It was, all things considered, a very shrewd publicity stunt. Last month, Marvel Comics, the print shingle of the absurdly profitable superhero factory behind blockbuster film franchises The Avengers, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and X-Men, made waves when they announced that the Falcon, the longtime sidekick to Captain America, would be stepping into the shoes of the uber-patriotic superhero. This was news because Falcon, of course, is black. The move came one day after the comic book company introduced a female Thor.
“It’s about time,” Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort said of the change. “In 2014, this should be a thing that we shrug off, it shouldn’t be seen as revolutionary, but it still feels exciting.”
And the media, in turn, patted the company on the back for their “groundbreaking” progressivism. Marvel, it seems, no longer thought of diversity in Burgundyian terms—namely, as an old, wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era. But these are comics. They appeal to a small group of like-minded, liberal nerds who relate on a cellular level to the plight of the cultural outsider (see: the proprietor of The Android’s Dungeon on The Simpsons). Just ask the geek-God himself, Neil deGrasse Tyson. “Right now Comic-Con is going on in San Diego,” the science genius said recently on Real Time with Bill Maher. “Just go there and take a show of hands. How many vote Republican or Democrat? It will be overwhelmingly liberal Democrat.”