Dhe recipe for success of the most successful superhero forge in the world can be broken down into a simple formula, oh what, a simple word, and this word is very simple: timing. This sense of telling the right stories in the right form at the right time has made Marvel the leading and most popular superhero franchise company for decades.
Whether it was a Captain America who opposed the still distant but rapidly expanding specters of fascism in the 1940s, whether it was the Hulk who personified the ambivalences of nuclear technology in himself and his contaminated body in the 1960s or whether it Finally, the invention of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was established, which established the popular serial narrative form in blockbuster quality on an overly long film format: Marvel was pure zeitgeist.
Towards the most hated video from YouTube
Now the company announces the relaunch of an old, new comic format in times of a global crisis, in times of collective insecurity, i.e. in times when most people in the world long for leadership and escapism, and actually, one should actually think that the most successful superhero smithy in the world would do everything right again.
The timing of the announcement that it could not be better, a new ranks of great heroes, when have we longed for it more than now, when an invisible enemy in the form of a virus is the world we are knew, in the form in which we knew them, so radically questions? Only: This time everything turned out very differently. The introduction of the new comic series was not only a source of scorn and ridicule, the introduction video of said comic series is currently in the best possible way to become one of the worst rated videos of all time on YouTube. What happened?
On March 17, 2020, Marvel uploaded a trailer on its official channel announcing the relaunch of the superhero series New Warriors. In the 1990s, the New Warriors were a moderately popular group of up-and-coming superheroes who live in a shared apartment and tried with their not yet fully trained superpowers to make the world a little bit better in a limited space, at some point with the Avengers, so to be allowed to play in the Champions League of superhero teams.
There have already been several warm-up attempts, in which the group formed again and again, most recently the strange Squirrel Girl, half woman, half squirrel, who was able to use the summoned squirrel friends and squirrel powers to meet the toughest opponents to defeat, but the coolness factor was just so well.
The young generation is carved out of a new superhero wood
Nevertheless, the adolescent superhero freak show couldn’t be denied a certain entertainment value, and so the New Warriors were able to build a small but loyal fan base. Meanwhile, the story goes, the old New Warriors have grown up and are helping a young generation, the new New Warriors, to earn their superhero sports. And exactly here lies the problem. Because the young generation of superheroes is carved out of what appears to be a completely new superhero wood that most superhero fans can no longer keep up with.
For example, there is the first new character: Trail Blazer. Trailblazer is a heavily obese girl who, for understandable reasons, was not drawn into the standardized body-hugging latex hero costume, but was only illustrated with the most unstylish street clothes around the weighty hips. In addition, Trailblazer got a mysterious super backpack slipped by some mysterious man, which gives the round girl the super mysterious super power to be able to pull things out of the super backpack that cannot be controlled more closely. Also in the team: the twin pair Safespace and Snowflake. Safespace is named after the inclusive environments that are establishing themselves in the university sector and that want to offer a non-discriminatory retreat for marginalized groups.
Anyone who visits a safe space does not just go to a place where they seek protection against discrimination, which would be perfectly fine, even sensible and desirable, no, whoever goes to a safe space is looking for a place where he also seeks protection from all other things that unsettle him, which in some way question him or his worldview and could trigger negative feelings. Social Justice Warrior or Snowflakes are people who would like to transform much larger rooms into a safe space: lecture halls. Universities. Media outlets. The Internet. America.
People who want to turn the world into a safe space are people who do not want to be bothered with other opinions because a different opinion could trigger a negative feeling in them, which means that the people who use the university, the internet or Want to turn America into a safe space, basically just want people in the universities, the Internet or in America to think exactly what they think.
At Marvel, Safespace and Snowflake are now superheroes. They are superheroes * x to be precise, because at least Snowflake sees itself as a non-binary person, which means that he / she / it does not want to be classified as male or female. Snowflake’s superpower is to materialize snowflake-shaped throwing stars, and when someone feels threatened, Safespace can ask for a protective shield. Also on the team: Screentime, whose brain can connect to the internet after his grandfather contaminated him with an experimental internet gas (?). And then there is another one who is just a boring Gothic vampire.
Daniel Kibblesmith, the author of the new New Warriors, is not only a comic book writer, he also writes for comedy formats such as the “Stephen Colbert Show”, and one might suspect that Kibblesmith was perhaps the best joke of his life. But sadly, the punch line of the gag is that the man is very serious about it. He justifies that too. In his childhood, says Kibblesmith, when he read superhero comics himself, he didn’t feel comfortable with the superheroes because the superheroes in the superhero comics were all too cool for him. So his goal was to make them more normal and tangible.
Now Kibblesmith obviously did not understand that a superhero is by definition a superhuman being or at least a human being with superhuman abilities and is not supposed to be normal and tangible, because if you want to read the stories of normal, irrelevant people, you take yourself maybe a book by Sasa Stanisic at hand, but not a superhero comic in which you want to learn something about superheroes who have to use their super skills to protect the world from super enemies. That’s the damned concept of superhero stories.
A parody of the zeitgeist on the left
All the excitement on the net is reminiscent of the “Ghostbusters” debacle in 2016, when fans waiting for a “Ghostbusters” continuation were only announced a “Ghostbusters” remake in which the four male Ghostbusters against four female Ghost hunters were exchanged, who were maximally unprofitable in the trailer presented and triggered a somewhat exaggerated cultural struggle online, which not least also flushed the alt-right into the cultural mainstream. At that time it was at least partially possible to argue correctly that the violent polemics against the new occupation were reactionary defense reflexes, this argument is no longer valid here.
Because actually the idea is good to put supposedly marginalized characters in a position of cultural strength, and in fact one can assume that the vast majority of consumers would even be pretty indifferent to the age, gender, skin color or sexual inclination of a protagonist or superhero (There was a gay wedding recently between two superheroes in the Marvel superhero universe, about which nobody was so upset), as long as the story works, as long as the characters make sense and not just embody a political ideological construct like a safespace literally does.
Marvel presents little more than a parody of the left-wing zeitgeist, which they themselves take far too seriously. With this real satire, the publisher is not doing anyone a favor – every nonbinary snowflake in the world would like to disappear into the magical super backpack of the overweight trail blazers when they are represented in this way. May Safespace protect Daniel Kibblesmith from the Shitstorm, which will probably accompany him for a very long time.