Open Letter: Comic-reading trolls, we see you
From the desk of Felis Silvestris Sinister, Esq.
Thaddeus has left the building in disgust. He has left me to handle the rest of the mouth-breathers who felt the need to comment on this particular thread:
For those of you who felt the need to tell Thaddeus about how Marvel has the right to with their characters as they will, he absolutely agrees.
As a creative himself, he recognizes their sovereignty over their product. His issue was not with what they did but their insensitive, culturally-blind, reasons for doing it. Killing Black characters to drive stories is the same insensitive writing used in horror movies or popular dramas to give impetus to White characters to act. It has an alarming parallel to the previously noted trend of Women in Refrigerators.
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What Marvel’s writers did was unfortunate. There are so very few popular, well-known or well-respected heroes of color in the mainstream comic universes, it seems unnecessary to kill the few you actually could do something useful with if they gave a damn.
While some of you presented lists of Black or minority heroes, it never occurred to you to check the status of most of those heroes. It would not surprise any Person of Color to know that most of them were either dead, inactive for over a decade or hadn’t appeared regularly since the 1980s.
Some of them had less than twenty appearances in a decade or were an embarrassment to the superhero community at large. (See: Triathalon)
The most popular, well known, longest running, Black heroes in the Marvel Universe can be named on two hands.
- Black Panther
- Luke Cage
- Blade — Vampire Hunter, made popular by Wesley Snipes
- Storm — mutant; most overexposed character AFTER Wolverine in the 90’s, never written to full potential, most famous when she LOST her powers. Married Black Panther, dissolved in seconds; still a sore point
- American Falcon — Also known as Captain America: Sam Wilson
- Doctor Voodoo — Claim to fame: Was Sorcerer Supreme for a week, inactive for decades
- Spectrum — aka, Captain Marvel, Photon, Monica LeBeau, started the most powerful Avenger on record, then not so much.
- Misty Knight — underutilized, no powers, poorly dressed, badly written, claim to fame: Iron Fist’s girlfriend (until recently, anyway).
- Cloak — weak and dependent powers, cannot be utilized without Dagger, bumbled through the Marvel Universe for decades, poorly written.
- Bishop — Mutant bad-ass, under-utilized, poorly written, crappy, reactive powers, they only function when he is attacked by another mutant first…
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Popular but deceased:
- White Tiger — The first one, Hector Ayala, shot, killed after being wrongfully accused. (See Daredevil, Vol 2, #40, also written by Brian Michael Bendis, 2003)
- War Machine — No powers, dependent upon dated Iron Man technology (Killed in Civil War II #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis, 2016)
- Night Thrasher — No powers, deceased (killed in the first Civil War, written by Mark Millar, confirmed in Civil War, Front Line #1, 2006); the character has been recently revived or replaced through legacy or time travel shenanigans.
- Black Goliath — first appearance as Bill Foster (1966), killed in first Civil War #4 written by Mark Millar, (2006)
Popular recent minority additions:
- Blue Marvel —great powers, crazy backstory, member of the Ultimates.
- Miles Morales — Black/Latino Spider-Man from former Earth-1610
- Ms. Marvel — Muslim; Kamala Khan, most popular new character
- Silk —No shortage of spider-themed characters right now, is there?
- America Chavez —parallel universe, amazing powers, possible greatness
- Nick Fury — the Black one — also from former Earth 1610
- Nighthawk — long running, barely known, new chances for greatness
Black Heroes that no one cares about, don’t matter
To be perfectly honest most of the list of Black characters mentioned by unnamed trolls could vanish tomorrow and no one would even notice them except for People of Color who knew they existed at one point but haven’t seen them in so long they can barely remember their names.
- You don’t make your case by toting out a group of has-beens, never-weres and under-powered wanna-be’s and say “Look at how many black superheroes there are”. Superheroes so pathetic, people are ashamed to admit they know them. (See: Legion of Superheroes — Tyroc)
- Given the lineups of both DCs and Marvels’ character lists, if Black heroes managed to make up more 1% of the total list, I would be surprised.
- So you can return to your unlighted basements or beneath your poorly-lit bridges from whence you came bringing your racist screeds, bullshit conversations with poorly considered perspectives and the clarion cry that his pointing out the comic industries egregious cultural missteps counts as racism on HIS PART.
- If you want to know different minority heroes from as many different companies as possible, the World of Black Heroes makes it their business to find, catalog and share as many of those characters as possible. Click the logo and enjoy their curation.
For the fucktards in the room:
- Systemic racism or institutionalized racism, the stuff of which I am about to speak on, is a side effect of cultural and social structures which enable stupid shits like you to have an uneducated opinion about something you clearly know nothing about, have never experienced but feel perfectly capable of speaking on.
Institutional racism (also known as institutionalised racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions, as distinct from racism by individuals or informal social groups. It is reflected in disparities regarding criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other things. Whether implicitly or explicitly expressed, institutional racism occurs when a certain group is targeted and discriminated against based upon race. Institutional racism can go unnoticed as it is not always explicit and can be overlooked.
- It is this system which allowed you to remain culturally ignorant of your ancestors terrible sins, cultural and social crimes which affect the lives of billions of people across the world through environmental and social manipulations of the economic fabric.
- If you left your basement, had an encounter with a book or maybe even a semester or two, read some history other than the regurgitated pap which passes for school in America today, you might be able to weigh in on this conversation and not sound as juvenile as you actually are, no matter what your chronological age. It is the ease at which you live, which has prevented you from realizing other people are working much harder in life than you are.
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- Thaddeus is most assuredly NOT a racist nor even a bigot. He has carefully considered every word and as an aggrieved citizen who has dutifully paid his time in blood, sweat and tears as a member of this nation’s military, he doesn’t have to take any shit from basement-dwelling, bridge-hiding, under-educated, misogynistic, juvenile, halfwit trolls who feel the need to weigh in on a conversation they are ill-equipped emotionally, intellectually, morally or spiritually to participate in any way.
Because if you were, you would be sitting quietly while I explain to you why this is an issue in the first place rather than spewing your hate-filled spurious invective across the internet showing everyone just how stupid you really are.
I know this is hard for you to hear, because your parents have told you how precious you are and how necessary you are to the world but let me assure you, if you’re screaming racist here, you aren’t bringing any value to the world at large, I can confidently attest.
- It is your lacking in empathy, your unwillingness to consider anyone’s perspective beyond your very privileged one which makes you blind to the hurt and suffering of other social groups in this nation.
- While you talk about making America, Great (or White) Again, you discount the fact that much of what made America great did not start in White Culture, but in the survival instincts of the Native Americans for whom without their help, most of the original settlers here would have quietly starved and without their goodwill would have never settled this land in the first place. Imagine what America might look like if they had decided to burn every boat that came to their shores.
- The efforts of minorities who were not compensated for their work, whether it be in mining, farming, or building the great institutions of this nation which underlie the fabulous wealth and prosperity America enjoys. It is the centuries of chattel slavery which helped make America rich at a time in its early development. It is the continued exploitation of vulnerable underclasses that America helps certain classes to stay wealthy. As to your cry of reverse racism:
“Say ‘reverse racism’ one more motherfucking time. I dare you…”
♬ Listen to this Story or Read it
Thaddeus sent me to do this work because he is exhausted talking to you. You know who you are. The underachievers, the slackards and the actual racists who talk about how America could be great if there were no Mexicans or Muslims or whatever your secret buzzword of the day is.
It is for you, he sent me. A cat. You are not fit to talk to an actual person.
There is a quote to which I will close this statement:
“Some people are so wrapped up in themselves, they don’t see what a small package they actually are.”
If you trolled this letter with anything other than understanding, don’t come back. You don’t have anything useful to offer. Next time I might have to become unpleasant.
Felis Silvestris Sinister, Esq.
The Answer-Man’s Archives are a collection of my articles discussing superheroes and their powers in relationship to their respective universes. We deconstruct characters, memes, profiles and how superheroes relate to real world culture. You can find other Archives on Quora and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange or at The World According to Superheroes.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.