Name the DC or Marvel Character

A recent column of mine complaining about the blotting out of all the mainstream and long loved Marvel characters has been met with what I assume are ceremonial denials but those whose “narrative” (that is, a dogmatically held and deliberately false picture of the universe) requires them to utter these words. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

The rebuttal as stated is that this blotting out is not happening, we are all just imagining it, and this rebuttal is made on two grounds: first, that the original characters under their old names can sometimes be found in comics still for sale. and they made guest appearances during the GENERATIONS event. Second, that heroes dying and other heroes taking up their mantle has happened throughout comic book history, and this time is no different from those other times.

Since these points are either irrelevant, based on a misreading of what was said, or insolently and outrageously false, my instinct is to assume the speakers proposing them do so as mere sophistry, not believing their own words.

But, out of courtesy, and in fear that I am being too harsh and too quick to condemn, I propose a test to weed out any honest misunderstanding from sophistry.

First, the distinction between between organic and honest times when one character takes up another’s name and mission, and blotting out is one of intent.

No one is objecting Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Carrie Kelley or Damian Wayne all being called Robin. No one is objecting to Ted Kord being replaced by Jamie Reyes as the Blue Beetle. No one is objecting to Supergirl and her various incarnations, and no one is objecting to Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain donning the name of Batgirl after Barbara Gordon was shot.

All these changes were organic, and grew out of the logic of the storytelling.

They were not a heavy-handed attempt at social engineering or message fiction. The stories in which these events took place were not crap composed of one dimensional characters moving like jerky automatons through the simple motions of a morality play meant to bludgeon the reader over the head with a simplistic SJW message of how evil the reader is for being born White and Male. The recent stories have had these flaws and more.

Let me remind the reader of the sheer number of  A-List characters who have been blotted out and turned into unpersons, people who you now cannot name without uttering a qualifier or giving a civilian identity.

Jane Foster is now Thor; Miles Morales is now Spidey; Sam Wilson is now Captain America; Riri Williams is now Iron Man; Kate Bishop is now Hawkeye; Kamala Khan is now Ms Marvel; She-Hulk is now Hulk; Amadeus Cho is also Hulk; X-23 is now Wolverine.

Not to mention Iceman is now gay, despite being straight since 1963.

To those who cannot tell the difference between this heavy handed blotting out and an organic change to the character, I propose a general challenge:

Find one single example of a straight white male character taking up the name and identity of a minority superhero or superheroine, or tell the reason why you cannot.

I think you will discover that there is no white guy with the powers and name of Storm or Rogue, Phoenix or Hellcat, Power Man or Falcon or Nightthrasher, or Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu.

Northstar has not revealed himself to have always been heterosexual, nor has Batwoman.

(Marvel Boy Vance Astro with a name akin to Marvel Girl Jean Gray does not count, since these are two different names.)

Let us put the same test the other way. Find a list of the original Avengers: Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk. Note that three out of four have been blotted out. Only Ant-Man was not turned into a girl. (Later incarnations include Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady, not changes made for reasons of affirmative action.)  Next we have Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Two of four blotted out. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have neither had race or sex flipped.

If each change were made at different times in response to different storytelling needs, would we see the pattern of changes to the A-list characters?