Monday, 11 July 2016

That Black Female Iron Man Rumour

It seems that Marvel Comics is going to make Iron Man a black female in the next series, and she’s modelled on and will be played by Rianna in the movie. Because of course movie. This is getting people’s knickers in a twist. Here’s why you should expect nothing less.

Disclaimer: I do read comics. Transmetropolitan. Fables. Ex Machina. Fuse. Smoke and Ashes. Sex Criminals. Channel Zero. The Filth. Global Frequency. And in earlier days adult days: Love and Rockets. Watchmen. Elektra. In childhood, we’re talking The Eagle, the Beano, MAD magazine. Plus everyone watched Batman on TV. Most of the stuff I read now is published by Vertigo (which is a DC Comics imprint). Good comics are out there. The only superhero movies I have in my DVDs are... Constantine. Yup. That’s it.

I was never one for the superhero comics. I preferred those WW2 / Korean War comics that Roy Liechtenstein riffed on later in the iconic WHAAM!

I wouldn’t read a Marvel or DC comic for all the shelf space they take up in the basement of Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue. I’m waaaay hipper than that. I get my comics at GOSH in Soho.

Marvel and DC have been on a Diversity jag. Iron Man being one of many. Various other characters formerly white, male and heterosexual are being made black, gay, female or combinations thereof. Marvel is owned by Disney and DC is owned by Time Warner. Nobody knows how those guys think. Or even if. Disney makes its money from trips to Disneyland / World and its cable TV networks . Comics aren’t even on the graphic. Movies, of which Marvel Studios is just one amongst Pixar, Lucasfilm and Touchstone and Walt Disney, make half as much as the theme parks. Disney want you watching its cable and going to its theme parks. And not to put a Gauntanamo blow-up doll there...

Time-Warner makes $28bn revenue. I don’t think the majority of that comes from comic book sales. Or even movies. It comes from cable subscriptions.

I did have my own theory about why Disney and Time-Warner would be prepared to throw their comic franchises to the SJW’s for some PR to protect their cable TV franchises. But then I decided it was nonsense. But it was one theory. There are others. First, that Disney and Time-Warner employ morons or do stuff because somebody senior enough thought it was a good idea. Second, that they researched this properly and it came out well, so they know what they’re doing. Third, that the research was slanted for it to come out well. Fourth, that they are part of a plot to demonise white masculinity. Fifth, that they know something about the market that the comic fans don’t.

Now I would never underestimate the capacity for big companies to act utterly dumb. Like Columbia Pictures with Ghostbusters. It is after all a division of Sony, and what the hey does Sony know about Western Culture? Kick-ass females are a thing in Japanese culture. Time-Warner bought AOL. I am however trying hard to think of a bad move Disney made in movies.

Let’s give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Let’s suppose they think they know something about the market that comic fans and I don’t. Suppose their research asked women a question like this: If a big adventure or science fiction film had a female leading character, I would be more inclined to see it. That’s how research companies phrase these things. How would a girl not say YES to that, unless she said: Uh like there’s just no like way you would get me to like ever see a movie like that. So now they have research saying that if they put a female lead in, they will get far more female viewers than they will lose white males. I’m betting that’s what has happened. Whether that research holds out at the box office? Well, if this article in Forbes is accurate it seems the girls do see films that have “strong female leads” - and lots of CGI and maybe male eye-candy helps as well (the Divergent series isn’t exactly short on pretty boys). It also looks like girls read comics: there are blogs and everything.

What the guys liked about comics and superheroes was that it was somewhere they could go that the girls weren’t. Somewhere they could go that was untainted by female silly, whimsy, crazy and bitchy. Somewhere that understood them. And now the girls are moving in and spoiling it all.

In which case, it’s time to leave. That’s what men do when too many women move in: we leave. Man flight. Find something else. Spend money on it. The market will grow. But don’t let it get too successful or the big corporations will move in and then the girls will arrive again.

So no, superhero comic lovers, you are not on the front lines of cultural warfare. You’re on the receiving end of properly conducted business. They know you will eventually leave them, but you know what? They are going to replace every one of you with a girl. Sounds like a good deal to me. Your whinging is what they want: Look, the creepy people don’t like it, so it’s safe for you girls to go to the cinema when it’s showing. Heck, soon girls will be seen in comic shops, and then it will be Game Over.

Capitalism turns everything to its advantage.

No comments:

Post a Comment