For weeks, Marvel has been teasing at a new ‘big’ change for our favorite green, rage filled, anti-hero. After much speculation about who the new Hulk would be, Marvel finally announced that he is not just green but a little yellow too! That’s right, a 19 year old Korean will now be burdened with a case of the most extreme anger management issue ever. As expected, the internet response range from amazement, shock, celebration, delight, horror, and cynicism. While this is not the first time a mainstream hero has been race-bent, it certainly feels like it when you read comments from ABC30’s Facebook post:
“Completely unbelievable. Because we know how many comic books Asians, Muslims and women buy. Marvel is attempting their own social engineering. Muslims, women, and Asians are not the core market for comic books sales”.
“In season 2 we find out he is Gay. In season 3 we find out he is really American Indian. In season 4 his family is killed and it will be a new “Darker Take” on the Hulk. Uhggg. Bruce Banner rocks!”
“What’s going on marvel cap gets sniped Thor is a woman now a whole change with hulk pc stay away from comics this is ridiculous”
“Wow. Thanks for ruining comics! You guys suck!”
Before you hulk out and smash your computer into pieces, let me share my view on all this. First, is anything sacred anymore?! I mean first, you people had to have a half Latino/African-American Spiderman, female Thor, Black Cap, and a Muslim Ms Marvel- now you want one of them most powerful heroes in the universe too! Seems a little greedy to me. So what if Marvel has never had an Asian-American hero lead a comic title before. I mean when you stand back and look at the entire comic book universe, there was Ryan Choi, aka: The Atom of DC Comics! He was at least a C level hero right? Wasn’t sacrificing this microscopic hero enough to appease what is over half the population of the world?! Sure, with the Hulk, we may make one small step for diversity but we are making one giant leap towards the universe collapsing in on itself. Plus, they let Asian-American Gregory Pak and Frank Cho create the book! Isn’t that a little too much on the flat nose? To help open your squinted eyes, let me share from my personal story…
When I was a kid, I found myself growing up in a mono-ethnic culture. My parents immigrated from Korea about a year before I was born and found a new home in a very non-diverse suburb of Dallas, Texas. Growing up in a white community, it became very clear to me that I was different by the time I was elementary school. Being weird, strange, and a misfit was a normal part of my formative years. If I forgot this fact, my peers reminded me on a daily basis. Despite feeling alone and marginalized, my parents turned inward to their careers (as most immigrant parents do), leaving me to assuage my own pain. I turned to comic books and superhero films to find comfort and solace. I resonated with the themes found in many comic stories since many of them centered on alien immigration, trying to fit in, and discovering self-identity. However, while the stories mirrored my own experiences, the faces and culture did not- NO BIG DEAL! I didn’t need to culturally identify with someone of confidence, power, and strength. I was perfectly fine feeling like I didn’t belong or a person that looked like me couldn’t be the savior of their community. I have fond memories of my awkward pre-teen years as I desired to change my race to conform to traditional standards of male handsomeness. Besides, I consider my high school and college years well spent as I tried to avoid my own heritage and people group because it only made me feel deficient or guilty. Because I knew that it would only take a short 30 years for Amadeus Cho to arrive on the scene as the new Hulk. The best part, as I began my journey as an artist and content creator, my definition of a hero was forever etched in my mind as a strong white male- thus refueling a systemic culture machine that has and should continue chugging along for generations to come. So to all you haters out there- I stand with you! This commenter simply said it best:
“Why fix things that don’t need fixing…”
Next thing you know, women will be equally represented as superheroes in comics, TV and film- you know that will be the end of the superhero renaissance we are currently experiencing. I am also worried because I am starting to see ‘turbaned’ heroes cropping up in the corners of the comic-verse as well- don’t get me started. What I love about the superhero and comic book community is that it stands up for welcoming outsiders, about discovering new life, giving a voice to the voiceless, about advocating for the weak, and creating a justice for all. We need to protect that before it get’s compromised by a vocal minority. While films and TV $ tend the shape culture, the comic book industry is the tip of the spear- able to experiment and take risks. I’m fine with all that as long as it doesn’t mean actually changing things! If I see another mainstream hero jump the diversity shark, it will make me angry… and you won’t want to see a Korean make angry. I know many of you share my opinion on this matter so this is your chance to heap on the disapproval of this Marvel stunt in the comment section below.
Besides, Asians can’t even say their ‘L’ sound! Huk…Hurk…Huwk… oh, brother.