you think that comicbooks are becoming too PC?
In summary, political correctness is not ruining comicbooks. Even thought I detest political correctness, it's not responsible for the increase in diversity amongst superheroes. Diversity just sells better. It's capitalism- And I am a huge believer in capitalism!
So whilst political correctness is a massive problem, and I would strongly suggest you stand against it, it does not affect comicbooks in the way that some critics say it does.
Thank you for reading this, and if you disagree, feel free to tell me why in the comments!