Another Subversive Marvel Project Cancelled

There is a Black Panther spinoff called Black Panther and the Crew, and it’s been cancelled … on issue #2. Which is, in itself, a cute truck. Gee, why ever would they cancel a comic around a character that was part of the popular film, Captain America: Civil War?
Let’s start with the premise.

Black Panther and the Crew brought together several of Marvel’s most popular black characters, including Black Panther, Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and Manifold for a story dealing with police violence in Harlem.

Ahem….
They …. Did … WHAT?
Let’s just think about this for a moment, shall we? Because there is so much stupid packed into one little statement, it’s painful to look at.

Black Panther — KING OF HIS OWN COUNTRY — has come to Harlem to deal with local police violence… The only time he should have to deal with the cops of another country is the five minutes before he tells them that he has diplomatic immunity, and they’re fired if they even look at him the wrong way.

Panther is joining forces with his (for the moment) ex-wife, Storm, the mutant FROM AFRICA, who has previously joined in on intergalactic wars. She has personally fought, and is friends with, freaking space aliens. But she’s going to come down from her mansion in Westchester … to deal with police officers?

All of this is to deal with a political narrative from over three years ago…

And they expect teenagers — THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE — to give a crap about this?

And it’s written by a “journalist” from The Atlantic….

Yes. Didn’t know that? The author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a journalist. He’s worked for CUNY, and now NYU. A journalist, and an academic. He’s also written for the New York Times, and the Washington Post….

I wonder if he’s at all left-wing.  Gee. Maybe?

And of course, notice that I didn’t say that he was a New Yorker. Because he’s not. No. He’s from Baltimore. Some people get pissed about fake news. I get pissy about out of towners who think they can write stories about my city and get away from it. Fight fake New Yorkers.

But wait, there’s more.

Io9 said,

“When Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew launched earlier this year, it proved that big publishers like Marvel can, in fact, still tell timely stories about real world issues, like how police brutality devastates black communities. But now, after a mere two issues, Marvel has cancelled the series.

Yeah. We kind of thought that this was political BS masquerading as a comicbook.
But despite having a story line so politically blatant, Coates had the audacity to say

Coates tells the Verge that Black Panther and the Crew wasn’t about making a political statement.

Yeah. He said that.

Hey, Coates, tell io9 that you weren’t being political. Go ahead. Tell them that. Tell them. Go on. And if you’re wondering why I think this is a BS statement, you’ll see a little bit farther down. But let’s look at more behind the concept.

“The Crew was an opportunity to get inside them as black people,” Coates said, assuring fans that “the mystery will be solved.” 

Uh… huh…

Right now, the only mystery I see is how this launched in the first place. Why? Again. Let’s think on this for a moment.

  • Storm grew up poor on the streets of Africa. I’m not even going to ask how she survived, and just presume it was all Artful Dodger 101. She then moved into a mansion, and works as a teacher when she’s not engaged in full-on battles or married to a King.
  • Black Panther grew up as an African Prince in a highly-advanced fictional country.
  • Luke Cage and Misty Knight actually grew up in Harlem. One is an ex-con, the other is a detective.

I’m certain — CERTAIN, I tell you — that these four, “as black people,” will be exactly the same. Because they’re black, and that’s all that’s needed for conformity of soul, spirit, and personal life experience.

….

….

OF COURSE NOT, ARE YOU FREAKING INSANE? That would be one of the dumbest, most idiotic things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. That’s as insane as saying that just because I’m white, I have the exact same live experiences as any white person in any other random European country. I’m sorry, but what racist idiot truly thinks that “black people” is a universal experience?

I am certain that some twit is going to bitch about racism somewhere. Coates is also currently writing the main line Black Panther comic … though, Black Panther #1 sold relatively well. Could it possibly to do less with the aspect of a Black character, and more with a focus on — gasp — good story telling? Or maybe he was in an awesome film last year called Civil War? Though I’ve seen nothing about the rest of the series. I wonder if that means the rest of that series sucks too– just not as badly as The Crew.

Seriously, The Crew. That’s a racing video game.

While Coates tried to claim a politically neutral stance, io9 preferred to spin Black Panther and The Crew a different way

Stories like Black Panther & The Crew deserve to be told not just because they’re socially relevant, but because they demonstrate how comics as a medium can bring people from all walks of life into important conversations they might not otherwise participate in. However, simply creating these comics is not enough. If Marvel (and other publishers) really believe in the messages of diversity and inclusion that they proudly preach, then they’ve got to get better about actually supporting these endeavors once they go to print.

Sigh. They didn’t say it was a good or an entertaining story. No.It was “important.” Somehow, it’s not “important” that Cage or T’Challa (the Black Panther’s real name) have their own comic lines, which might–might, I say — actually make money. I mean, Hell, Marvel can only run so many virtue signalling story lines on which they’ll make no money (I’m looking at you, Secret Empire).

Anyway, let’s look at this for a moment. What did they actually do?

Set in a near-future Harlem-turned-police state patrolled by robotic police officers controlled by a private security contractor

STOP. Just stop right there.

  1. That’s RoboCop.
  2. That’s stupid.
  3. I don’t see any Officer Murphy here.

What should I expect from a world that put Norman Osborn, psychopath, as the head of a SHIELD replacement agency?

Let’s look at this.

Frank Miller should sue. He did RoboCop, right?
Wow. We’re going to shoot little old ladies in the middle of the street, and this is not about politics? Are you kidding me? When Deathstroke came out for gun control, it was bad. But wow, I don’t think I’ve seen something this heavy handed since, well, that.
Shoot me now.
But, yeah. I await someone to spin this as a matter of racism, instead of blatant lefty narratives being dressed up with bright superhero colors. Frankly, comic books should be Superversive by nature. Seriously, is there anything more black and white, hero vs villain, than Captain America punching Red Skull (or Hitler) in the face with a red white and blue shield? And that’s yet another reason why their sales are down. Marvel is too busy trying to subvert their own IP.
Screw it. Here, have some books that are completely and utterly devoid of politics. Enjoy,
The Love at First Bite series. 
The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them immediately. The instructions are right there.

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About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, and nominated for Best Horror at the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, to be released by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set to Kill," murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
  • John Carlton

    Curfew, in NY City? That’s what you get when people have no clue about the neighborhood.