2017 - The Year Liberals Lost Comics #Comicsgate

Stan Lee
Back when our comics were written by people with common sense.

2017 was undoubtedly a year of high-profile conservative wins (the economy came roaring back, ISIS was virtually defeated, many of Trump’s key agenda was passed successfully) and liberal defeats (the Trump “resistance” was full of impotent freakouts and flame-outs, liberal attempts to control the media, sports and pop culture resulted in low ratings and game attendance, and people finally found out what a cesspool liberal Hollywood is). But there was another big loss for the Left in the culture that mostly flew under the radar and is worth discussing: in 2017, the left’s control of comic books (particularly Marvel Comics, the de facto leader standard-bearer for the entire industry) came to a head in what became known as Comicsgate. And while Comicsgate is not over yet, the good news is, a few months ago, the Left suffered a decisive (and perhaps inevitable) loss from which they will likely never recover. More on that later, but first, a little history so that you can see how we got to where we are.

Like most comic book makers, Marvel has leaned left for a long time, perhaps since its founding. But it wasn’t too long ago that its focus remained on storytelling, with the occasional political theme thrown in for good measure. But that started to change during the early 2000s, as its great leaders of the past like Stan Lee started to fade away from leadership, to be replaced by the Joe Quesada era. Then we started getting propaganda-laden storylines like Captain America fighting the Tea Party but not Al Qaeda, Spider-Man hanging out with Barack Obama, and of course Civil War, in which the superheroes bitterly fought each other over Superhero Registration, a thinly-veiled metaphor for the Bush-era Patriot Act. But even throughout all of that, storytelling was king, and sales were still pretty good. The company was doing well, buoyed by a successful and growing movie industry (Blade, X-Men, Iron Man).

But then two big things happened that changed the game completely. First, in 2009, Disney Bought Marvel for $4 billion. Overnight, Marvel Comics became a comic book division of one of the biggest corporations on the planet, and had nearly endless funding to play with, as long as they appeased their corporate masters. Second, Quesada left the comics division in 2010 to focus on producing movies and TV shows, and was replaced as Editor-In-Chief by Axel Alonso, a former reporter for the New York Daily News and far-left ideologue obsessed with identity politics. And having gained a position of great power and cultural influence, Alonso decided there were some big wrongs that he needed to right. Like a lot of far-lefties, he saw the classic superheroes as problematic. They were mostly white males, and confident, masculine ones at that. They used violence to achieve their goals. They propagated the idea that there is an objective right and an objective wrong, which runs contrary to leftist moral relativism. And many of the innocent people that they rescue from villains are women, which angers feminists by perpetuating the “damsel in distress” trope. Just ask filmmaker Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman) who referred to the superhero genre as “right-wing cultural genocide“, or the What Culture writer who simplistically reduced Batman to a rich guy who beats up poor people, or any of a gazillion liberal think pieces out there picking apart the superhero mythos. They are the comic book equivalent of a Confederate Civil War statue: something shameful from America’s past that needs to be ripped down for the collective good. And now that they had Disney money, Alonso and his acolytes did just that.

First they hired a whole bunch of new writers and assistant editors, mostly millennial feminist women with purple hair (see the Milkshake Crew controversy). These were twentysomethings with no experience in writing comics, and very little interest in them – convention hangers-on, wannabe graphic novel writers, aspiring Young Adult authors, and Tumblrinas – but were very heavy in left-wing activism, particularly on social media. And the fact that these middle-aged editors got to enjoy having these young women around in a Weinstein kind of way was a creepy bonus for them. Then, these men and their harem writers and assistants set about destroying everything that made Marvel comics great.

They did away with their most beloved heroes that they deemed problematic. Captain America became a villain after it was suddenly revealed that he was a Nazi, and had been one all along. (Get it? He’s a straight white guy and symbolic of American patriotism, and he’s a Nazi, just like Trump/Romney supporters are!) Tony Stark was put into a coma. Wolverine was turned into a worthless old man and eventually killed off. The Hulk was likewise killed off in the oh-so-original Civil War 2. Thor was determined to be “no longer worthy” of his hammer, and became weak and useless. And the characters that weren’t straight-up vilified or killed off became mouthpieces for left-wing identity politics, and the women were rewritten as to avoid any romantic relationships with straight men, and redrawn so as to never suffer from the male gaze:

-Spider-Man, Luke Cage and Blade were all turned into wimps who sat around and did nothing while the women in their lives took care of everything and constantly put them in their place.
-Black Panther, Storm, and other black superheroes got together and formed a racist pro-segregation team devoted to stopping white people from moving into Harlem. Not evil white people, mind you, just white people.
-Iceman suddenly became gay (after decades of having nothing but straight relationships) and now spends every issue coming out to someone else, having gay dates with other men, and using his ice powers to psychotically brand the skin of homophobes. (Literally his entire personality is “gay” now.)
-Captain Marvel went from a cheerful, feminine woman to a miserable, butch space fascist.
-She-Hulk went from a fun, flirty green hottie to an unhappy gray mess of a woman who loathes men.
-Mockingbird went from a kickass superspy to an ultra-feminist harpy.
-Squirrel Girl went from a goofy, pretty girl to…whatever the hell this is supposed to be.
-America Chavez, an uninteresting member of Teen Avengers whose main claim to fame was being both Hispanic and gay, was given her own solo series and is now a hyper-violent butch lesbian who attends “Sotomayor University” (ugh) and spends more time chasing white people away from the school grounds than she does fighting evil.

And that’s just how they treated the existing characters. What about the new ones that they introduced to replace all of the ones that they purged? Well, let’s see:

-The new Iron Man is a teenage black girl who assembled a new Iron Man suit from parts she stole.
-The new Ms. Marvel is a teenage immigrant Muslim girl whose power is giant hands, and who is constantly lamenting how white Americans treat her and her angelic fellow Muslims.
-The new Captain America and Spider-Man are now bland black men with no personalities – walking, talking racial role models rather than human beings.
-Thor has been replaced by female Thor, aka his girlfriend Jane Foster, who brags about breaking men’s jaws if they’re not sufficiently feminist.
-Wolverine and Hawkeye have both been replaced by their teenage daughters.
-The Hulk is now Amadeus Cho, an idiotic Asian teenager.

SJW Marvel
What an inspiring crew, huh?

Not only have the characters been terrible, but the comics have become almost unreadably bad, characterized by pointless and dull storylines, cringe-worthy dialogue, and horribly ugly art. There would be very little action, lots of unfunny quirky dialogue, and the “heroes” would receive constant emotional validation, being regularly told by everyone around them how great they were, despite accomplishing very little. They would be surrounded by token gay and minority friends, but would treat whites, males, conservatives and Christians with hostility. Straight relationships no longer existed, but gay characters would be in a constant state of hooking up with any other gay character they met.

In other words, Alex Alonso and company methodically turned Marvel Comics into pure, unfettered liberal social justice propaganda, as I described in my No Escapism post a while back. For the last 3-5 years, almost every Marvel comic has read like a fan fiction written by a college student who has never read a comic book before, and who thinks that only Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post are acceptable news sources. And since Marvel is the industry leader, other companies have followed suit. DC Comics hasn’t been quite as bad, but has had more than its share of SJW issues lately, not to mention all of those CW shows (Supergirl, The Flash, etc.) which go heavy on the social justice messaging. And IDW decided to hand G.I. Joe – freaking G.I. Joe – to Aubrey Sitterson, an avowed socialist who mocked people for mourning the 9/11 attacks on Twitter. The result was G.I. Joe being turned into “Scarlett’s Strike Force,” a female-led team that purged most of the white males and replaced them with minority females (seeing a theme here?) and was cancelled before it was even published.

Of course, because these horribly-written books push leftist social justice narratives, all coverage in the pop culture press and blogosphere has been glowing, with every article patting Marvel on the back for its “progressive” artistic choices. There have been no voices of dissent, except from fans on Twitter and YouTube, particularly YouTubers like Diversity & Comics, Micah Curtis, Capt. Cummings, etc. Predictably, the comic book writers’ response to any criticism on social media was to call them Nazis and white supremacists, to use their own race/gender as a shield (“apparently some people have a real problem with minorities and women working in comics!” was a constant refrain) or that of their characters, or to simply say, “if you don’t like the books, don’t read them.” This coming from people who were actively working to change the culture that they didn’t like. They even went so far as to dox some of the people who were criticizing them, and plotted on a Facebook page to get one of them assaulted at a convention. And of course, pop culture news sites like Bleeding Cool and Gawker gave them cover, writing article after article smearing their critics as alt-right extremists and bigots. For the better part of 2017, left-wing comics pros and conservative/centrist fans continued to clash in a new front of the Culture War – Comicsgate.

As it turns out, forcing your extremist agenda onto fans and going out of your way to insult and drive away customers is not a great business strategy (as anyone in the NFL could tell you), and many, many fans took their advice not to read the books, and sales tanked. Badly. How badly, you might ask? Well, let me put it this way: up until recently, popular Marvel comics almost always sold over 100,000 copies, even after the industry crashed in the ’90s. Really popular ones, like Chris Claremont’s famous X-Men run, sold over half a million. But these new SJW Marvel comics rarely break 20,000. (Captain Marvel, which Marvel considers its flagship character, rarely sells over 15,000.) Many of them don’t even break 10,000. And considering that’s sales to comic stores, NOT to customers, that means that many of these books are essentially selling zero. Sales has been so bad that at least half a dozen American comic book shops have gone out of business in the past year, citing low sales as the culprit.

So Marvel comics has been losing money hand over fist on these books, for years, but they don’t care. They don’t need customers. They don’t need fans. They’ve got Disney money. And since Disney is definitely in the business of pushing left-wing propaganda on children lately (see the latest Star Wars and live-action Disney flicks), they’ve been more than willing to tolerate Marvel’s shenanigans. After all, they make a ton of money off the Marvel movies (which are apolitical), so they didn’t mind losing money on the comics. At least for a while. Marvel tried to cover up the bad sales through sleazy tricks like (a) forcing comic book stores to buy in bulk, and (b) claiming the digital book sales were great, but refusing to show them to anybody when asked. (Spoiler alert: they sucked, too.) This subterfuge worked for a while, but eventually, the consistently bad sales could not be overlooked or hand-waved away any longer. This combined with a whole string of embarrassing controversies that The Hollywood Reporter recently summarized in an article titled 2017: The Year Almost Everything Went Wrong for Marvel Comics, Disney finally decided enough was enough. Apparently, even a left-wing corporation can only take so much of throwing good money after bad, and they decided to take decisive action. Last November, they fired Alonso as Editor-In-Chief and replaced him with C.B. Cebulski, an apolitical, relatively normal comic book professional whose only “controversy” was briefly adopting an Asian pen name for some of his early writings, which angered some SJWs and exactly no one else.

Cebulski didn’t mess around. Almost immediately after taking over for Alonso, he fired several of the more extremist writers and editors, and cancelled several others’ stories. (Some other stories listed above have also been cancelled due to low sales, prior to Cebulski taking over Marvel.) This was a clear shot across the bow to everyone working at Marvel: no more funny stuff, and no more brownie points for pushing PC narratives. You don’t make books that sell, you don’t keep working here. One SJW writer has already gotten the hint and left the company to work at DC; the rest will have to fall in line eventually or leave. The party’s over, and they’re just going to have to go back to telling stories that people actually want to read.

Naturally, liberal media reporters and other hacktivists had their knives out for both Cebulski and the head honchos at Disney, lamenting the ending of so many comic series that no one had bothered to read (including themselves) with that old SJW chestnut, “people didn’t want to see comic books about minority, female or LGTB characters”. (Sure, that must be what happened.) Of course, they didn’t really give a rip about any of these books. What they were really mad about was that they had lost a sphere of influence. The firing and replacement of Alonso was Comicsgate’s Waterloo. And just as the war against Napoleon didn’t end at Waterloo, but was a decisive loss that made his ultimate defeat inevitable, so is this an inevitable defeat for the Left. The SJW takeover of Marvel was a top-down strategy, and without a leader at the helm, it cannot survive. We will likely have another few months of garbage comics due to release cycles and the amount of time needed to get rid of the worst writers. But under Cebulski’s leadership, it’s just a matter of time before the ship is righted and Marvel retains some level of its former glory.

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Why is it so important that some race-obsessed socialist punks tried to take over comic books that very few people read and got themselves fired?” Well, it’s important for a couple of reasons. First, as the great Andrew Breitbart never tired of reminding us, politics is downstream from culture. That’s why these SJWs and their enablers wanted to write them so much, even the ones who didn’t even like comic books. As few as these books sell, they do get into kids’ hands and influence them, just as they always have. And more importantly, today’s comic books are tomorrow’s movies and TV shows. Had these storylines been allowed to continue, it would’ve just been a matter of time before they wormed their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (We’ve already been seeing hints of that with the latest Spider-Man movie and the first season of The Punisher, both of which were infused with their share of identity politics, and there are rumors that next year’s Captain Marvel movie will be even more so.) Comic books, movies, TV shows – the new culture we create today is, for better or for worse, what the next generation will grow up with. It will help shape their values, their beliefs, their dreams. And you’d better believe it will affect who they vote for. Culture matters. We ignore it at our peril.

Secondly, Comicsgate is important because it shows exactly how far left-wing propaganda can go in a free society. (If you think liberal Hollywood has gone too far, just pick up any of the recent Marvel comic books I mentioned – you should be able to find one in your local store’s bargain bin – and you’ll realize they have so much deeper to sink.) The rest of our cultural propagandists are trying to figure out just how far they can push it without driving their customers away, how many times they can mock Trump and insult his supporters without going out of business. Marvel Comics pros worked in such a bubble of ideological groupthink and financial security that they thought they could get away with anything, but you can only ruin a business so much before it ruins you back. (At least until we go full communist and these kind of propaganda peddlers are taxpayer-subsidized, of course.) They reached that tipping point that movie and TV producers are secretly terrified of reaching, the point where you literally ruin your own brand and destroy your career in the name of politics. They now know not to push their politics on us too far, or else it could all come crashing down around them, just like it did for the SJWs at Marvel who are currently filling out the unemployment lines. Like it or not, they’re going to have to stay in the storytelling business rather than the propaganda business, because the propaganda business ultimately means no business at all.

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