So Marvel announced that Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder and artist Natacha Bustos are working on a Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur book, re-vamping the old Devil Dinosaur title (co-starring Moon-Boy) created by Jack Kirby way back in 1978. Taking place in modern-day New York and starring a young genius girl befriending the giant Dinosaur while dealing with a world which doesn’t quite accept her. My mind was blown…what an awesome idea. I mean have you ever seen a cuter image:
I read any article I could find, trying to find out more and more about Lunella Lafayette, the titular co-star of the series as well as the creative team’s plans for her in the Marvel Universe. Then I made a grievous error… I read the comments that followed the articles. Big Mistake.
I totally expected the purists’ responses:
“How could they do this to such a classic character?” “When is Marvel gonna stop replacing characters with black or female versions?” “They don’t care about stories they’re just cashing in on the success of Jurassic Park” ( we’ll get back to you guys in a sec!).
What I didn’t expect was the spat of complaints from the other end of the spectrum. “Of course, she’s black so she has to have an afro?” as well as ” why do all geniuses need glasses? How un-original!”, and gems like “its racist to replace an ape-like character with an African American character” to my all time favorite (so far) – the guy who’s worried about the lack of realism due solely to the amount of food a T-Rex needs to eat on a daily basis and the hardships it would face in modern day NYC. No seriously. I read that.
But let’s address the purists first.
You’re right! Jack Kirby, the King of Comics, the guy who created most of the stuff Stan Lee slaps his name on, WOULD roll over in his grave when he saw this! He would be shocked and stunned it took 37 years for someone to come up with this idea. Never has comic fandom been more diverse in terms of age, race, and gender than it is now. Fellowwhatchareading contributor Juan Pineda saw it was perfect timing for a Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur all ages re-launch after the success of Big Hero Six (6 Marvel Characters That Could Be the Next Big Hero 6). Jack Kirby loved his fans, young and old and always wanted them to be entertained, regardless of their age, gender or social standing.
Kirby was all for change. He wanted nothing but for his characters to evolve and change, even after he wasn’t working on them. This was the guy who wanted to take Thor (one of Marvel’s top sellers at the time ) and all the Asgardians, both good and bad, and kill them off in an epic battle. Yes, kill off THOR and ALL his friends. The energy released from this battle would eventually coalesce into a world full of… NEW GODS.
Yes folks, those New Gods. Look it up.
So I really doubt he’d have a problem with cute little Lunella riding Devil down the streets of New York. He’d love it!
And enough with “this isn’t my insert-heroes-name hero”, and “stop replacing characters with black people and woman” whining. This means one of three things. One, your racist/sexist. Two, your old and crotchety now. And Three, not only are you not reading the comics, you’re not even reading the articles right. NO ONE HAS BEEN REPLACED! Steve Rogers? Still around, Thor Odinson? Still around. Carol Danvers? Still around. Guess who else is still around, freakin’ Moonboy!
Both writers have stated plans for Moonboy within the up coming title, as well as references to previous Moonboy stories, including appearances by the Killer Folk, the violent cave people responsible for Devil’s red skin and Moon Boy’s banishment from his Small-Folk tribe. Wow. Sounds like these writers don’t care at all about character history (sorry, not sure which font reflects sarcasm best!)
As for shoe horning in undeveloped characters for diversity’s sake, Amy Reeder has described her as a “female inspector gadget” but less bumbling and that “people don’t really get her…that her brain works a little differently than other kids her age” (Hhhmm sounds like something they would have said of a young Jack Kirby!). Marvel Editor, Dan Paniccia, describes her place in the Marvel Universe as a young genius girl who faces some big problems. “She’s got the Inhuman gene” but she’s “determined to control it”, he says. That sounds like a well thought out character, one who can easily be found in the New York City, which happens to be Ground Zero for the Terrigen Bomb that is changing people into Inhumans across the planet. Seriously, that’s like trying to shoe horn a flip flop pal.
As for cashing in on Jurrasic Park…y’mean how Marvel cashed in years ago on the Godzilla craze of the 70’s and had Kirby create Devil Dinosaur, to compete with the never-made Kamandi animated series from DC, let alone their own ongoing Godzilla series. It’s business now, it was business then.
But far worse than these folk was the other extreme, who really just seem to be looking for something to complain about. Really? It’s too “stereotypical” to portray a young black girl with an Afro?? You’re reaching there folks…should she be…whiter??? ( again… no sarcasm font available). Yes, she is a genius. And yes, she wears glasses. It’s an old trope, but a true one. Most geniuses have bad eyes from straining, reading books late at night in low lights after their non-genius parents told them to turn off the light and go to bed. And you know what happens to a genius character when you take away glasses? You get this:
This should never happen again.
And now to the next clueless racist part:
“It’s racist for Marvel to replace an Ape-like character with an African-American character “.
Well, we already covered the replacement thing, so let’s focus on the following three points.
1. If your brain associates black people with apes automatically….you are racist. Plus, Moon Boy was an overly hirsute male with Caucasian skin tones on his visible skin. So learn about your characters before you start setting your social media fires.
2. Moon Boy is not an Ape. He his an early ancestor of man. When captured by SHIELD his DNA resembled that of a homo habilis. He was CaveMAN. The title was Moonboy and Devil Dinosaur not Moon-Ape. On the cover of Devil Dinosaur #1 he is called the First HUMAN!
3. Moon Boy is a mutant. In fact his line of mutation led to the subspecies of fast healing, enhanced sensed, feral like mutants that Wolverine and Sabretooth belong to. Yep, Moon-Boy is Wolverine’s great-to umpteenth power granddaddy. So if anyone one should be upset, it’s Moon Boy – a homo superior losing his title book to a flatscan human (and yes nerds, that would be homo habilus superior, as apposed to homo sapiens superior).
So what if she has a latent Inhuman gene? Don’t enough titles have humans in them! What a surprise! Marvel following the Pro Human Agenda! Thanks Obamacare!
So just stop. Stop politicizing comics. Especially when it doesn’t need it. You can’t cry Diversity! And then say it’s only for Diversity’s sake.You can’t cry ‘same old same old’, and then whine when there’s change. And most of the “agendas” you see aren’t really there.
All I see here (and across most of the industry) is story driven, well written, lavishly drawn comics diversifying due to an influx of new demographics both within the creative and fandom population, like there has been since the dawn of comics, with the same missteps along the way. Here’s something both parties need to keep in mind: Change doesn’t happen overnight…..but it is inevitable!
This isn’t a “brown-washing” of an existing character, or a ratings grab gender swap/outing just to make some quick cash. What it looks like to me is a successful creative team, along side an up and coming artist created a well thought out character, teamed her up with an existing fan favorite character who happens to be a Dinosaur, and then dropped them off in the New York City of the modern Marvel universe.
You know what that sounds like???
A God-damned comic book!!!
You should try reading one! They’re fun!
Oh and the guy who was so worried about where a T-rex is going to find a sustainable supply of foodstuffs in a Metropolitan City:
Sooo you don’t have a problem with time traveling cave people, mutated dinosaurs, and latent superpowers hidden among humans due to genetic manipulation by an alien species that’s triggered by a crystallized mist released into the atmosphere after a battle between a cosmic powered Inhuman and mutant demi-god from a race of Eternals living on one of Saturn’s moons? It’s whether or not Devil is gonna get his three squares a day that kills the ” realism ” for you? Please stop reading comics. Or at least stop talking about them.
You don’t seem to quite get it….do ya?