Pointing out Marvel Studios’ lack of on-screen diversity is nowhere near a new phenomenon. As ComicsAlliance’s Andrew Wheeler has memorably pointed out, “If Marvel makes Thor 3 [as its first 2017 release], it will have made ten movies headlined by blond white men named Chris before it makes one movie headlined by someone who isn’t even white.” While not besmirching the talent or integrity of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, that’s taking lack of diversity to admirably comic levels.
Additionally, the studio’s lack of a movie with a female lead — specifically, a Black Widow feature starring Scarlett Johansson, although fans would also accept a Captain Marvel movie, or even a Squirrel Girl one by this point — has been commented on to such an extent that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently weighed in, saying that he “very much believe[s] in doing it” in concept. “I hope we do it sooner rather than later,” he added at the time, while simultaneously pointing out that Marvel’s ongoing successful franchises make finding slots for new characters and concepts challenging.
That is somewhat of a smokescreen, in terms of excuses. As this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy shows, Marvel has no problem introducing new characters and concepts — in fact, we’re due to have one per year for the next couple of years, with Ant-Man coming next year and Doctor Strange landing in 2016. In both of those cases, however, Marvel is sticking closely to white male leads. (Admittedly, the lead role in Doctor Strange is not cast, and it’s not impossible that Marvel will choose to break with tradition and cast a non-white male as its Sorcerer Supreme — but, given some of the actors rumored to have been considered for the role, that doesn’t look likely.)
Of course, there’s still an obvious opportunity for Marvel to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on the subject of diversity in casting. Both Wonder Woman and Sony’s mystery Spider-Man project are scheduled (in the latter case, rumored) for 2017 release, and Marvel has an unnamed project scheduled for release May 5 of that year — almost two months before the June 23 bow for Wonder Woman. What if it snuck in a female-led movie just under the wire in order to be “first”?
Similarly, Aquaman isn’t due until July 2018, and there are three unknown Marvel projects scheduled before then. Black Panther, Falcon or even an upgrade from Netflix to theaters for Luke Cage could help Marvel become the first studio to put a superhero of color on the big screen since 2008’s Hancock — if it wanted to.
That, ultimately, is what this comes down to: what Marvel wants to do. As arguably the most successful movie studio around these days, and one that has demonstrated no problem in convincing mainstream audiences to accept a dancing tree and a talking raccoon as heroes, it’s not a question of whether Marvel could make a movie with a woman or person of color in the lead role, or even could make such a movie a hit. It’s a question of whether that’s something that the studio is interested in doing. Whenever Marvel announces its next projects — something which may be sooner than later, given this week’s Warner Bros. schedule announcement — we’ll get the answer to that question.
The Hollywood Reporter, “Warner Bros. and DC Expose Marvel’s Achilles Heel: Diversity"
—Elizabeth Minkel on Why it doesn’t matter what Benedict Cumberbatch thinks of Sherlock fan fiction. (via otterymary)
DC Comics has gone from one female creator (at the start of the New 52 in 2011) to 11 at the close of 2014.
Marvel Comics has moved from zero female-led monthly titles to 10 by the end of this year.
Wonder Woman is headlining three monthly titles for the first time in her 75 year career.
Marvel is pushing forward ideas like a female Thor, an African-American Captain America, and, if rumors are true, even a female Wolverine — diversifying their A-list for the first time ever.
DC has re-envisioned its entire Bat-line in October to reflect the need for genre diversity and attract new readers, reinvigorating Batgirl, Batwoman, and Secret Six, and introducing such titles as Gotham Academy, Klarion, Arkham Manor, and Gotham by Midnight.
Dynamite Entertainment is expanding its commitment to female-led titles and preparing an all-woman team book written by Gail Simone for 2015.
Valiant Comics has released its first ever female-led title, The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage, to much acclaim.
Dark Horse Comics is broadening its creator-owned base in the wake of the loss of their Star Wars license, publishing more non-corporate-owned material than ever before.
Archie Comics is aggressively pursuing its mission to diversify the denizens of Riverdale, and add a broad collection of new genres to its publishing mix, including horror and super-hero titles.
And companies like Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, IDW Publishing, and Monkeybrain Comics continue to broaden the sheer amount of different types of material available today for adults and kids both.
Matt Santori-Griffith, “Crisis of Epic Proportion: Time of Change.” (via lyrafay)
All true stuff…and nice to see!
That would be my Senior Editor, folks. Comicosity don’t work with no dummies.
I’m just gonna roll around in this for a few minutes. Don’t mind me. Also, the Sabrina book coming out from the Archie people had a really great, spooky first issue. Highly recommend.(via coffeebuddha)
The difference between learning a modern language and an ancient language is that in first year French you learn “Where is the bathroom?” and “How do I get to the train station?” and in first year Attic Greek or Latin you learn “I have judged you worthy of death” and “The tyrant had everyone in the city killed.”