Late Marvel Comics legend Stan “The Man” Lee was apparently against changing the races, genders or sexual identities of pre-existing comic book characters, according to an interview from 2015.
This is in stark contract to the modern trend of doing exactly that at both Marvel Comics and competitor DC Comics.
In fact, much of modern comic book marketing seems to be about shaking up the status quo by replacing longstanding comic book heroes with a more ‘diverse’ stand-in, or changing up the sexual orientation of characters whose histories haven’t shown any indicators of being LGBTQ.
In movie adaptations, it’s become quite common to see characters race-bent or gender-bent.
While often applauded by the media, such changes tend to irk longtime comics readers and retailers. In 2017, Marvel Comics was reeling from a few years of swapping out nearly all of its major characters for ‘stand ins,’ and the avalanche of backlash lead to the ousting of then-editor Axel Alonso.
In 2015, Stan Lee told defunct comic book news site Newsarama…
“I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” he said. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.”
“I think the world has a place for gay superheroes, certainly,” he said. “But again, I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established. I have no problem with creating new, homosexual superheroes.”
“It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that,” he said. “Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.”
Obviously, Lee isn’t saying there shouldn’t be minority and LGBTQ comic book characters. He was simply stating that he didn’t believe existing characters should be altered.
In 2017, one of the last recordings of Stan Lee was used against comic fans who took issue with many changes to existing characters. Lee spoke of the “world outside your window” and stressed that Marvel Comics have always been inclusive.
It’s doubtful that Lee changed his mind from 2015 to 2017, and that he was referring to Marvel being a welcoming place for all readers and that new characters from every background were always welcome to join the Marvel Universe.
— (coms open)スタジオスーパー (@Studio_Supes) May 10, 2022
[Hat Tip: Twitter]
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