Thor Cropped of his Male Member

This organization once known as Marvel Comics was once known for producing funloving, loud and brash and well-beloved superhero comics. Now they are known for having once having had produced beloved superhero comics which are now made into successful movies for nostalgic geeks like me. (I stopped reading comics when they killed off Captain America during the Bush Derangement Syndrome story arc. Have they resurrected him yet?)

Aside from licensing intellectual property to way cool movies and way cool video games, these companies are fairly worthless, having fallen long ago in the Long March through our Institutions to the powers of Political Correctness, and thrown aside all modicum of story telling ability. Don’t believe me? Name a major character invented by Marvel in say, forty years, since 1974? Do you buy his title?

Marvel has apparently been jealous of DC’s rousing failure with their NEW 52, and decided to race them to the bottom to see who could go out of business first.

Here is the press release from Marvel Comics. I have not changed a word. This is not a parody.

Official Press Release

Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THOR, written by Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder, Original Sin) complimented with art from Russell Dauterman (Cyclops).

This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of Marvel’s “big three” – Captain America, Iron Man and Thor – Marvel Comics will be introducing an all-new THOR, GOD OF THUNDER.

No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, a brand new female hero will emerge who will be worthy of the name THOR. Who is she? Where did she come from and what is her connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe?

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss.

“The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

THOR is the latest in the ever-growing and long list of female-centric titles that continues to invite new readers into the Marvel Universe. This female THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.

My Comment. As a publicity stunt, this certainly worked. Nothing would have gotten me to even notice what was happening in the dying dead-end comic world had the anti-editor Moss not decided to desecrate yet another bit of our four-color childhood, and bite all fanboys collectively in the yarbles.

Here is the concept art for She-Thor, the Estrogen Avenger, Princess of Thunder:


Compare it with what is being surrendered:

Thor - 5

The inanity of insanity is too great, and I have lost the power of speech for a moment. Until I recover, I will call upon that distaff devil and fellow member of the United Underworld, Sarah Hoyt, to speak for me, to explain this inane insanity.

I here quote only a modicum of her superb wisdom:

I have, some years ago, identified the process by which left-leaning institutions die. Someone had asked me why an sf editor I will not name, having killed three magazines, got given yet another to kill, and why each magazine was successively more leftist. This was compared to the process by which news magazines and media when in trouble because too leftist for the general public, go hard left just before they die. (Also known as the left-leaning-death-roll.)

Because I was in a field where this (then)worked, I had to explain to the people I was talking to that this happens because in fields that are 90% or more left, this works. See, if your magazine/newspaper/tv station goes under because you’re incompetent, no one is going to give you another job.

But if your magazine/newspaper/tv station goes under because you’re “too far left” then the left – aka the rest of your field. Aka those who give awards and jobs – perceive you as a hero, suffering for your convictions, and promptly give you another job.

So, if you’re an incompetent idiot, and your business is failing, your best way to cover it up and assure your survival in the field, is to run as far left as fast as you can. This has been trained in at the back of the brain of most people in the media and entertainment by DECADES of this strategy working just fine.


What did you expect of Marxists? Contact with reality? If they had that, they wouldn’t be Marxists, a theory that requires you to be a blind fool who believes in wishcasting.

Read the whole thing here:

I have recovered my powers of speech and can comment further. Is Marvel Comics out of its collective ever-lovin’ mind? Do they not care if they lose 80% of their few remaining readers?

Does Marvel actually think fangirls want to read about girls acting macho and kicking ass?

And if you wanted to do a Norse Goddess ass-kicker superheroine, what in the name of Nastrond is wrong with Sif, or Valkyrie, or any other established Marvel Norse heroine?


Is there anything wrong with either of these Nordic she-soldiers?


Ah, but the point of Political Correctness is not to tell a story and make it good, but to take a good story and ruin it.

Fanboys, I know, like looking at woman warriors that are leggy and busty and dress in skintight black leather.



If skintight catsuits are unavailable for female warrior wear, there is always the fan favorite bathing suit. The bathing suit can be chainmail …


… or the bathing suit can be made of the American flag.

Linda Carter! Nize Cape!

But the important thing in combat is to show a lot of cleavage. I think it is fairly clear that the fanboys are not primarily attracted the heroic stature, muscles, strength, and manly chivalry of these woman warriors.

And if they absolutely, positively HAD to make Thor into a girl, why could Marvel not make her into a cheesecake girl in a chainmail bathing suit, as is the mighty Marvel tradition?



But Marvel says the way to attract the female fans is not to have more romance, or more love stories, or more Loki, but instead to have beefy females who look like Soviet-era lady weightlifters smashing trolls in the tusks with a honking big hammer.

Really? I thought girls LIKED Loki? I am not sure why. Just because he is a Bad Boy and rebel who plays by his own rules but is tormented by inner demons and has dreamboat eyes blue as laser beams shot through sapphires? Girls! Who can figure out what they like?


Well, right now Loki, lord of mischief, is laughing his royal ass off.

loki laughs

Because now his hated rival and brother is his sister.


Villains are surely intimidated by your soft, kissing-sweet red lips, Thor!

Laugh not too soon, proud god of evil! Who knows where the fun-hating story-killing emasculating braindeadness of Political Correctness will strike next?!


UPDATE 1: For advanced reading on this topic, see here:

UPDATE 2: Marvel just announced that Captain America will be a Black man. I am not making this up: (It is Falcon, a character I’ve always liked, and who was a total buttkicking badass in the last movie where they made his wings into a waycool jetpack, not to mention Cap’s longtime sidekick, so it is not as silly as it seems, but, meh, whatever).

Myself, I would like to see Captain America as a girl. But that is because girls look cute when dressed in boy’s clothing.



  1. Comment by bear545:

    Back when I collected comics, the Walt Simonson run on Thor was among my favourites. He created a new character capable of carrying the hammer, brought in Surtur and Malekith and sent the entire Marvel Universe reeling into Ragnorak. That was cool. That was writing, that was creative while being respectful of the source. It appears the spirit of Morgoth has taken over: these writers cannot make, only mock. A Thor whose only defining characteristic is that they are not male will not have depth. The only virtue such a character can have- if virtue is not the wrong word in every sense- is that she is something new, and newness is not a virtue known for its longevity.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “Back when I collected comics, the Walt Simonson run on Thor was among my favourites.”

      Mine as well. You have good taste.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I would blush too if I found out that a world-class philistine like John C Wright liked the same comics I liked. (for the record, Frank Miller’s run on DAREDEVIL, Alan Moore on SWAMP THING, Walter Simonson on THOR, and Dr Strange both during the Marvel Premier run and Jim Starlin’s run.)

          • Comment by bear545:

            Holy cow, we’re the same person!

            I also liked the Windsor Smith Conan, the John Byrne/Chris Claremont X-Men, plus a few one offs, like Windosr Smith’s tale of The Thing in Marvel Fanfare.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              I am, yes, also a fan of John Byrne/Chris Claremont X-Men up until they gave Storm a Mohawk and introduced Forge.

              I have never even heard of Windsor Smith, either his Conan or Marvel Fanfare work. At your recommendation, I will look him up.

              I am a big fan of an artist named Rudy Nebres, whom no one has ever heard of, who penciled some Conan and one or two Dr Stranges.

              Of recent stuff, I have read the first few issues of INVINCIBLE (Image comics) which looks interesting and witty. Done by the same guy who does WALKING DEAD, which is just not to my taste. I hate gross-out things like zombies. (

              • Comment by bear545:

                Byrne was gone by the time they gave storm a mohawk. The comic was never the same after Byrne left just after their Days of Future Past storyline, although it did occasionally have flashes of the earlier glory. As Claremont continued, the X-men spent more and more time being introspective and dealing with their personal issues. I just read comics because I wanted to see people in spandex with way cool powers smashing things.

                Er…maybe you should postpone the Barry Windsor Smith… He did the artwork for the comic that introduced Forge. I did like his Conan work, though. The early stories were the Robert E Howard stories in comic form.

                Alas, I don’t read the new comics, I am afraid. I ran out of money for them back around the beginning of the nineties. However, at your recommendation, I will look up what I can of the Invincibles.

              • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

                Since I don’t have all of the money I would like to have, I’ve read a good deal of the Invincible comics in collections borrowed from the public library.

                I am sad to report that in recent years, the comic has taken a hard left turn that I, at least, found so repugnant I could no longer read them. Invincible and his girlfriend were having sex. No particular surprise there, as respect for marriage is found in our culture almost nowhere but in explicitly Christian venues. Annoying, but I’ll read on.

                Then, Eve, his girlfriend, got pregnant shortly before Invincible had to go into space on a mission taking several months to a year. She didn’t tell him before he left. When he returned, she had murdered their child, as is accepted practice in nihilist America. When she told him, crying, all he did was hug her for a minute and the subject was never brought up again.

                Now, this might be something like an appropriate emotional response to being told this by a prostitute you visited once. But if you love that woman, you would love the child you made together and be horrified by this. If he had even had a brief scene of shock and rage before reconciling himself to this, I might have been able to stomach it.

                Then, at the end of that collection, a villain who had literally razed Las Vegas (attempting to evacuate the citizens) to create a solar power array was effectively proved right. Upon looking at the eventual consequences of his actions, Invincible decided to break him out of jail.

                Now, let’s ignore the practical fact that if you plant enough bombs to utterly wreck a city, you cannot also give enough time to effectively evacuate the population, or else you risk your bombs being defused. Some people, hundreds, possibly thousands, died there. But we’ll set that aside.

                What about the material lives of all of those people? Their homes? Their jobs? The human wreckage created by such an action is incalculable.

                But all worth it to stop that evil pollution and set up a solar power array, right?

                Never touching that comic again.

              • Comment by Rainforest Giant:

                I loved how Claremont would be writing one story and Byrne would be illustrating another. There would be this wall of text saying one thing then Wolverine would be crouched like a panther about to strike while delivering an entirely different kind of response.

              • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

                Both of you have mentioned a bunch of my all-time favorite artists, writers and runs as well.

                Small world, I suppose.

  2. Comment by ConceptJunkie:

    I saw the headline and didn’t think it was such a big deal. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but comics have always been about gimmicks. This kind of thing has been going on for a long time. Back in the 80s, they replaced Thor with a horse-faced alien! I wouldn’t necessarily chalk this up to political correctness but just another silly gimmick that is one of the deepest wells to go to when you’ve been writing stories about primary-colored characters beating the crap out of each other every month for 50 years.

    By the way, I quit reading comics in the early 90s when the excessive crossover nonsense got really big, along with the special limited-edition covers and a whole bunch of other transparent gimmicks to charge more money without providing more value. I miss comics, but from everything I’ve read about the industry in the last 20 years, I’m glad I stopped when I did.

    I have recently bought some anthologies of “The Tick” which I enjoyed and I do wish that the Flaming Carrot was still around.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “I wouldn’t necessarily chalk this up to political correctness…”

      Did you read the press release I quoted, particularly the last paragraph?

      • Comment by RKW:

        When I first heard about it I didn’t think it had anything to do with being PC, I just figured it was another stunt. Then I read the press release and went “Ugh.”
        Whatever. They’ll do their thing, and when they realize that sales are way down in every market but the SJW cohort, they’ll decide they like money after all and make him a guy again. I forget how it goes, but there’s a joke about how in comics no matter how much things change everything stays the same except for a few characters who, for some reason, never seem to get brought back to life the way everyone else does.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I hear you, brother and I feel your nerdgrief.

          I felt the same way when they killed off Captain America — with a sniper bullet, killed off the guy that all the Axis Powers could not beat! And I told myself they would bring him back to life and get back to business soon, but by the time that happened, so much other PC crap had come flooded out of the exploding toilet of Leftist story-ruining fun-obliterating Perdition that I turned my nerdboy self-addiction powers to watching episodes of NARUTO and BLEACH and ONE PIECE. At least the Japanese still know how to tell a superhero story.

          • Comment by Foxfier:

            Have you tried Fairy Tail yet? We’re watching a fan sub because the dub had a lot of dialog left out, but it’s great.

            Sword Art Online, too.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              I gave up on Sword Art Online after one episode. I have no specific gripe, but it just did not grab me.

              Have not tried FAIRY TALE. Is it good?

              • Comment by Foxfier:

                It’s a lot like Naruto, but less of a woobie main character and the focus is a trio instead of Naruto, with a similar spread of supporting characters. If you like Naruto, you’ll probably like it.
                I am highly amused that the main fan service character is a male ice-mage who randomly ends up wearing just shorts, pretty much every time he’s stressed.

                SAO looked like it was going to be horrible. (I picked up on the impression that it was going to be “evil is cool” type pap.)
                It gets a lot better– it’s more of a miniseries than a normal episode type show, and the story-line is similarly paced.

              • Comment by Pierce O.:

                What I’ve read of FAIRY TALE is enjoyable, but I gave up on it because it reminded me too much of every other hotblooded shounen hero fighting story ever. However, your taste in superhero anime indicates a broader appetite than mine for these kinds of stories, so it would be perfect for you.

                You dodged a bullet with SWORD ART ONLINE. It was fantastic right up until the end of Season 1 (around episode 11) when they abruptly ended the story arc, broke the rules of their imaginary world, and made the villain incredibly lame. I had been so looking forward to several seasons worth of KiritoxAsuna and RPG hack-and-slay to the top of Level 100 and an epic confrontation with the Big Bad, only to watch in horror as my dreams collapsed harder than a Hrung on Betelgeuse VII.

          • Comment by RKW:

            I just couldn’t get into those kinds of anime. Too much standing around explaining everything in excruciating detail and not moving the story or the fight along. However, I did like Fullmetal Alchemist and love Darker than Black. DtB is a bit on the pessimistic/anti-hero side, but the fight scenes are INCREDIBLE.

          • Comment by MichaelMattei:

            I actually feel as though killing Captain America with a politically motivated assassins bullet is terribly appropriate. Captain America as symbol of American idealism and heroism can only truly be defeated by betrayal and having the principles he stands for undermined. The symbolism rings true to me.

            Granted it didn’t last.

  3. Comment by Bobby Trosclair:

    All I can think of is how Chris Hemsworth is really going to hate how he will have to play this role in future movies.

  4. Comment by Stephen J.:

    Assuming we’re defining “major” as “a tentpole sales leader” (correct me if this is not the meaning being used), what major characters has either D.C. or Marvel invented at all post-1974? The impression I had is that pretty much all the superheroes anybody’s heard of were first created pre-1980.

    (The characters from Watchmen, which was 1985, might count if you define “major” as “high recognition profile and strong influence on successive work,” but those characters’ inability to cross over with any other line would disqualify them from being “major”, I think.)

  5. Comment by TJIC:


    I’m not too good at marketing, but I know enough to realize that this “she Thor!” thing is perfectly executed trolling ^H^H^H marketing.

    The reality will be less shocking than the headlines, but in the meantime some marketing genius gets everyone and their brother to be either outraged, or outraged at those who are outraged.

    Personally, I refuse to play that game. I’m going to be outraged about something entirely else (but haven’t yet decided what – the day is young).

  6. Comment by Nate Winchester:

    Yeah I was about to point out that Loki’s been a girl for a bit longer before Thor. (and in this case, it was ACTUALLY Loki who was transformed) Part of me is actually surprised they didn’t do a trifecta with Thor DYING and a girl picking up the hammer.

    Oh and yeah, Captain America has returned and him & Bucky were debating who should wield the shield and other stuff that I lost track of after the tea-party cheap shot they had in the comic.

    As for Marvel’s Big 3… no that’s clearly Spider-Man, Wolverine, & ___. Historically it was probably Captain America but the excellent films have put Iron Man on the map so now I’d say the two share that 3rd spot.

    EDIT: Oh and if you want comics, just enjoy Dark Horse’s continuation of the Firefly series. They’ve just completed another run, this time of 6 issues!

  7. Comment by Mrs. Wright:

    >Really? I thought girls LIKED Loki? I am not sure why. Just because he is a Bad Boy and rebel who plays by his own rules but is tormented by inner demons and has dreamboat eyes blue as laser beams shot through sapphires? Girls! Who can figure out what they like?


    So true. A good Loki comic would probably draw more girls.

  8. Comment by The Deuce:

    Marvel has not yet gone far enough! They need to go back and edit Snorri Sturluson, for starters! We will not have true equality until Thor is no longer a member of the oppressive patriarchy in Norse mythology!

  9. Comment by Zaklog the Great:

    Wait, now I’m confused. Does this Thor have a hammer or not?

  10. Comment by wlinden:

    Is this an insult to a minority religious group? I can already hear their cries of “THEY wouldn’t dare do this to Jesus!”

  11. Comment by wlinden:

    The point is not to give female readers what they want, but what the arbiters of Political Correctness have decided they SHOULD want.

  12. Comment by paul.griffin:

    Of course, even this stunt is nothing new, as Thor lost Mjolnir and was briefly made a woman (well, a transvestite, I suppose) in order to regain it in the Poetic Edda:

    Find humor in that centuries-old story at your own peril!

  13. Comment by AstroSorcorer:

    Their goal is not profits or readership.
    It it were they would advance their successful lines and create more like them.

    Their goal is not role models and heroes for women and minorities.
    If it were they would put their creative teams into developing such current characters, and create new ones like that.

    Their goal is the destruction of convention.
    Any hero from the previous period (what we called America) is something that must be destroyed to pave the way for the new order. Thor was rubbed out, not to make room for a female Thor, but to eliminate a comic that stood for things they despise: valor, stoicism, heroism, strength, honor, and perseverance.

    For a similar reason they got rid of Captain America. Yes, it had to be attributed to villainous forces, but every issue with Steve Rodgers standing up for truth, justice, and the American way was like a silver bullet in the heart of the philosophical monster.

    Not too long ago, I read D.C. did something similar with Superman. He rejected America, and felt it no longer stood for anything and joined up with (surprise) the U.N. I saw one rendering of his new suit in black and red, and thought it appropriate.

    So, while this is being billed as a pro-woman movement, it is actually an anti-heroism movement.

    Then again, maybe it’s all the fault of Loki….

  14. Comment by Rolf Andreassen:

    Laugh not too soon, proud god of evil! Who knows where the fun-hating story-killing emasculating braindeadness of Political Correctness will strike next?!

    Well, to be fair, Loki knows all about sex changes, having gone through one in the original canon when he turned himself into a mare in heat to distract the horse Svadilfare, preventing the completion of the wall around Åsgard and thus saving the Æsir from having to pay the jotun builder the sun, moon, and Freya. In this shape Loki gave birth to Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir; so he might reasonably feel that he has nothing further to fear in this direction, having been there and done that.

  15. Comment by HMSLion:

    Time to unleash Boris the Bear!

  16. Comment by Krul:

    Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

    This. This, right here, is the very ESSENCE of trying to have your cake and eat it too.

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      Side note: A few years ago, I realized that the common form of that saying is completely backwards and makes no sense. Why can’t I have my cake and eat it as well? Why would I want to have it if, by the very fact of possession, it is logically impossible for me to eat it, as the saying implies?

      On the other hand, it would be quite silly of me to imagine that I could eat my cake and have it too. If I eat the cake, it is gone and I no longer have it. I eat the cake. It’s gone. I can no longer have it.

      Why the saying is in its current form, I have no idea, but it is clearly backwards.

  17. Comment by erik1880:

    Marvel has a history of failing to spin off their female properties into solo series that last more than 9 or 10 issues. I assume this is their attempt to broaden their line of female centered books by using an already proven property (a Sif solo series just a year or so ago did not do so well). Also I would say this represenst the idea that males, and white males especially, are bad, and need to be either killed off or have their characters replaced (I think Cap is going to be replaced by Falcon down the road soon, Wally West has already become black)

  18. Ping from Thor Cropped of his Male Member | John C. Wright’s Journal | Head Noises:

    […] via Thor Cropped of his Male Member | John C. Wright’s Journal. […]

  19. Comment by Foxfier:

    Post 1974 character (by one year):

    Bought that for about… a year after I joined the Navy, then that raving anti-Catholic loon made him a brain-washed son of Satan as part of a plot to make Catholics believe the Rapture had come. Growing up, he was about the only observant Catholic good guy that I saw in any media. (Plus, he’s a charming, fuzzy, blue, swashbuckling elf.)

  20. Ping from So Thor She Can Hardly Pith | nightskyradio:

    […] do agree with John C. Wright that Marvel should at least give this new female Thor a skintight catsuit or chainmail bathing […]

  21. Comment by Chris McCullough:

    Remember when Captain America declared war on the United States?

    Remember when Superman renounced his citizenship?

    Remember when Iron Man became a fascist dictator, throwing heroes in prison for not revealing their identities?

    Remember when Cyclops took over the world with the power of the Phoenix?

    Remember when Batman beat the tar out of Superman because Ronald Reagan or something?

    Remember when Spider-man sold his marriage and the soul of his unborn child to the devil?

    I wish I didn’t.

  22. Comment by neilbob:

    I think the only way to his will work is if she ends up having a wardrobe malfunction or ends up with a cameltoe. Then the copies will fly off the shelve as horny teen boys go pick up,the new issue of playboy light, Thor edition. Otherwise its just going to die another painful death

  23. Comment by gray mouser:

    “This female THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.”

    And of those 8 titles which one(s) are successfully pulling in all of those women and girl comic reads (potential or otherwise)? Seven of them? Five? One? Well, it’s like I always say, if something is an abject failure what you need is more of the same! Alienate your base (comic buying males) while simultaneously failing in you stated goal (outreach to a new demographic, viz. comic buying female who, much like the yeti, are a myth). I swear Marvel has stolen a page out of the RNC’s playbook.

    As far Falcon taking over for Cap, I had much the same reaction: Meh. I mean, who hasn’t worn Caps uniform at this point. Steve Rogers will be back eventually (as will Thor, frankly). The only concern
    I have about Sam Wilson is: how’s he going to compare to Cap when he doesn’t have the Super Soldier Formula?

    Thank God I no longer read comics.

    • Comment by Foxfier:

      And of those 8 titles which one(s) are successfully pulling in all of those women and girl comic reads (potential or otherwise)? Seven of them? Five? One? Well, it’s like I always say, if something is an abject failure what you need is more of the same! Alienate your base (comic buying males) while simultaneously failing in you stated goal (outreach to a new demographic, viz. comic buying female who, much like the yeti, are a myth).

      I think I get what you mean, but using their phrasing still makes me twitch… see also, making comics “relevant” by screwing up beloved characters to appeal to “everyone.” (…except for the ones who are already reading them, who are totally pissed off)

      • Comment by gray mouser:

        Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole idea is absurd (and, frankly, just another example, of how Liberals think – or maybe more accurately, want – there is no difference between men and woman). Hopefully the people who actually like Thor will just stop buying the comic until the powers that be at Marvel get the message. There could very well be a problem, however, if the success of the movies makes loss of profits in another area unnecessary.

  24. Comment by leonaozaki:

    “Name a major character invented by Marvel in say, forty years, since 1974?”

    Deadpool, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Cable, Emma Frost, Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Elektra, Punisher, Venom, Moon Knight, Rocket Raccoon, the New Mutants, Rachel Grey/Summers, Mystique, the Starjammers, Carnage, the Runaways, Iron Fist, Captain Britain, and Nextwave.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Iron Fist is 1974 (Marvel Premiere #15). Punisher is 1974 (Amazing Spider-Man #129).

      Storm and Colossus first appeared May 1975, which seems to reinforce my point. Are you going to say that recycling 39 year old characters are a triumph of creativity, whereas 40 year old characters are not? Starjammers are 1977, three years beyond my cutoff date, not exactly a triumph proving the vivid vitality of recent comics. Rogue is 1980, so now you we are only dealing with a 34 year old character.

      I doubt we can count She-Hulk or Spider-Woman or Captain Marvel as original characters, as these, like this year’s she-Thor, are female versions of characters invented earlier (Spiderman = 1962; Hulk = 1962; Male Captain Marvel = December 1967).

      At this point, I think my geek cred is sufficiently well established so that when I say major characters, and you mention Rocket Raccoon and Nextwave and Rachel Graysummers, I am justified in saying “who?” and asking whether any of them ever had their own independent title? Did they appear in the comics more often than Vance Astro?

      So, nice try. I will give you Deadpool as a major character, since he seems to be popular these days, but I’ve never read any of his comics. And at least he is from 1991.

      How about it, True Believers? Does Leonaozaki get a No Prize? Did he successfully answer the challenge and prove my point wrong?

      • Comment by Foxfier:

        New measure:
        “Are there any characters that aren’t younger than married, extended-her-naval-enlistment, mother of three reader who also didn’t become popular because their accent on the cartoon was to die for….”

        Seriously, the idea of the “new” characters being older than ME! is mind bending.

      • Comment by Foxfier:

        How about it, True Believers? Does Leonaozaki get a No Prize? Did he successfully answer the challenge and prove my point wrong?

        Do I get a prize for recognizing the format of the question? *Grin*

        As is made obvious by my currently-awaiting-approval comment, I think that the enduring characters he identified aren’t enduring because of the comics, and that a lot of the characters he identified as new big characters are not new.

      • Comment by leonaozaki:

        Well, now you’re shifting the goalposts. You asked if there were major characters introduced after 1974. I wasn’t aware that “triumph of creativity” had to be part of it.

        Psylocke is featured in Uncanny X-force and X-men.

        Cable has his own book.

        Emma Frost is a core member of Uncanny X-men.

        Elektra and Venom are in Thunderbolts.

        Moon Knight has his own book.

        Rocket Raccoon has his own book and is a big player in Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a movie of the same name coming out in two weeks.

        The New Mutants have had several books over the years; right now their members are featured prominently in various X-books and Avengers titles.

        Rachel Grey (sometimes known as Rachel Summers) is in Wolverine and the X-men.

        Mystique is an X-villain, so she doesn’t usually get her own comic.

        The Starjammers are supporting characters in various X-books.

        The Runaways have had their own book at different times.

        Nextwave was designed to be a 12-issue limited series. It was a big hit.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          Goalposts, schmolposts. My point was that after Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, Captain America and Thor, when I ask for ‘major’ characters ‘under 40’ you give me two that are over 40, a few that are 39 to 32 years old, the youngest one here is Deadpool, who first appeared in 1991, making him 23. I have grown children younger than that.

          And for ‘major’, you give me spin off and minor associate members of the X-Men (from 1963), Elektra (January 1981! That is only 33 years ago) and other spin offs from more famous books, female versions on their older male counterparts, some guys I never heard of, and then Moon Knight (Werewolf by Night #32 August 1975) and the ever-loving Rocket Raccoon (Marvel Preview #7 Summer 1976).

          This is a legitimate question of what constitutes a major character. A spin off of a more famous character is a minor character, isn’t it?

          I am glad Rocket Raccoon is in a movie. I like him, but he is not in the same league as the Human Torch, or even Crystal of the Inhumans. I wish Vance Astro had his own movie, who is more famous. Adam Warlock is also as famous as Rocket Raccoon, and he also had his own book for a while. Likewise for Deathlok. Do you consider them major?

          I am not moving goal posts. My point was always about creativity. Yes, you have found almost major characters who are almost older than my 40 year cut off, or younger members of older teams. I think my point about creativity still stands, but I must admit you have almost found an exception. Very nearly. Maybe.

          But I leave it up to my readers! How about it, True Believers? Does Leonaozaki get a No Prize? Did he successfully answer the challenge and prove my point wrong?

          My second question: How many do you still read? Are these titles or characters you, or anyone you know, are following?

          • Comment by leonaozaki:

            I haven’t gotten around to the new Moon Knight book but I read all of the others.

            And my question is, why did you introduce the 40 year goalpost if it’s not going to matter to the discussion? How new does a character have to be to be evidence of creativity?

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              I needed some arbitrary cut off line. If you can find two or three minor characters on the near side of the cut off line, it does not disprove my point. Even if you found two or three major character, but only two or three, same deal. This is not like a logic puzzle, where if you find one single exception to the rule, the rule vanishes in a puff. This is an argument, where one side places his best evidence in one pan of the scales, and the other side places his best evidence in the other.

              You do not seem to see that if someone says, “Name a major character under 40!” and instead of listing a character who is new, or who is ten, twenty, or thirty years old, you list two characters over 40 and some who are 39 and 35, well, it is not a strong argument. And if you give a list of B-list and C-list heroes, and throw in a recurring villain or two (Mystique from Ms. Marvel No.17 June 1978) Technically, I’d say you win the argument, but you don’t exactly knock down my point.

    • Comment by Foxfier:

      How about ones that aren’t popular because of the cartoons, and yet are popular outside of people who are major marvel fans?

      If not for the geek fandom around him, largely triggered by the Wolverine movie, I wouldn’t even know who Deadpool was; even though I am a geek, I either don’t recognize or only have vaguely read about at least half of those characters, and several of them are either from 1974 or hit the Nightcrawler “Alright, so right after ’74” modification.

      Punisher is… wait, no, I just did the research, and he was introduced in ’74.

      So you have Deathpool, Rogue(81), Gambit(90), Kitty(80), Cable(86), Emma Frost(80), Spider-Woman (barely, 77), She-Hulk(80), Elektra(81), Venom(88), The New Mutants(82), Rachel Grey/Summers(81), Mystique (78), Starjammers (77), Carnage(91), the Runaways (03?!?), Nextwave (07).

      So, I’m guessing you’re a bit over my age or maybe a bit younger if you live someplace that’s not BFN (big fat nowhere, or your prefered Sailorism), because most of the list that is not old characters who happen to still be around point to being a Really Big Comics fan who’s been buying them for a while and is still pretty current, but can’t be too much older than an 80s baby because you didn’t realize that the Iron Fist was “new” in the 70s.

      Most of the “major” characters are either deep in the weeds of current fandom, or are from the 80s re-launch.

      Heck, you’ve got “characters I saw in the X-men cartoons,” “characters from memes,” and “who the heck are they?!?”

      They’re roughly in order of how new they are, too.

      The really funny thing is, mid 90s is when I started being a big fangirl– before that, it was reading my uncles’ old X-Men comics. So the “who?” ones, all else being equal, should be implanted on my mind– good heavens, I devoured X-Men fanfic!

      • Comment by leonaozaki:

        I’ve now read this comment four times and I still don’t understand it.

        • Comment by Foxfier:

          I’ll simplify:
          Just because you first noticed a character in the 80s doesn’t mean they’re new, and you liking them or the comics being declared a big hit among comic fans doesn’t make them big.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            To be fair, I did not challenge readers to find a ‘new’ character, but a character younger than 40 years old. I am the one who set the cutoff, not he. he found a number who were only 35 years old. I am skeptical because nearly all are younger members of older teams, or spinoffs or female versions riding on the coat tails of characters older than 40. Excluding those, we have, um, Moon Knight and Rocket Raccoon and guys I’ve never heard of, like Newwave or Netwave or whatever his name is, or Rachel Summers.

            But I think Bloodpool counts as a character who is still popular, and he is only 23 years old. Is he major? I think he had his own book for a while.

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              To be fair, I did not challenge readers to find a ‘new’ character, but a character younger than 40 years old.

              I was actually referring to the way that a third of his list were characters that weren’t under 40, or were 39. (Which, if one wants to argue that finely, means they were almost positively created 40 years ago, even if the comic was published 39 years ago.)

              Deathpool has a lot of internet fame because he’s cheerfully insane– Loony Toons style stuff in the X-Men world; that said, my mom probably wouldn’t recognize him, and she had a pretty steady diet of every super hero thing my brother and I could inflict on her, including the novelization of the X-Men/TNG crossover comics, and recognized Colossus in the movie when he was just a bit part and identified Dr. Henry McCoy as the one who would be blue, based off the name. (When Wolverine is in a bar and Beast is being interviewed on a CNN style program.)

              I think he’s big among current high-level Marvel fans, but I had to look up and then explain to several other mild fans who the “merc with a mouth” was. One of my husband’s co-workers recognized the name in the Wolverine movie, out of… about fifteen people?

              Really need better name recognition than that to be big, especially since the group is obviously geeky. I’d never need to explain Spiderman as being “kind of like Deathpool, but he doesn’t kill people”– while I could easily explain to my non-geeky sister that Deathpool is like Spiderman if he was utterly insane and enjoyed killing people.

              • Comment by John C Wright:

                I have only the most passing knowledge of Deathpool and desire no more.

                If he is the only ‘major’ character the brand has invented in the last 40 years, then it is time to resurrect the spectre of the doctor Werthheim or whatever his name who wrote SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, and have the Inquisition back again to remove nakedly nihilistic elements from comic books. Deathpool strikes me as the kind of thing a decayed culture at the last extreme of its decay would invent to divert itself while the barbarians and the black plague snuffed out the last ember of civilization around them. He reminds me simultaneously of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and of HUNGER GAMES.

                If the only major character created by the brand is something so utterly repellant to the very idea of superheroics, it is time to fold up shop and start writing Pirate Comics, like they did in WATCHMAN. Someone must have written a Captain Jack Sparrow funnybook by now?

                • Comment by leonaozaki:

                  Deadpool’s not a superhero. He’s a mercenary.

                  • Comment by John C Wright:

                    Meaning he should not be on your list at all.

                    • Comment by leonaozaki:

                      Huh? You asked for new characters. Is Marvel only supposed to publish superheroes?

                      You complained that Deadpool is a bad superhero. And that’s true, if he were intended to be, or trying to be, a superhero.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      I concede the point. I did indeed ask for ‘characters’ while talking about the superhero characters who only were created 40 years ago, and did not specify that the characters I was talking about were the superhero characters I was talking about in the earlier sentence. My lawyerly training has failed: your parsing skills have outmaneuvered my laxity at defining and qualifying my terms.

            • Comment by leonaozaki:

              “I am skeptical because nearly all are younger members of older teams, or spinoffs or female versions…”

              That’s how the business of superhero comics work. Introducing completely new and also instantly profitable characters without linking that character to an existing franchise or legacy is very, very difficult.

              Deadpool (not Bloodpool or Deathpool) is, yes, very popular. He has had (and continues to have) several books of his own.

              • Comment by John C Wright:

                You are unintentionally making my point for me. Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man were not spin offs nor members of a team before they created the Avengers. Likewise, the Fantastic Four did not appear as guest stars before getting started.

                Yes, I completely agree: most characters are introduced by being tied into a legacy. This makes it hard to be creative in inventing new characters. For a similar reason, oddly enough, Hollywood gravitates toward sequels and series and movies made from books and comics and television shows which promise to have a built in audience.

                There are economic reasons for all of this, I am sure. The end result is, that comics exist to provide grist for games and movies of characters which — ah, let me be more precise this time — comics exist to provide grist for games and movies of superhero characters who are either older than 40 years, OR are female ripoffs of 40 year old characters, OR are sidekicks of 40 year old characters, OR are spinoffs of X-Men or some other 40 year old team, OR are minor characters.

                Minor characters here means B-List superheroes (Wonder Man, Ant Man/Giant Man/Yellowjacket/Whatever, Swordsman, Falcon, War Machine, Hercules, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Iron Fist) or C-List superheroes (Guardians of the Galaxy, Starjammers, Ghost Rider, Nova, Tigra, Mockingbird, Ms Marvel).

                My favorite C-List is Night Thrasher! (Thor #411 December 1989) He has a bulletproof skateboard!

                For whatever reason, Marvel is less creative in the last 20 years (2014-1984) than in the 20 years before that (1984-1964) if we define creativity in terms of creating new, popular, well loved, easily recognized, iconic, major superheroes.

                But I will undercut my own argument for you. Static of Static Shock (1993) I would call a major character, or at least high on the B-List of minor characters. He has appeared in animated cartoons. Ahhh — except he is DC, not Marvel.

                So NIGHT THRASHER FOR THE WIN!

                • Comment by leonaozaki:

                  “For whatever reason, Marvel is less creative in the last 20 years (2014-1984) than in the 20 years before that (1984-1964) if we define creativity in terms of creating new, popular, well loved, easily recognized, iconic, major superheroes.”

                  1) Why are you defining creativity in this way? If they’re telling interesting stories, doesn’t that also count as creativity?

                  2) Of course the decline in new characters is related to economics. Once the speculator bubble burst, Marvel and DC had to focus almost exclusively on their core rosters for fear of alienating the customers they had left.

                  • Comment by John C Wright:

                    Look, it is not as if we are talking about Analog Magazine, whose old stories are better than its new stories, but who gamely soldiers on telling new stories, and yet not getting the sales they once knew.

                    We are talking about a group that has not made up a single new major character in 40 years (with the possible minor exceptions which, with considerable strain and some squinting, can be shoehorned in, such as a few guys who are 39 rather than 40 years old, spin offs, gimmicks like a female version, bad jokes like a sociopath version, and B-listers, and my fav NIGHT THRASHER!!!!!!).

                    We are talking about creativity because redoing the same characters over and over again places creative limits on the story telling art.

                    I am not claiming there are not economic reasons for it. Nor do I claim that the aging fans are not getting exactly what they pay for. I am saying it is ossified.

                    • Comment by leonaozaki:

                      By and large, since (approximately) 2000, Marvel has succeeded at using the same characters (largely) in new ways. Their books now are the best they’ve been since the early 80’s. That seems like creativity to me.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      As you like. You have been following recent comics more closely than I; your opinion has more weight. I stopped reading when they become insufferably preachy and politically correct.

    • Comment by gray mouser:

      Almost half of these characters aren’t “major” in any meaningful sense. Yes, just because someone appeared in an X-book doesn’t mean they’re a major character.

  25. Comment by leonaozaki:

    So what constitutes a major character?

    • Comment by Foxfier:

      Rule of thumb: someone who is not a fan of the format knows who they are, and not just from movies.

      Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Punisher are all EXTREMELY major characters– their icons are familiar to everybody.

      Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine… in a group of a dozen non-fans, at least half will recognize them. (Because of the movies, Wolverine may become at least Spiderman level, similar to how the Punisher was boosted by his logo.)

      When other geeks are reading your list and going “who?”– it’s not a major character. I don’t care if it was declared a major success.

      • Comment by John C Wright:

        While I agree in general with that muggle-recognition definition (because if we accept your definition, I win the argument and “yeah for me!”) would Fantastic Four count as major? They have had three or four animated shows over the years, and two or three really terrible movies, but I am not sure a muggle would recognize them.

        I can put it negatively: anyone the muggles recognize cannot be said to be a minor character or a B-list.

        • Comment by Foxfier:

          I think they would, although as a group rather than individual names or even powers– just because they have been around so long, so that grandparents grew up reading them or knowing folks who did. There wouldn’t have been all those horrible shows if there wasn’t a basic knowledge of who they are.

          • Comment by leonaozaki:

            The muggle metric would be relevant if muggles still read comic books.

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              That Marvel has managed to drive off everyone who is not a hard-core fan does not support your theory that they’re as creative as ever.

              Online comics manage to have muggle readers just fine, and there’s demand for the old comics in digital form.

              • Comment by leonaozaki:

                The direct market drove off the non-hard-core.

                • Comment by Foxfier:

                  Right, it’s the marketing, not the product; that’s why people don’t take the huge discounts to subscribe directly to the comics from the publisher, which has been an option for– from memory– nearly two decades.

                  Even though a decent sized grocery store has at least some comics, and there’s a pretty big section in any book or hobby shop.

                  If it was the marketing, don’t you suppose that they might change it?

                  • Comment by leonaozaki:

                    Direct market is not the same as marketing. The direct market refers to the network of comic book stores that buy their comics from Diamond; this began in the early 70’s. Marvel and DC prefer this method of selling because anything the retailer buys is non-returnable, unlike the grocery stores and their spinner racks.

                    The DM has been both good and bad for the medium and the industry. It allowed for the rise of independent books like Elfquest and Cerebus that never would have sold in grocery stores, but it also allowed Marvel and DC to cater exclusively to the fanboys and less to the broader public, since in the DM, they are only selling to the retailer- those books are already bought. Now it’s the retailer’s job to sell them to his customers.

                    • Comment by Foxfier:

                      Nice attempt at shifting the goalposts– again.

                      Problem being that people who read this over are going to notice your continual failure to actually support your case or even just answer counter-points.

                      Not going to waste any more time on someone who is unwilling or unable to hold up his side of the discussion.

      • Comment by leonaozaki:

        Well, by your rule of thumb, Thor isn’t a major character, so this whole conversation is moot.

        I don’t understand the rule of thumb anyway: all the characters I listed either (a) have played major roles in Marvel comics, (b) starred in good to great comics, or (c) both. To me that is evidence of the ongoing creativity of Marvel.

        • Comment by Foxfier:

          Well, by your rule of thumb, Thor isn’t a major character, so this whole conversation is moot.

          Next you’ll be trying to claim that the Hulk isn’t well known, and Captain America is obscure. He’s major enough to be parodied on the assumption that people would “get it” on the same level as Captain America and the Hulk.

          You fanboying on something does not decide if it is major or not.

          • Comment by leonaozaki:

            Was Thor “major” in your definition of the term before the movies?

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              “Justice Friends” in “Dexter’s Lab” was from the 90s. You figure it out.

              Did you think they chose him for the movies out of a hat?

            • Comment by Foxfier:

              Good grief… I’m trying to explain to a supposed comic book fan that a long term, founding member of the Avengers, had his own series for ages, is a character that non-fans would recognize.

              I think that question speaks for itself.

              • Comment by leonaozaki:

                The key word here is “ages.” Thor’s been around since the 60’s; of course non-fans would recognize him (why this is a barometer of creativity, who knows).

                Wolverine became an X-man in 1975 and didn’t get his own book until 1988. It wasn’t until the 90’s that he became inescapable. The Punisher followed a similar though not identical arc. My point is: it takes years, sometimes decades for superhero characters to permeate the mainstream. So the characters Marvel introduced in the Noughties, such as the Runaways, may very well go on to become major.

                There’s a little bit of apples and oranges here.

  26. Ping from At Comic-Con, mainstream comics reach out to girl fans:

    […] who may never be regular superhero buyers. Science fiction author John C. Wright (Orphans of Chaos) blasted Marvel both for the new Thor and her mostly skin-free costume: “Is Marvel Comics out of its collective ever-lovin’ mind? Do they not care if they lose 80 […]

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Heh. Sometimes it makes me sad to be a newspaperman, because I can see each and every place the writer slants, warps, lies in the story or tilts the pinball machine to get the result he wants, when reporting the truth is not alluring enough.

      For example, here I, of all people, am being used as an example of an “upset” “subgroup of traditionalist male comics fans” — and he links to a comedy piece I wrote mocking She-Thor. Wow.

      I am no comic fan, not in the sense you mean. I am a retrocomic fan. I ONCE WAS a comic fan, and I am still a fan of animated or movie products based on 39 year old characters the current crew could not write a decent story about to save their lives.

      Dude, it will be cold on Mercury before I ever pick up a comic book again which is younger than 39 years old. I have not bothered reading a comic ever since Marvel went full-bore Bush Derangement Syndrome and shot Captain America with a freaking sniper.

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