I have to admit that if it wasn’t for the organisation One Million Moms boycott I probably wouldn’t have picked up Astonishing X-Men #51. It’s not a title I normally read, but I wanted to help go against the boycott since I disagree with the organisation. Marvel claims that they are trying represent real life and gay marriage is becoming more common in recent years, but have they given a realistic representation or is it just a publicity stunt?
The comic starts with Northstar on his wedding day, but quickly leads into a flashback that continues the battle from the previous issue. At this point, in the flashback, Kyle has not even agreed to marry Northstar, Jean-Paul. This means that within one issue the two get engaged and married, which feels extremely rushed. Stereotypically, gay couples aren’t exactly known for moving at a slow pace, but still this seems too fast. Even characters in the comic comment on how fast JP and Kyle are moving, by not avoiding this issue a lot of the damage is fixed and it feels more real. After all Northstar is the faster man in the Marvel universe.
One of my favourite parts of the comic is when Warbird refuses to attend the wedding because she doesn’t ‘recognise the validity of the ceremony vows’. Even though they’re friends and she respects Northstar she won’t go to his wedding and that’s a really interesting scene. I’m glad that they put it in because it means that they’re acknowledging that the world is not filled with open and accepting people and even the ones closest to us may not always be that way either. Another interesting part was Havok and Puck sitting at the bar talking about the wedding and how Havok’s grandmother would feel about it. Having gone into this thinking that it would have been a cheery story full of non-judgemental people I was glad to see that some of the good guys were actually pretty close minded, which is strange considering a lot of them are mutants who would have been judged by other people their whole life.
A fun point made near the start had me expecting a huge disaster during the wedding, but what actually happens is much more interesting and may even convince me to pick up the next issue. It was interesting to see how they fit in so many how the wedding guests, giving a number of them a panel or two to shine. Even more intriguing was seeing which characters didn’t show up for the wedding. There was also a nod to the Avengers vs X-Men crossover event, which was funny and sort of adds a whole new nightmare to the ‘where do I seat people’ dilemma.
All things considered, the issue did a pretty good job at portraying a real relationship and the stigma that surrounds same sex marriage. The story would have suffered if they’d left out the bad and just focused on JP and Northstar getting hitched. The whole mutant thing has always worked as a metaphor for being in a minority group, which means that X-Men were tackling issues like oppression long before they had any gay characters. Northstar is essentially a double minority. The comic represented the issue well highlighting both the loving, sometimes cheesy, relationship and the negative viewpoints some people have. Plus, it was entertaining and how often do you get that with political commentary.
What do you think? Did you buy Astonishing X-Men #51? Do you think it was a good representation of a real life issue? Will you be picking up the next issue? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below. Also, if you liked this post, don’t forget to click the like button and please subscribe.
US conservative group One Million Moms have launched a campaign against DC and Marvel asking them to stop featuring gay characters in their comic books.
Gay characters have been included in comic books for years, but later this month, in Astonishing X-Men issue 51, Northstar will marry his long term partner Kyle. Though this won’t be the first time a same sex couple has gotten married in comic books, it will be the first time it’s happened in the Marvel universe. This, teamed with DC’s decision to make Green Lantern gay when he is reinvented in the New 52, has sparked controversy with the conservative group One Million Moms, who think that by showing children positive representations of gay people they will grow up to think that it is okay to be gay, which the group believes ‘is a sin’.
‘Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, ‘I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?’’ A common misconception with comics is that they are for kids. There are some aimed at children, but not all of them are and some are pretty dark and have sex scenes. Yet somehow the group has no problem exposing their children to this, providing it’s with members of the opposite sex. Every form of media show relationships between men and women, yet most little boys don’t say things like ‘I want a girlfriend or wife’ and that’s because they are little boys not little adults, they want the heroes superpowers not their lovers.
One Million Moms recently launched a similar campaign to stop Toys R Us stocking the issue of Archie Comics Life with Archie were Kevin Keller and his partner get marriage. However, their plan failed and attention brought on by the groups boycott may even have helped sales as the issue sold out. Hearing of their campaign against Marvel and DC, some comic book writers contacted the group on Twitter. Dan Slott, author of Spider-Man, sent them a message acknowledging the effects of their previous failure ‘Dear @1milmoms, thank you for the boycotts. They increase sales as people buy extra copies to spite you. PLEASE boycott my book too. ’. Kurt Busiek, another of Marvel’s writers, took it even further by questioning the group itself ‘One Million Moms: There aren’t a million of them and their board is mostly men. If they lie about who they are, they’ll lie about anything’.
In their statement, One Million Moms says that featuring gay characters in comics ‘is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children’s superheroes to desensitise and brainwash them into thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable’. It’s clear that the group, who are a Christian group, hold a strong religious view, which seems backwards in today’s society, which, as Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said in a statement to Newsarama, is what Marvel try to represent.
‘For over 70 years, Marvel’s comics have reflected the world outside your window and Astonishing X-Men #50 carries on that tradition. We’re proud to create stories that are not only relevant to the issues facing a modern audience but that also explore these nuanced subjects in a compelling manner. We’ve planned the release of this comic for over a year but the recent discussion of gay marriage, spurred by the comments of President Obama, makes the release of Astonishing X-Men #50 even more timely. The passionate discourse between our fans on both sides of this matter shows that we’ve struck a chord with our millions of fans around the world.’
Issue 51 of Astonishing X-Men will be release later this month, on the 20th of June. While it doesn’t seem like One Million Moms will convince Marvel to ‘change and cancel all plans of homosexual superhero characters’ like their letters demand, it will be interesting to see what effect they have on sales. Having gay characters in the media can be really positive for young gay people, so stamping them out would be a huge step backwards. Hopefully, this issue will sell out and One Million Moms will learn that their hate is only inspiring people to go against them.
What do you think? Are you going to pick up Astonishing X-Men issue 51? Do you enjoy seeing representatives of various minority groups, not just gay people, in comics? Would you prefer if comics avoided dealing with real issues? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe and, if you liked this post, click the like button.
If you’ve been within hearing range of me when the trailer for X-Men: First Class came on, then you’re probably sick of me complaining about it. However, I saw the movie and got in for free. No it wasn’t anything to do with my blog or journalism; it was because my friend works in the cinema. Having seen the movie, my opinion of it has completely changed.
Personally, I hate when movies can’t stay within the continuity of the series they’re in, but X-Men: First Class has proved to be an exception. It contradicts the previous instalments numerous times, even going as far as using the same character in a different time period; yes I’m talking about Emma Frost. I could write a whole post on the errors in the canon of the X-Men movie series, but if I’m honest, when I got into the film, they didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would. In fact, I think the movie was probably one of the best in the franchise.
The first two X-Men movies where directed by Bryan Singer, who left the third one to direct Superman Returns, which was his dream project. Without Singer the series took a nose dive. X-Men 3 was bad and dismissed a lot of the pre-established story, but it was X-Men Origins: Wolverine that completely turned me off the franchise. I insisted I would never see another X-Men move, at least not one in this canon, but who can turn down a free ticket and I’m glad I went.
The film follows Professor X and Magneto back when they were Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. The first scene is a near shot for shot remake of the opening scene in the first X-Men movie. It shows Erik first using his magnetic powers to bend a gate in a concentration camp. It was so similar that I actually did think it was the same scene. Meanwhile, Charles is living in a mansion and one night meets Mystique who becomes his best friend. Though this was an interesting storyline, it contradicts with the original movies where Professor X and Mystique appear to have no emotional investment in each other, good or bad.
It takes a while for Charles and Erik to meet, but even separated they stole the show. It was nice to see a different side to the characters. We get to see young fun Professor X, even hitting on random girls in bars. It was a nice touch and the relationship between the two has been one of the more engaging things about the movie series as a whole. Despite both being on different sides, they have a mutual love and respect for each other and it was really enjoyable to see where that began.
There are a bunch of other mutants in the movie and, unlike X-Men Origins: Wolverine, they all got a fair amount of screen time. One of the things that stood out for me was Beast’s transformation. To avoid giving too much away I’m just going to say that they used what happened in the comics. Also featured in the movie were Havok, Banshee, Riptide, Azazel and many more. It was surprising, and nice, to see that they found a place for each of the mutants to show off and use their powers, especially Banshee, who normally doesn’t get shown in such a cool light. If you’re a major comic fan then you might remember that Havok, aka Alex Summers, is the middle Summers brother. Though obviously the timeline won’t allow that in the movie, Singer did say that Havok and Cyclops are related just in a way that works for the film.
This film is the best thing to happen to the series since X-Men 2. It was refreshing, fun and interesting. Luckily, it has been announced that they want to turn First Class into a series, which means we don’t have to say goodbye to these characters just yet. If you’re going to see the movie and you are familiar with the previous films, there are some things that were thrown in for fans. One of the best is the suits, which were joked about in the first movie. Good luck spotting the rest, which include cameos from two cast members from the previous films. I recommend giving this film a chance, even if you are concerned about the canon.
What do you think? Are there too many mistakes? What power would you like to have? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below. Also don’t forget to subscribe.
Today I saw a list of the top 100 superheroes. I didn’t look at which one was number, because I actually want to go down the list and see them all. While I probably won’t know some of them, I’m still curious to see were my favourite heroes placed on the list. I then start thinking about making my own list. I remember how long my 100 things about me post took so I’m not going to do 100. Instead I’m going to stick with five, but I’m also going to include my top five villains. I’m already debating on the order so I’m just going to leave the order random.
Anyway, let’s start with the heroes.
Superman; I know it sounds boring, but I’ve always been a fan. The first comic I read was actually a Superman comic so I guess that has a lot to do with it. Some people say he’s too powerful, but I don’t see the problem with that I don’t want to back a weak superhero, besides Krytonite seems to be readily available in the DC universe, plus he’s affected by magic.
The Flash; I just really like the character. I have for years. I remember my friend even recorded the movie for me when we were kids. What’s cooler than being the faster man in the world? Nothing, that’s what.
Nightcrawler; It all started in 2003 when the second X-Men movie came out. He was one of the new characters and I just thought he was really cool. Ever since he’s just been one of my favourite superheroes. His powers and the flaws in his powers are just so well thought out. Then again, after seeing The Fly, the remake not the original, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to teleport (no one ends up with a fly head in that version, for people who have never seen it).
Batman; You’ve got to love a spoiled rich kid that uses his money to fight crime. Big fan of gadgets, pure and simple. I think Batman is one of those heroes that everyone knows about whether they want to or not. Who doesn’t know his back story?
Iron Man; I generally prefer my superheroes with superpowers, but, to avoid sounding prejudice to non-powered heroes, I’ve included another. Also, the 2008 Iron Man film was great and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the upcoming Avengers movie.
Now on to the villains
Dark Phoenix; I was actually going to put Phoenix in the hero section, but I realised I like her better as a villain. She wasn’t done justice in the third X-Men movie, but it wasn’t completely horrible. Her storyline is a pretty interesting part of the X-Men comic and animated series’.
Black Cat; Forget Batman, Black Cat is the real anti-hero of the comic world. Her philosophy is that she is the Black Cat and Felicia Hardy is just a character she plays.
Juggernaut; I just always remember him from the cartoon when I was a kid. He just stuck with me so he made the list. He too was not done justice in X-Men 3.
Venom; Definitely deserves to be on anyone’s list of favourite villains. It’s kind of like Dark Phoenix when I think about it. The idea that an external force can just sort of takeover, or at least influence you, is really interesting. Also, both he and Phoenix have infected more than one person.
Doomsday; Though I was let down my how Smallville ended Doomsday’s storyline, the character was done very well. However, the comic book version is very different, for one thing there is no Davis Bloome. I do think that adding the human side worked for the show, but either way the villain that killed Superman should be on everyone’s favourite super villains list.
Do you agree/disagree? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.
Is it impossible for people in the film industry to actually watch a film? It seems to be, as X-Men: First Class looks to add even more continuality errors into the overdrawn franchise.
The main continuality problem is age. Somehow Mystique and Emma Frost are the same age as Charles Xavier and Magneto, despite this clearly not being the case in other films in the saga. Emma Frost was young when she met the professor, who was old, in X-Men Origin: Wolverine, Mystique loses her powers in number three and becomes a regular human and she was a lot younger than Magneto.
The trailer shows clips from other films in the franchise, thus establishing continuality between it and the original trilogy. Not that it was a secret; this movie was always intended to be canon. If it weren’t for all the errors, I’d be praising this movie, but we’ve been burned before, let’s face it Origins turned into a rushed mess of mistakes and wasted some great characters in small parts.
X-Men: First Class, actually looks like it has some good moments, but that doesn’t mean it looks good. I really wish that they’d tried a little harder to keep canon status, come on it’s not that hard to sit down and watch four movies before you go out to make a fifth. It makes the whole movie seem like a money making scheme, there’s x-men in it so people will come and see it.
X-Men: First Class is set to hit cinemas on the 30th of May, in Ireland and the UK, and 3rd of June, in America. It’s supposed to be the first in a new trilogy, but X-Men: Origins had big plans too and we all know how that turned out.
Do you think this will be a hit or a miss? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.