Christian heroes in mainstream comics?
I’m going to start this out, so that it is said from the start, I have no problems with diversity in comics. Let me reiterate so it is not confusing, gay characters, black characters, Muslim characters, etc. and etc. I have no issues with mainstream comics (notably Marvel and DC) pushing these into the mainstream. Even rebranding female characters for a new audience I am ok with.
Are we clear? Do I have to repeat myself? I AM OK WITH IT ALL!
Now that we got that out of the way, here is my issue. First off, I think the ideas of taking establish characters and changing them for nothing more than the sake of diversity is both lazy and idiotic. Recently Michelle Rodriguez got blasted on line for telling the Latino community, HER community, which instead of changing characters to be Latino why not get off our butts and make ones. Those that work for these publishers push your creative ideas to them and create new ones that represent you. Don’t be lazy and just change the ethnicity of a character that has been established for decades. Break new ground!
So with the most recent upcoming change (Iceman becoming gay in All New X-Men #40), I feel that something has to be said. And I will once again reiterate, I have no issues with a gay character. In fact, one of my favorite books and heroines is Batwoman (of course I stopped reading after J.H. Williams left the book). The character is awesome and the stories J.H. Williams was telling with her were great. Of course, when the publisher wanted to get into the agenda pushing instead of story pushing, that’s when Williams decided to leave. So what is my issue with the Iceman announcement? He’s a character with many years of history that is now about to be retold. Are we supposed to believe that after 50 years that all of a sudden he’s gay? I love the new stories that Marvel is doing with bringing the original first class into the present and telling new stories with them. My question is, why does a change in sexual orientation have to be the new story? Why not bring in a new character? Why can’t we try to reestablish Northstar in the main X-Men books who is already gay and a great character as well? I love Brian Bendis writing and normally don’t question his choices (Miles Morales is one of his greatest creations), but this just seems lazy. Whether it’s on his part, or Marvel’s, or both, Iceman being changed is just a step in the wrong direction as far as creativity goes in my opinion.
And now for my question, in a push for more diversity, where is the Christian hero? As I mentioned above the need for Latino’s who work with these publishers to try to push for more Latinos, I make that call to the Christians as well. First and foremost, 90% of Christian comics are just bad. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Artwork and design is shameful and the stories are mediocre at best. You can tell me, “if you want Christian heroes go read Christian comics” but that can be said about anything by replacing “Christian” with whatever else is calling for more representation. Although there are many metaphors that we can draw from characters like Superman or Captain America, none of them actually deal with faith. There was a time where Nightcrawler filled that void, but ever since dying and coming back, even that has been lacking. So in the midst of all these diverse agendas, I make the call to the publishers and ask, Where is the Christian hero? Where is the character that doesn’t just struggle with truth and justice, but also with reconciling his faith? To the Christian writers and artists that work with these publishers I implore you to take a leap of faith and try to get a character like this into the mainstream. And no, I’m not talking about the constantly created “Westboro” type nuts, I’m talking about true Christians that don’t tell people they are an abomination and that God hates them, but that God loves them and wants to meet them right where they are.