Originally posted on Consumerist:
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Originally posted on Consumerist:
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“As CinemaSins snarkily wisely noted in “Honest Trailers – X-Men Trilogy“:
In the world where people cheer the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Spider-Man, those same people will inexplicably hate the X-Men.
Why is that so? As far as I know, all these superheroes exist in the same exact comic universe, yet X-Men seem to always be significantly more disliked.”
While the most popular answer from the Stack article answers the question from the rarefied air of intellectualism, saying
“It’s the tyranny of evolution. Sooner or later, you have a species that will have a genetic or technological advantage and that species will always conquer a species without that advantage. Carthage, the triumph of the Homo sapiens over the Neanderthal showed us that. Now what do we have? We have Homo superior versus Homo sapiens. On a level playing field, Homo superior wins every time.
That is a quote by the character Wade in season 4 of Babylon 5, explaining why he believed all telepaths in that universe needed to be either murdered or enslaved for use by “normals” (homo sapiens). The same guidelines clearly apply in the Marvel Universe.”
I posted a link so you can read the entire article at your leisure.
However, I disagreed strongly with this answer.
It is unlikely my answer will gain any traction because his is a rather easy to understand perspective but I posted my own answer by trying to look at the problem differently.
Rather than approaching it from a purely intellectual perspective, I tried to see the problem from the perspective of a person living in the Marvel Universe rather than from the viewpoint of a person looking at the Marvel Universe from the outside.
There are factors which play into the fear of mutants more than most metahumans from the perspective from a person living in the Marvel Universe.
A person living in the Marvel Universe has a life very different from yours and mine. His world is an uncertain one.
As an individual without fantastic powers and a need to go to work, protect your family, pay your taxes, be a decent individual and maintain a role in society, the very fact that you may feel insignificant compared to the mutant superbeing carrying away the stadium you were hoping to watch tonight’s baseball game in undermines your self esteem, hell, your very sanity as you see the impossible being done before your very eyes.
Why do mutants have it worse than the rest of the metahuman community?
What is a normal man to do in a world where the uncertainty of his very existence depends on a very thin line of metahumans to protect him from the ever-growing menace of mutant power on an Earth in an ever-expanding hostile universe of threats? Aliens, gods, intelligent machines are terrifying but they are the Other.
Mutants? They are us. And they are everywhere.
I left the question alone for a few days while other writers on the site tackled the problem. My writing calendar was full and I was sure some of the site’s capable admins and moderators would find some worldly wisdom that I, even with all of my superhero history, did not have an instant answer for.
You know what they came up with? Nothing. Fan rumors. Suspicions. European Defense Initiative Bio-Mechanical Suit, from Earth 1610’s Ultimate Thor.
I was compelled to intervene. Here I was a Thor aficionado and I didn’t know the answer but I knew the European Defense Initiative Bio-Mechanical Suit wasn’t it.
Here is what I discovered. <cue fanfare> Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Bupkiss.
“There is little in the way of historical references in Marvel canon for the circles on Thor’s chest tunic. He has had this costume since his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83 (1952).
If you know anything about me, you know that wasn’t going to be enough. I did a cursory scan of the Journey into Mystery series and the early Thor comics with no results. Then I knew I would have to go meta.
What follows is my research and speculation about those circles. If you know something more concrete, please share it with me through the comments below.
With that said, we can look perhaps into history and see if we can determine what the artist Jack Kirby was hoping to show in this costume design. If we can assume this design was inspired by Thor being an ancient god of war, then perhaps it would be considered a stylized armor design. Since Thor is a superhuman being, he might have little use for armor in his day to day life, but might want to remind his enemies of his valor with a costume that resembled an armor he may have worn at one time. It was a good idea but nothing in my historical rummaging in Journey into Mystery or early issues of Thor, showed this.
Case in point: Here is a picture from Tales of Asgard, Journey into Mystery 101. In it young Thor is seen wearing his costume as we knew it from the classic Kirby era. Since he is wearing it into battle, it is safe to assume it must double as armor for the young godling. Everyone else is festooned in armor that looks like armor, though they resemble classic Earth Vikings wearing platemail instead of chainmail.
Tales of Asgard, Journey into Mystery 101
If his costume is indeed supposed to be armor, then perhaps what we should look for is an example of an armor with similar properties. Having a bit of history under my belt I remembered an armor accessory I thought might be a match. It was called the Lauersfort Phaelara.
A closeup of the Lauersfort Phalera, Burg Linn Museum Center, Krefeld, Germany
One of the first and earliest potential armor designs which bears more than a passing resemblance would be the 120 AD, Legionary Roman armor. The phalerae medallions, the large shiny metal disks share a similar placement (though not exact) on the Roman armor. The disk were usually covered with the faces of prominent leaders or mythical beasts denoting bravery or skill in battle. Legion armies also carried them on their banners as group awards for the regiment.
From the Augustan period, both infantrymen and cavalry men received the same award when an opponent was killed and his equipment seized: a series of nine phalerae which gravestone reliefs show were worn on leather straps on the upper torso. Once again, these decorations were intended for soldiers up to the rank of centurions. –Armed Batavarians: Use and Significance of Weaponry and Horse Gear, by Johan Nicolay; Amsterdam University Press.
Turkish, Antique char-aina, (chainmail with mirror plates), Russian Zertsalo (Ottoman inspired)
The phalerae medallions were not unique to the Romans. The Celts wore similar devices for religious reasons and similarities could be found in ancient Mongolian, Chinese, Russian, Ottoman and Japanese armors, often designated mirror armors for their shiny appearance.
Thor has had many different costume designs, many actually resembling armor rather than the cloth or leather of his early designs. These later designs were more inclined to use actual armor plates to depict the circles in his early costume designs, strengthening the appearance to phalerae medallions, even including ornate designs in some of them. I suspect this was a design issue that came about when later versions of Thor’s costume were reimagined by new artists.
I am willing to be one of those artists knew what phalerae were and decided to incorporate that design element into the armor. We don’t know that Kirby wasn’t influenced by phalerae but some of these on the newer armors are too similar to miss.
While we have no definitive proof the circles on Thor’s early costume were indeed a representation of phalerae medallions, it is at least historically possible the original design may have been inspired by early armors from the Roman, Ottoman and Persian armor designs which incorporated similar elements.
Note: While Vikings did wear armor into battle, it has not been shown to be an integral part of the armor designs to wear phaelara into battle. Most vikings wore leather furs, cuirboilli (boiled hardened leather) or chainmail tunics with shields into battle.
A fairly realistic depiction of Viking armor and weapons circa the 5th century AD.
Asgardians, warlike yet fashionable.
Captain America has been forcibly retired and sent to an old folks home in issue 21 of his most comic series. He will be succeeded by long time friend, former sidekick and present day Avenger, Sam Wilson, also known as the first African American superhero, The Falcon. Sam will bring his trademark wings to the role of Captain America.
In related news: Thor Odinson has been determined to be ‘unworthy’ to wield the mystic hammer Mjolnir, his constant companion and signature weapon for over a thousand years. He will be replaced by a mysterious woman who will be calling herself Thor, at least while she is using Mjolnir.
This is not news. This is hype. Hype is a specialized form of propaganda which is expected to turn into money at the box office, store front or on the sales floor. Hype does not last, most changes that take place have little to do with the history of the characters being hyped or changed and in the end, things tend to return to their status quo. In other words:
Neither of these MINORITY characters who have experienced this recent “promotion” in social status into the roles of long established legacy heroes.
Because it isn’t about social justice. It isn’t about opportunity. It isn’t about making things more balanced. It isn’t about promoting diversity in non-diverse ranks.
It’s about money. Plain and simple.
They want you (or someone who has not been frozen in the ice for 50 years) to obsess over the idea of Captain America being a Black man.
Anthony Mackie rocked the role of the Falcon in the Winter Soldier so the boys at Marvel Marketing and Development decide to take advantage of that and make Cap Black.
Sorta like they did with Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. For an entire generation of readers and the general movie going audience, Nick Fury is Samuel Jackson. Except he wasn’t.
Marvel’s money grab is endemic in the nature of their promotion. But it is a fail before it has even begun because, in the typical new Marvel fashion, they have shown nothing but contempt for the characters and their underlying concepts.
In the case of the new Thor, she is a woman taking a man’s name as her Title. Yes, she is becoming the new THOR. But isn’t that the son of Odin’s actual name? Thor Odinson?
She may be acquiring Mjolnir and all of the powers that go with it, but what happened to her name and since when did being THOR become a title, not a name? When Beta-Ray Bill became Beta-Ray Thor. But note, he kept HIS name.
Her adoption of the title of Thor, replacing her name is patriarchal without ever mentioning it. She will be less than the male white character in the role because for her to be more, there would have to be a woman somewhere in the development team to address those issues.
And we already know there won’t be. THAT isn’t the Marvel way.
And more importantly she would have to do things Thor Odinson would never do, in order to be recognized as equal. Her promotion was nothing more than a gimmick, something to bring in new readers. Note the level of promotion used.
For Christ’s sake she appeared on ‘The View’. How desperate is Marvel to appear more egalitarian especially in light of so many egregious articles discussing their lack of TRUE diversity? Who were they marketing the new Thor to? I can assure you very few men are watching the View unless someone has chained them to a chair…
Yawn. Big Deal.
Yes, Marvel can claim they have Black superheroes, (and I can name ten without breaking a sweat – Falcon, Black Panther, Cage, Spectrum, Storm, Blue Marvel, Battlestar, Goliath, the Prowler, and Bishop) but none of those heroes have the notoriety, fame, accolades or active titles of some of Marvel’s longest running white heroes.
And that is Marvel’s fault for not doing the work to create characters who could bring the imagination to life. To bring the concept of Blacks as equals to the mythology that is the superhero genre. We can imagine, aliens, Negative Universe, god-like men and men like gods, but we cannot imagine a Black Superhero with Powers that can shake the world. It is more than those comic creators want to be responsible for.
To make an equal Black superhero would imply there was an imbalance in the first place. Hence, the most famous of Black superheroes often have NO POWERS AT ALL.
Which brings us to the Falcon. If in the late seventies when Cap and the Falcon were nearing their combined title together, if you had suggested that the Falcon become Captain America, it would have been a significant idea. At that point, they had been champions of justice, trained together significantly (in fact, at that point, there had been no other hero who had trained to work with Captain America as much or as often.)
The two had developed a level of teamwork that was both seamless and amazingly efficient. The Falcon was his own superhero and had earned his wings (so to speak.)
At that point, very few people had ever been Cap and he had never stepped away from the role. But today, being Captain America has been little more than a slot on a resume of superheroes. Hawkeye, Battlestar, Super-Patriot, and Bucky have all been the good Captain since the Falcon and Cap teamed up in the past.
So why now? By now, Marvel knows what both you and I already know. The Falcon is the Falcon and a Black man and Captain America is Steve Rogers. The seeds of the replacement are set in that very statement.
Every time they put someone in that Cap’s uniform, THAT PERSON IS DOOMED TO FAIL AND BE REPLACED BY THE GENUINE ARTICLE. The American Dream as embodied by the character means only Steve Rogers will ever hold that role successfully by the inherent prejudice of the character’s design.
America wasn’t ready for a half-white president. The reality caused a social schism that proved racism was not only alive, but happy living in witness protection in the flyover states.
Fans will tolerate their myth-space being overturned for a moment, for the sake of diversion. But think about the nerd-rage over Heimdall becoming Black in the Thor movies. The apoplexy over Johnny Storm being adopted and the brother to Sue Richards in the new Fantastic Four movie.
The nerd answer is always: this is the true depiction of these characters and there is no reason to change them.
Except they were written in a time when racism and exclusion were the order of the day. Don’t be fooled. The day when a Black Character can represent America will come. But it isn’t today. It isn’t the Falcon dressed in Captain America’s uniform.
The day will come when a Black Hero can step up with their own name, without wearing the legacy of a white hero paving the way for them. When the respect of the efforts of Black Men and Women who paved the way for this nation to be the potentially great thing that it is acknowledged by presenting that character with dignity, flaws and the bravery we know Black Men and Women deserve for their time and treatment in the US.
That hero was the Falcon. One of the first non-legacy Black heroes.
If Marvel wanted to do something significant, they would give Sam some superpowers besides, to quote Hawkeye, when the archer was passed over due to color quotas in the Peter Gyrich Avengers, “besides flying and rapping with birds”.
Amen, Hawkeye. It’s about time.
As an added treat, from Avengers 181(back when comics were 35 cents: When the government decided the Avengers could no longer operate without its mandate, it appointed their first liaison, Peter Gyrich. I hated this man but by the time the Civil War came about, I remembered every word he said had come true. This is one of my favorite issues because we watch Hawkeye, a long-time Avenger get temporarily ousted from the team by Gyrich since the Avengers had to conform to governmental hiring statues, including it seemed, affirmative action. The Falcon wasn’t too pleased with this either. Sam Wilson is many things, but he was not digging the Token Negro thing one bit.
Jules Verne’s famous classic postulated the center of the Earth was filled with fantastic monsters at the fridges of the Victorian Age imagination. The scientific truth of it removed the more romantic nature of a lost world filled with dinosaurs, giant plants and super-volcanoes but the core of our planet revealed new wonders, barely even imagined a century later.
The inner core of our planet Earth is filled with mysteries still beyond our understanding and far beyond our physical access. The deepest we have managed to penetrate the Earth’s crust before our technology gave out on us is the The Kola Superdeep Borehole which is 40,230 feet or a mere 7.619 miles (12.26 kilometers) below the surface.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne – Courtesy of Project Gutenberg
The intrepid Professor Liedenbrock embarks upon the strangest expedition of the nineteenth century: a journey down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the Earth’s very core. In his quest to penetrate the planet’s primordial secrets, the geologist–together with his quaking nephew Axel and their devoted guide, Hans–discovers an astonishing subterranean menagerie of prehistoric proportions. Verne’s imaginative tale is at once the ultimate science fiction adventure and a reflection on the perfectibility of human understanding and the psychology of the questor.
Project Gutenberg’s A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.org.
You can partake of these stories here, while electron supplies last: https://storify.com/ebonstorm/30-cubed-speculative-fiction-for-the-…
30 stories in 30 days introducing 30 new characters has, as usually, been both grueling and gratifying. I also had four other writers who participated and I have watched their works improve every day. (You guys were great!)
For myself, I have completed 24 of the 30 days with a new or continuing tale of speculative fiction. As usual, I tried not to tackle low hanging fruit: no vampires, no werewolves, no zombies. To make it harder, I would not tell more than one tale of alien invasion (though I love them so). This month has netted me about 40,000 words, give or take.
I created or augmented four serials, one of which I will be entering into Jukepop this month as an ongoing story.
Air Conditioning (Parts 1-5) – I always write a tale of alien invasion. In this story, the aliens are completely oblivious to the existence of Humans on Earth, since they never touch down on the surface of the planet and don’t appear to notice Humanity at all. Humanity’s reaction to the creature, however, varies wildly.
A Mistress in Thunder – The Spear of Heaven (parts 1 and 2) – Started as part of a serial I was writing elsewhere, I found the character of Radi, the Mistress in Thunder, warrior, titan and all around bad-ass, too compelling to not start more than one thread at the same time. I have three different points in the character’s life and it has been a excellent story so far.
Apostate, Magus, Barbarian (3) – I also added to the first Radi, Mistress of Thunder serial stream with the beautiful, fierce and oh so Black princess and her two future companions, Uriel the Magus, less than evil sorcerer of the Shattered Realms and Kom the Ukla who has a penchant for mega-violence and a love of fried human fingers…
More Tales of Tech Support – I added to the already over-the-top adventures of a technical support agent for Farnsworth’s Monster Emporium and Death-Ray dealership, Todd. In this selection, Todd is winnowing down the candidates for the next hiring wave. Like everything Todd does, he maintains his aplomb under the most difficult circumstances.
Five of the stories were writers prompts from other publications or contests with strict limits on what I could produce. Limitations force me to be creative and to envision stories I might not otherwise try. Writing prompts can make you grow.
1. Come Forth the Rising Tide – required I take five random characters from a list on Chuck Wendig’s site and weave them into a short story. (I will probably make something much longer because I had so much fun with the characters.)
2. Yearning was a photo prompt from SciFiIdeas.com which has become one of their featured stories when I was done. It can be found on their site.
These three stories were written for a UK short story contest of 500 words and a sensory theme. I will be submitting them on Monday.
3. Betwixt: An avenger of a South American tribe takes the battle to his corporate enemies after being empowered by two opposing mystic forces.
4. Bismillah: An Middle Eastern son of a sheikh loses his vision and discovers his senses and mind growing more acute to compensate.
5. Damned Decent: A Good Samaritan meets an unusual stranded vehicle on the side of the road and offers to help.
6. Can You Make Room for the Impossible?: A biomech research officer, MX2 and Scoutship Pilot Alena Maximoff investigate a survey call from a planet with wildly conflicting data, unusual enough for a Scoutship to consider investigating. This story came from a writing prompt sent to me by a friend on StartYourNovel.com. I have written five other stories on his site, so we have become friends.
7. Adleiavde: A tale of a young man and his quantum-challenged feline, Addie who had a habit of appearing exactly as people wanted him to be… This was a writing prompt from my monthly writing group I participate with on LinkedIn Sci-Fi Readers, Writers, Collectors and Artists. I won the month of May with this short story and plan on submitting it to Daily Science Fiction for publication.
Keeping Engram in my mind for his next adventures, I planted four seeds.
1. A Drink and A Smile: A rendezvous with an old girlfriend in order to get information on a case, leads to gratuitous violence, poison and death. Not a strange outing considering Engram used to date a Dweller-in-the-Dark.
2. With Just a Spot of Darkness: Introducing Ink, reveals another primary group of metaphysical entities who believe it is their duty to protect the human race by rendering judgement on it. Ink works for them but disagrees with the process. She and Engram are sure to butt heads in the future.
3. The aforementioned Betwixt, where Paulo harasses the megacorporation which destroyed the rainforest where his tribe once dwelled peacefully. Now Paulo living between all concepts exacts his cruel revenge.
4. How the Other Half Lives: A tale of a family whose patriarch is unable to come home and meets his family for the first time on a trip to a very far away beach. Clifford Engram will meet this family in the future. They will not invite him to the beach…
Stories not related to anything else. They come, they go and blaze like meteors in a summer sky, brief but awesome.
1. The Moment of Truth: A knight on a long quest decides he has done enough for the world and wants to just go home free of predestined events. It is dark humor best suited for those who know a bit of roleplaying games and how gamemasters force players on adventures.
2. Sterlings: A hot-blooded scientist, after discovering a plant which can survive and transform water from saline to fresh, realizes he wants to try and woo his equally passionate wife back. His flower of choice is the sterling rose he created in his lab.
3. Sun Kings: A tale of aliens on a mission of mercy. They arrive near Earth to recharge within our sun and to inform us that an extinction-level-event is going to happen soon and there is nothing they can do to help us except…
4. Night Terrors and the Bears who Abet Them: A strange story of a legendary Teddy Bear and the Night Terror trained by him.
5. Humanity Redux: An alien intelligence watches Humanity as we go through a growth state without being aware of how far we’ve already come.
6. Uncovered: A writer has died and learned he was not quite good enough to get into Heaven. His only hope is for his work to be discovered in the future and inspire enough people to have his sentence changed. But almost all copies of his work have been destroyed after World War II…
Send stories to anyone and everyone who is interested. Retool my websites to account for these new stories and my latest work on Medium.com. I have written thirty stories there since the beginning of the year in addition to these.
Most importantly get my work out there. My social media work has paid off and continues to grow my readership. My blog/websites are slowly coming along and I hope the retool will increase my readers further. I will be extending several of my other serials as well, focuses on finishing them and putting them into print.
We are at the midpoint of the year and I had planned to sell 18 stories this year. I am up to number 10 and have eight more to go. It has been slow going but I am not about to give up now. We are going to INCREASE SPEED, not slow down.
LET’S KEEP WRITING. If you need a writing partner, look me up.
I have a writer’s group on Facebook: ‘Dammit, I’m a Sci-Fi Writer, Not a Doctor': and we are always looking for new voices of genre and speculative fiction to share ideas, blogs, and stories: https://www.facebook.com/groups/471829406194599/