The Editor’s Notes is an opinion column allowing our writers to express their truest feelings about comic books, the comic book industry, and all that it inspires. The views expressed within belong solely to their author.
The announcement that She-Hulk will be the the main character in an upcoming Hulk series from Marvel, written by Mariko Tamaki with art from Nico Leon, has caused only the latest uncalled for burst of outrage over comics being comics. Will the comic book community ever stop being so close minded? Or is the outrage coming from those who don’t even comics?
Internet Nerd Rage? No Way!
While browsing my Facebook feed one night, I stumbled upon an article about the “new” Hulk for Marvel Comics. The article was a complete waste of time and could have been summed up in a single sentence: She-Hulk takes over for upcoming Hulk series. But that’s not what’s important.
I noticed the high volume of comments piling up on the article and decided to dive in. What I found was a large amount of hate for Marvel, She-Hulk, women, progress, change, and creativity. Now, I’m no activist of any sort, I just really love comic books and pop culture. However, these comments were too much for me to keep my mouth shut. I’m also not saying I expected to find nothing but love for Marvel’s new Hulk, but I certainly didn’t expect over 75% of the comments to sound like Donald Trump talking about the status of superhero comics.
In Marvel, I Trust
Marvel has recently taken huge steps forward in having their heroes represent groups and genders in a progressive way that reflects these modern times. I’m not here to discuss the politics. I’m not here to shave my head and cry “LEAVE MARVEL ALONE!” I’m just hear to politely ask those in outrage to please quiet down and get over themselves.
Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk, taking over as the main character in Marvel’s new Hulk series – coming out after the post-Civil War II “relaunch” – makes total sense. Bruce Banner is [SPOILER] currently dead due to the events of Civil War II (which, being comics, won’t last forever). Jennifer is his gamma-powered, superhero, cousin-Hulk who’s been around since 1980 – so what’s the big deal? Do you think replacing lead characters is a new trend in comic books? Did you just start reading them? If so, why are you so upset about Hulk like he’s been a relevant character recently? Walters has put her time in as a character and deserves a shot at the spotlight, and so do fans.
My theory is this outrage, similarly to the outrage over Captain America and “Hail Hydra”, is coming from people who aren’t even reading comic books. These are people taking any chance they can possibly get to spew out the sexism and racism they can’t share at work. Y’know, the INTERNET. Like most places on Earth, the loudest voices in the complaint department are the least informed.
If people are really upset that Bruce Banner is dead and the precious mantle of “monster everybody hates” is being passed on, maybe they should have been buying Hulk comics before Marvel decided they needed a shake-up. But I don’t think that’s really the problem. I’m willing to bet that majority of people complaining about a race or gender change to a title’s lead character haven’t been reading the books for a very long time.
What Are You Worried About Ruining?
For those of you who are active readers in the comic book community, what exactly about the Hulk legacy is going to be ruined? What does the Hulk even stand for other than destruction and other monster qualifying attributes?
Captain America is a living symbol for freedom and the strength of the common man. The mantle of The Mighty Thor can only be passed on to he or she that be worthy of the almighty power. Spider-Man stands for the kid who can never seem to catch a break and finds a positive in everything. The Incredible Hulk, however, is a menace in the public eye and a rage monster that at any moment could destroy and ruin everything on Earth (even when he’s a “smart-Hulk”).
Jennifer Walters is not only a completely coherent and humanistic hero as a Hulk, but is even a defense lawyer by day! At the very least, that alone may promise a Hulk story about more than a scientist trying to find a cure for his condition (which Amadeus Cho has found already).
I don’t know exactly what Marvel plans for the series, but Jennifer stepping in and maybe changing the public opinion of the Hulk is a promising premise. Perhaps Walters finds a way to make the Hulk stand for something worth looking up to? Or inspires people to think differently about what a Hulk is or can be? When the dust settles following the Civil War-ing, what place will a Hulk have in the superhero landscape?
How many Bruce Banner Hulk stories do we really need? Readers can’t keep being fed the same stories over and over again without feeling fatigued. Marvel is well aware of what sells and what does not sell at comic book shops, they know fans want character evolution and progression. And for those of you who do not? There are decades worth of green rage monster stories for you to read at very affordable costs and in every format available.
Let The Art Speak For Itself
My next point is the most important: Be as pre-judgy as you want about all the wacky announcements that comic book publishers make, but let the art speak for itself. Despite all the negative press and commentary you may find, Marvel’s recent track record for a change like this is pretty strong.
I didn’t know how Thor would turn out with a leading lady, and was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly well-written and interesting the series has been. Remember when people were mad about there being a black Spider-Man? Miles Morales has been one of the most popular and beloved comic book heroes to come out in decades. All-New Wolverine, Captain America: Sam Wilson, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Totally Awesome Hulk, and The Mighty Thor have all been (for the most part) interesting and exciting series.
Give these books a chance, don’t write them off simply because they are different. Generally, Marvel wants to put out compelling comics that fans want to read and not just shock-value cash-grabs (there’s not a lot of money in this industry to begin with). The creative teams behind these comics deserve to be given a shot at telling these stories; and readers deserve to be served fresh story ideas and taken places they have not gone to before.
Marvel, You Do You
My hope is that Marvel, in this social age, will not listen to the idiots jumping to hateful conclusions. Marvel should not be demonized for having new ideas, they should only receive negativity when they put out crappy comic books. The company’s creative decisions should be in response to its readers, not internet assholes who aren’t buying their comic books in the first place. My message to Marvel Comics is this: you do you baby girl, I got you.
For the people out there who want to remain a useless, negative force, yelling into the internet void about your pent up aggression towards some sort of past rejection – nobody cares. You’re no different than the scumbags in X-Men comics holding a “KILL ALL MUTIES” sign and spitting at little mutant kids just because they’re different and times are changing.
If you really MUST have a male Hulk in your comics, pipe down and read Totally Awesome Hulk.