Last week, Marvel announced that they would be shipping more than 50 different covers inspired by hip hop. Cool, right? Wrong. If you’re an SJW, then you have found something else to rage about. It would seem that an anonymous Tumblr user decided to confront Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing, Tom Brevoort, about the lack of African-American creative talent at Marvel.
The Picture above was taken from Tom Brevoort’s Tumblr page. The question being asked is whether it’s a good idea for Marvel to publish these hip hop covers when none of the writers or artists on the upcoming books are black. It didn’t take long before someone with a bigger microphone would voice their opinion on the matter. Enter Comic Policy’s Brett Schenker, who wrote a lengthy article accusing Marvel of cultural appropriation.
What Is Cultural Appropriation?
For those unfamiliar with cultural appropriation, the term refers to members of one culture adopting certain elements of another culture, usually an “oppressed” culture. If you want to get an idea of what makes SJWs cry cultural appropriation, you can search for the term on Tumblr at your own risk. Cultural appropriation can be anything from wearing a tribal headdress to adopting a certain clothing style or using slang. Of course, anything I could say on the definition is better said by the Internet Aristocrat, so I’ve embedded his video below:
If you go by the definition above, you might be thinking, “Isn’t it a little too late to be having this discussion?” Going by how SJWs define cultural appropriation, white rappers like Eminem and the Beastie Boys are racist for being white people who rap and weeaboos are racist for liking anime.
Comic Book Creators Sound Off
Brett Schenker wasn’t the only one with an opinion on the matter. Czech comic book writer Ales Kot (Secret Avengers, Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier) took to Tumblr and had this to say about writing people of color:
Tweeted some stuff today. Maybe some of you will find it useful.
Something that’s still very much alive with me: got an offer to write some pretty high profile characters who were also people of color.
I’m not going to be naming the publisher because I don’t feel it’s necessary. But I’ll describe what happened. I turned it down.
Politely so, with genuine thanks. And then I suggested that people of color should be writing and drawing those characters.
The editorial response was: “we would love that, but we don’t know many people who would fit that.”
So I suggested some names, right off the bat.
The problem here: you won’t know if you don’t look and you won’t know if you won’t nurture diverse voices.
Big comics companies rarely take chances on new or unproven creators. When they are people of color, the erasure is near-complete.
So hey, white comics creators: genuinely, maybe sometimes turn down work on characters of color and suggest creators of color instead?
Show some solidarity and support and step out of the way?
The comics industry has a problem with self-congratulation drowning out everything else. This problem is a long-term disease.
If you want to trace the problem, look at Stan Lee and Bob Kane. Two men who turned self-promotion into an art of drowning others’ voices.
It’s not a coincidence that these two men are often considered to be the sole builders of the world’s two most dominant comics characters.
(At least in my mind. Batman is clear, but I always preferred Spider-Man to Superman.)
Lee and Kane were not the people they pretended and pretend to be. They are not solely responsible. They mastered the art of not listening.
I see way too many people in comics today follow the Lee and Kane route. And frankly, even one person is one too many
Comics industry people: listen.
I do think some interesting points are being raised here. For starters, I can understand why Kot would turn down the book he was asked to write; perhaps certain characters could be better written by someone whose life experiences are closer to their own. The other point is about the comic book industry, in particular Marvel and DC. In some cases, breaking into the industry is difficult for writers, and while there have been an increase in the number of black creators, many of them have yet to do work for the big two mostly due to the fact that big companies don’t want to take a risk on unproven writers. For companies trying to make money, the issue is not race, it’s making money.
Another individual whose opinion on the matter I found to be intriguing is artist/writer Kenny Keil, who actually did a super hero/hip-hop album cover mash up for fun back in 2010. Kenny Keil gave what I felt was a positive spin considering he still buys into the cultural appropriation narrative:
All that being said… While cultural appropriation sucks, cultural segregation isn’t much better. So on some level I’m always going to be glad when a Big 2 publisher inches a little bit closer towards connecting the dots. I’m not going to be walking up in the comic shop kicking over spinner racks and shit. These variants are a gimmick, but as far as gimmicks go it’s kind of a cool one. I just wish I could look at them without hearing Pat Boone’s “Tutti Frutti” playing in my head.
In closing, let me just say this: Fuck what you heard from Mitt Romney, corporations aren’t people. And so I don’t hold them to the same standards as I do people. I know how to distinguish between a huge, soulless money making machine and the flawed and beautiful human beings who work for one. So I harbor no ill will towards the artists, editors, and decision makers who set this whole thing up. I bet for some of them it was a genuine thrill, and for those people I am truly happy. I hope this experiment gives them more leverage to bring about positive and lasting growth to their little corner of this thing we call comics. And for those who didn’t quite understand the assignment, I hope they listen to the criticism with open minds and hearts, and use that information to do better in the future. Keep the movement moving.
Cultural appropriation is like a lot of topics that concern SJWs: it’s overblown and the alternative is often worse than the problem itself. In a country like the United States where multiple cultures have come together, it’s hard to argue that parts of other cultures have rubbed off on each other. While that may not always be the case. it certainly makes sense when you look at all of the white middle-class kids that enjoyed hip-hop in their teen years. In the end, hip hop isn’t just part of black culture, it’s part of American culture, and it has it’s place alongside baseball, apple pie and comic books.
Read More: Why Cultural Appropriation Is A Myth