The comic book industry continues to do what industry execs have admitted is hurting their sales: politicize its beloved characters for the sake of the social justice agenda. The most recent hot button issues tackled by none other than the original superhero himself are illegal immigration and white supremacy.
Right on the heels of President Trump's announcement that he was eventually going to shut down Obama's executive overreach on immigration, DACA, comes the latest issue of Action Comics' Superman series (issued #987, "The Oz Effect") in which Superman rescues a group of "undocumented immigrants" from an American flag bandana-wearing, machine gun-wielding white man bitter about illegals taking his job.
When the "bitter clinger" white nationalist opens fire on the immigrants, Superman shields them with his body, yelling, "Stop this!'
When the Man of Steel asks, "Why?!" the racist white guy responds, "They ruined me. Stole from me!"
Superman grabs the
angry Trump supporter gun-toting white nationalist by the collar and says, "The only person responsible for the blackness smothering your soul — is you!"
Here's some images (h/t THR):
Most of the major players in the comic book industry have been deliberately injecting progressive political themes into their stories for years. Despite clear messages from their customers, and former customers, that they want less politics and and more good storytelling, publishers continue on their self-destructive path, risking alienating a significant percentage of their readership in the process.
Earlier this year, the blowback had become overt enough that the vice president of sales at Marvel, David Gabriel, was forced to admit that comic book retailers were complaining about all the "diversity"-oriented series.
“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity," said Gabriel. "They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales … Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up."
While Gabriel at least is admitting there's a problem, his comments suggest that he thinks the pushback stems from some sort of racism or sexism. In other words, Marvel might be hearing the complaints, but they're not getting what is actually fueling the complaints: a resistance to forcing identity politics and other overtly partisan issues at the expense of entertaining stories and the faithful portrayal of the characters comic fans have come to know and love.
Of course, the truth is comic books have not been immune from politicization from the start; the difference is the sharply leftward turn of the political messages. In fact, here's a couple of interesting examples from the past of comics being used for political purposes: