The White Tide of Comic Book Heroes

The Marvel Universe is taking over theaters (Thor! Captain America! The Avengers!) at an excellent time, given our intertwining obsession with bad guys and Navy Seal teams and the end of the world and buff dudes like Chris Hemsworth and koyaanisqatsi in general. And then, what is going on at Marvel, where recently a number of their franchise comics have gone almost all-white? “It felt unconscious instead, part of a series of all-white sweeps across other cultural industries in the last two years—the very white Academy Awards, the very white Emmys, the very white National Book Awards, and so on. It was the superhero version of these things. As if the sight of Obama had triggered some protective instinct, atavistic and intense, and everyone was giving white people prizes. And now were bringing back Viking gods for good measure.”