So, yet another superhero is getting a radical makeover. We’ve already had a female Thor (can’t wait to see Chris Hemsworth pull that off) and now we’re getting a black female Iron Man. Whilst I applaud the attempts to make superheroes more inclusive, Marvel is missing the point.
Why reinvent existing superheroes, known to be white men of a certain (or in Thor’s case, indeterminate) age as women or people of colour when you can create entirely new superheroes? It would avoid any fan backlash from people who refuse to believe that Captain America can be anyone other than Steve Rogers (white male of certain age) or Hulk has to be Bruce Banner (another white male of certain age). I doubt it would be much more expensive to work out, and I think it would be a worthwhile project.
Examples are already out there. Borinquena is a Puerto Rican superheroine who fights corruption, crime and the Zika virus in a new comic which, I think, is being distributed by Marvel but without all the publicity that it reserves for its big names. Black Panther is, of course, Marvel’s best known superhero of colour, and Black Widow is expected to get her own movie very soon. But that isn’t the point; the reinvention of existing superheroes as people of colour or different genders smacks of tokenism and I believe that Marvel are above that. Questions have long been asked about revamping the whole superhero industry – well, now here’s a chance that comic producers cannot afford to let go begging.