I Step Out of the Ordinary

I can feel my soul ascending

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Marvel Comics, the MCU, and Raising the Bar of what Fans Expect


I think it’s significant that Marvel raised the bar. When Iron Man came out in 2008, it significantly changed our cultural standards for superhero movies. And then Marvel kept doing it. Each movie that came out in the MCU seemed better than the last. The female characters were far more than just love interests. The movies weren’t just about superpowered battles and cackling supervillains. Marvel’s movies talked about significant real world issues. They were about questions of military privatization, or cultural appropriation, or government surveillance. We learned to trust Marvel and to look forward to each new movie where the female characters were scientists and CEOs who had better things to do than to worry about their own romantic subplots.

In 2012, Kelly Sue DeConnick blew everyone away with her run of Carol Danvers, and some really amazing things happened. Marvel got a huge new contingent of new fans, mostly female, calling themselves the Carol Corps. And there was a lot of talk about what a huge deal this was, for anything to bring in new comic fans in this quantity. There started to be an outpouring of people talking about how they’d always wanted to get into comics but they felt like they weren’t welcome. (This isn’t to in any way discredit the incredible female fans and creators who long predated Captain Marvel’s 2012 run—let me tell you of my infinite love for anything written by the incomparable Gail Simone.) Captain Marvel changed that, and Marvel paid attention.

In 2013, catering to their new huge demographic of female fans, Marvel Comics put out a couple of all-female teams: the X-Men and the Fearless Defenders, neither of which had ever traditionally been all-female teams. X-Men continues strong, with a multi-ethnic all-female team. Fearless Defenders got canceled after a year due to poor readership, but surprisingly that didn’t discourage Marvel from continuing to cater to its new female demographic.

In 2013 and 2014, Captain Marvel’s run continues, and we’ve got a new Ms. Marvel who is a Muslim-American teenage girl getting fantastic readership and reviews. Black Widow’s got a new run going strong, Elektra and Storm are headlining their own titles, the new writer of Winter Soldier says that ‘feminism’ will be one of the title’s main themes, and the announcement of a new female Thor has sent a whirlwind through the industry. I’ve probably forgotten a few things because Marvel Comics is currently putting out so much worth being excited about for its female fans.

Marvel has been consistently raising the bar since 2008, in both their movies and their comics. There is a vast, varied and passionate fan following that has exploded in the wake of the new direction that Marvel has gone within their industry, both in movies and in comics. Millions of people who may not have known who Iron Man was in 2008 are now dedicated fans of all things Marvel. I’m one of them.

Which is why the backlash against Marvel’s refusal to put out a female-led superhero movie is just so angry and passionate. We got used to Marvel raising the bar. We learned to trust Marvel, and in many ways that peaked in April 2014 when Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, with a female co-star who was not a romantic interest, for a movie that totally blew away the numbers at the box office, coinciding with many of the exciting things mentioned above going on in Marvel Comics.

Marvel raised the bar and people responded. Their fanbase expanded exponentially, their profits rocketed. But we’ve reached a point where the obvious next step to raise the bar again is to produce a female-led superhero movie that’s on par with the rest of the MCU canon, and Marvel—namely president Kevin Feige—is refusing. It isn’t that Feige’s stance has changed in any way in order to bring on this increasingly massive outpouring of frustration and demand for a female-led superhero movie. It’s that we’ve learned to expect that Marvel will raise the bar.

Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t do that. It was a fun movie, which had a lot of great things about it, but it didn’t raise any bars. And I don’t think anyone is expecting Ant-Man to raise any bars. The heads of Marvel have assumed that, at least when it comes to the MCU, its fan following is due to Marvel’s ability to put out great superhero movies. But the truth is that the MCU’s massive success and popularity is largely attributed to its ability to raise the bar of what people expect from superhero movies. And if you become known for raising the bar, that’s not a topic where you can rest on your laurels.

Female-led action movies like Hunger Games (or starring Scarlett Johansson in particular, like Lucy) make bank. Women purchase 52% of movie tickets and 46% of comics. There’s a market. There’s a demand. There’s a massive and vocal audience telling you exactly what they want you to produce.

C’mon, Marvel. Renew our faith in you. Raise the bar.

(via sciencefictionbaby)

Filed under mcu superheroes

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"The Scarlet Witch admitted her guilt, and she will be brought to justice.”
"What does that even mean?"

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade 008 | w. Allan Heinberg | a. Jim Cheung

oh, baby Tommy, in that first panel. This is his MOM, and you know what he’s thinking about, and what he’s remembering. Sweet baby speedster, trying to protect the one adult who’s shown him any kind of affection… And then Billy backing him up, for once… BABIES. Basically, TOMMY.

(via shepherdthomas)

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I may or may not have just told Commander Mars to “bite my pierced left tit, you galactic wanker.”

The words “calisse” and “tabernac” may also have been involved.

In semi-related news, the Spousal Unit has threatened to put the DS into time-out.

Filed under Ardatli plays Pokemon pearl