I just read this rant about the female Thor, and inevitably the argument came up that women should make up their own hero and leave theirs alone. I come across this argument a lot, whether it’s a black Little Mermaid or a bisexual Peter Parker. When The Falcon took over for Captain America, they said the same thing. When Miles Morales became Spider-man (in an alternate universe, even), same thing.
It is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard, as well as the most disengenious.
We live in a time when a new hero is not going to reach audiences. Think about all the heroes you know that are in the public consciousness, and think about how many of them were created recently, like the past twenty years that aren’t a spinoff of existing characters. I literally cannot (if you can, I encourage you to make me look silly). I think the biggest boom for new characters was the launch of Image comics in 1992, and even most of them are just plain forgettable. The current audience is married to their intellectual properties, for better or for worse. That’s why movies, particularly genre movies, not based on a book or a comic or an older movie are so rare. That’s why comics about new heroes rarely sell.
Because of the nature of consumption right now, a new hero will become second and third tier. There are plenty of white, straight heroes out there, so why not borrow a first-tier one to make someone feel just a little included.
If someone creates a movie about a new superhero, the person who suggested that said demographic create that movie will never see it. He won’t buy the comic. He has no intention of ever gracing the new hero with his attention. Unfortunately the general audience won’t either. They want name recognition.
I’m a heterosexual white male. I have plenty of heroes to look up to. I think it’s time to share.