Messing With Mythology

Star Trek: The Next Generation showed a fascinating and creative episode where an alien culture spoke in shortcuts.  They would say “Shaka, when the walls fell,” instead of “You know, I think that’s a really stupid idea that’s likely to get the both of us killed in a very bloody and painful fashion, so how about you let me do the thinking for both of us.”  The entire episode was about finding bridges between the culture of the Federation and this other, completely alien civilization.

But that civilization isn’t so alien.  In ancient times, mythology helped to define a culture.  Everyone knew the legends; while “Shaka, when the walls fell” might not have made much sense, “Do you want to end up like Tantalus? Or Prometheus?” might have.  The stories of gods and heroes, demons and monsters, helped people to understand their place in the universe, and to learn what was right and what was wrong.

Conquerors understood this, of course.  When they moved in, they would do a bit of “creative editing” on the local mythology, and make sure the slaves and serfs knew their new place in the social order.  This explains why Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian pantheon of gods, spent all of his time chasing women.  Each of his conquests likely represented the conquering of the followers of a pagan fertility goddess by the worshippers of Zeus.

Time to buy old US gold coins

That’s all ancient history.  We no longer marvel over the exploits of Gilgamesh and Theseus.  We don’t snicker at the unusual parentage of Odin’s eight-legged horse, and we don’t share stories about Thor anymore.

Actually, we do still tell stories about Thor–just in a different way. Star Realms: Rescue Run Jon Del Arroz Check Amazon for Pricing.

While we might not remember whether Perseus fought the Gorgon or the Minotaur, we do know that Luke Skywalker fought Darth Vader–and we cringed at the words “I am your father.”  Instead of the children of gods, we have the children of the atom–the X-Men.  We have Spiderman and Batman, James Bond and Jason Bourne, Captain Kirk and Captain America, and, yes, Thor.

Calling popular fiction “mythology” may be a reach, but comic books, movies, and novels fill the same niche–they present stories, illustrating right and wrong, helping people to understand society and their place in it.

…and just like in those ancient days, people can’t resist applying some “creative editing.”

Now, I was a comic fan a long time ago.  I remember when the X-Men were five white teens, when Wolverine was first introduced, and when the Guardians of the Galaxy took place in the far future.  I haven’t been a hardcore fan and collector for several years, though, and the changes that have happened in the comic book universe caught me by surprise.

Apparently, Marvel decided to clone their heroes, perhaps to appeal to a wider audience.  There are now Hulks of a rainbow of colors.  There are male, female, black, white, and porcine Spidermen.  There are male and female Wolverines, Iron Men, Hawkeyes, and Captains Marvel.

And there is something to be said for the whole wider audience.  I remember when the X-Men went international–they added an African, a Canadian, a German, and a Russian member to the team, and before you knew it, there were multiple X-Men titles.

But–to paraphrase a certain cigar-chomping Canadian–when a hero headlines his own comic, he’s “the best there is at what he does.”  Replacing him, or her, with someone else is a bad idea because it cheapens the hero.  If anyone can fly Apollo’s chariot across the sky, then Apollo isn’t as hot as he used to be.  And Marvel has been putting quite a few different drivers in that seat.

  • Hulk:  Bruce Banner is dead.  There are two Hulk titles; one stars the female Hulk, while the other is headlined by a new teenage Oriental super-genius named Amadeus Cho.

  • Iron Man:  Tony Stark is in a coma.  There are two Iron Man comic books.  One is headlined by Doctor Doom, who is desperately seeking to turn over a new leaf and redeem himself for his past villainy.  The other features a black teen genius named RIri.

  • Wolverine:  Wolverine is dead.  The Wolverine comic features the female Wolverine, formerly known as X-23. Somewhither: A Tale of... John C. Wright Check Amazon for Pricing.

  • Thor:  Thor–yes, that same Thor, the one who’s stories we’ve been sharing around the campfire for centuries–has been declared unworthy of wielding his own hammer.  The Thor comic features Jane Foster, Thor’s longtime love interest, as the hammer-swinger.

In other words, nearly all of the flagship Marvel hero titles–with the possible  exception of the Fantastic Four, who have retired, and Captain America–have seen their heroes replaced with newer, more “diverse,” characters.  Even the fabled X-Men haven’t gotten away unscathed; the original, adult, team has been scattered or killed off, and the teens have been pulled forward out of their own time to start fresh.  Oh, and one of them–Bobby Drake, the Iceman–is gay.

Speaking of Captain America…

By way of background, last year Captain America was an old man.  He was rejuvenated by a Cosmic Cube, an immensely powerful item with the ability to reshape reality. This Cosmic Cube was actually an entity–a being called Kobic, who had the appearance and personality of a little girl.  Unfortunately, the “friend” suggesting she fix Captain America was the Red Skull, who suggested she make some creative editing to his mythology in the process.

Captain America’s entire backstory was rewritten.  This new version has been a Hydra agent since he was a child, and this new backstory was slowly revealed over the last year.  Ultimately, he was able to take over the United States, while trapping the bulk of the country’s super heroes either off planet or under a magical dome over New York City.

In the first issue of the summer crossover series Secret Empire, Captain America was the fascist dictator of the United States, and oversaw both the total destruction of Las Vegas and the execution of Rick Jones.  He even murdered the Red Skull and delivered his head to Magneto as a gift.

Ultimately, the banished and trapped affirmative action heroes were able to gather and mount an all-out attack on Captain America, but with the power of the Cosmic Cube in his hand, they were completely unable to beat him.  The only way to win was for the heroes to rescue Kobic–who made yet another Captain America, “from her memory of the original,” to face down the original, now rebranded as the evil twin.  She did such a good job with this new version that he was even able to snag Thor’s hammer–which Thor himself can’t even use–and smack the evil Captain off the page with it.  Kobic goes on to undo all of the damage caused, like waking from a bad dream.

So, now, there are two Captains America.  The original Captain, who happens to be a copy created from Kobic’s memory, and the evil twin, who was the actual original Captain, just revised into a murderous fascist megalomaniac. SJWs Always Double Dow... Vox Day Check Amazon for Pricing.

John C. Wright–who has done a much better job than I ever could of describing the descent of comics into social justice lunacy–notes that this replacement process is akin to rewriting mythology and history.

Let me emphasize that these are not cases where, for example, Robin grows up into Nightwing and someone else puts on Robin’s outfit to replace him, or where Blue Beetle takes up the costume and legacy of the original Blue Beetle.

Neither is any one of these a case where Superman has a cousin or Commissioner Gordon has a daughter who is a female version of a previously established character. That kind of thing happens in comics all the time, and no one cares or minds. Those things are meant to honor the previous character, or provide an interesting variation on a theme.

This is different.

This is like Muslims dynamiting the giant statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. It is the destruction of the icons and symbols of infidels.

This is blotting out the old character. Anyone who is white, straight, heroic or male is being replaced by someone who is not.

And, while the rewriting of heroes with social justice foremost is most obvious in both Marvel and DC, they aren’t the only ones.  Mr. Wright shows what they’ve done to his favorite:

Dynamite Comics just put out a new version of The Shadow. The Shadow is and has been my most deeply beloved character of my imaginative life.

They turned him into an SJW who lectures villains on their white privilege.

I am not making this up.

While in the middle of gunning down two Virginia Tech style mass murderers, The SJW Shadow tells them that they were born atop a pedestal of privilege, and their loss of power when the minorities lives improve erodes their “empire”, which is what drives them to their crimes.

Jon Del Arroz has a bit of explanation for this replacement process.  He’s been examining the political slant of Marvel comic writers, based on their Twitter commentary. Perchance to Scream Allan Davis Check Amazon for Pricing.

Marvel has a diversity problem.

In that they have none in terms of diversity of thought. They are a pure social justice propaganda arm. This is dangerous when it comes to creating art, as if you have everyone thinking in lockstep, unable to get outside the box, you’ll have creative stagnation. More than that, when you turn children’s adventure fiction into adult message browbeating, you lose any semblance of fun that a product formerly had…

18/18 Marvel writers, 100%, are extreme left wing ideologues who hate half of the country, have nothing nice to say about the USA or its president ever. While the severity of how often they post this garbage varies, the message is always the same. That is crazy. It speaks to the fact that there absolutely is blackballing for “wrongthink” going on in comics publishing, that it’s so far extreme it’s unbelievable, and that these companies have litmus tests for their stories. The writers take to twitter constantly to shake fists at average Americans (who are their customers and readers, I must stress again) and have turned their pamphlets into Lyndon LaRouche fliers instead of optimistic superhero stories they should be. They have zero diversity, and most of these writers wouldn’t actually even TOLERATE someone thinking differently than them.

And, in a later post, he added

18 of 18 before and now we have another 12…So now we’re at 30/30. The odds of this being coincidental are drastically dropping. Many such cases for evidence of blackballing from the industry.

It’s not limited to the printed page, either.  Recent Marvel movies have seen serious changes in the ethnicity, or even the sex, of Johnny Storm (Fantastic Four), Heimdall (Thor), Flash Thompson and MJ (Spiderman), and the Ancient One (Doctor Strange).

For further commentary and discussion, please check out the wonderful and informative Diversity and Comics channel on Youtube.

Judging by all of this, it would appear that there is a fairly large segment of the comic book  market that isn’t being served–an audience that wants to read real tales of heroism, rather than sermons delivered by diverse shadows of the original legends.

Enter Alt-Hero, a crowdfunded comic book specifically for that audience.

Everyone hates what Marvel has become…Their declining sales prove that no one wants to buy comics written by social justice warriors…We’re bringing back real heroes, real villains, and real action, and we’re going to give the readers great stories instead of preaching social justice at them. Valiant, He Endured: 1... George Donnelly, Micha... Check Amazon for Pricing.

The initial announcement of Alt-Hero was met with howls of ridicule on Twitter, as hundreds of commenters celebrated the imminent demise of the project due to complete lack of interest and funding.

They all went silent when Alt-Hero met their thirty-day fundraising goal in a mere four hours.

After 12 days, the Alt★Hero crowdfunding campaign currently stands at $102,156.00 raised from 1,133 backers, more than 4 times its original $25,000 goal. Less than one percent of all crowdfunding campaigns ever reach the $100,000 mark; 18 days still remain in the controversial new comic’s campaign.

The goal of Alt-Tech is to replace the SJW-controlled institutions like Twitter and Facebook with newer, less totalitarian systems.  Alt-Hero looks to do the same for modern mythology.