As with any major change to a character, comic or series, it’s guaranteed people will have feelpinions, and they’ll want to share them with as many people as possible. With the new Captain Marvel series headed our way I have been gleefully looking forward to the letters page, where the more hardcore fans traditionally share their feelpinions, often in excruciating detail.
Carol Danvers, who as Ms. Marvel has been one of Marvel’s most popular female superheroes, has gone through a transformation to become the newest iteration of Captain Marvel. Once a scantily clad heroine with an abundance of natural assets and a lack of clothing, she has re-emerged in the first issue of Captain Marvel as a fully clothed crime fighter decked out like more of her male counterparts.
The letters page kicks off in the second issue of a new volume and I’d be a lying liar who lies if I said I wasn’t anticipating some juicy discussion about the first issue. I know I’d loved it, but obviously not everyone would. What I was hanging out for was a good hit of “it’s so good I’m fapping!” vs. “the writer and/or artist should be hung, drawn and quartered for this abomination!” And so on.
But instead of anything even remotely resembling opinions on the story or art of the previous issue, I found what has often become the standard in mind-crushingly dull letters in new books featuring female superheroes. Yes, I’m talking about the “dude having a teary because he’s not getting the kind of tits and ass he’s used to” letter. This should not to be confused with the “having a cry over homosexuals” letter or the “whinging about people snogging” letter, often with a side of “the children, won’t somebody think of the children!”
Which is ironic really, considering that when it comes to women running around in their knickers, fuck “the children”, we have jollies to get and by god, these jollies will be well and truly got.
The first letter (of two) lost me when the dude writing it claimed that he would not read this series because of Carol’s new uniform. Even the attempt at redemption by finishing with a call for more female superhero books falls flat when it comes after a whine about what Carol will be wearing as Captain Marvel. The fact that she is covered from neck to toe like a male superhero is enough for this guy to call it quits ahead of time—indeed, both letters were written before the first issue was even released. An issue which sold out and has been reprinted too, by the way. The second letter is a column and a half-wasting screed on why Marvel needs to take a good hard look at themselves because Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel is awful and this book is going to destroy everything she’s ever done because she’s not Ms. Marvel anymore and also her new uniform/hair/look/every single little thing about her now is just rubbish. Sob.
Well, holy hell, I did not realise that what Carol wears is the whole goddamn sum of her existence. I didn’t realise that her characterisation, her history and her adventures are so utterly irrelevant to (male) readers that a simple costume change has the ability to ruin her whole continuity. Who knew that a few scraps of fabric could hold such power!
Forgive me for thinking she is actually a genuinely awesome character, with her own goals and flaws, because no. Apparently? If she’s not running around in a shiny pair of latex togs and thigh-high heels then she’s just not worth it as a character.
On a scale of one to what the actual fuck, these guys—and anyone else sobbing disconsolately into their Weetbix over her uniform change—need to get the hell over themselves. I’m not going to apologise for being utterly stoked that Carol has not only gotten a well-deserved promotion from “Ms.” to “Captain” and the fact that she left the USAF a full bird Colonel, but the fact that she’s running around in a goddamn sensible uniform for once, instead of high heels and a seemingly BDSM-inspired outfit designed for male titillation (sooo many butt shots).
Give her a bit of fucking respect.
Look, I understand that Dexter Soy’s art style might not be your thing (judging you for that). I even understand if you don’t like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s story (also judging). And okay, sure, if you don’t like the outfit then yeah, you might have a little trouble looking at the art. But get over it and get the fuck over yourselves. I’ve spent more years than you whiny dudes ever will looking at female superheroes who have been reduced to the sum of their tits and asses. I’ve spent years wondering why male superheroes get to run around in outfits sensible for physical fighting, while any female superhero who has exactly the same skills and fights the exact same fights is expected to do it in her knickers.
If I have to put up with spine-breaking poses and Greg Land’s revolting porn-tracing to read about the characters I love, then surely, if you love Carol Danvers as much as you claim you do—and I am looking right at you, Mr. Eric “but all the money I’ve spent on Carol is wasted now!” Apfel—you can put up with a goddamn uniform change. And a rank change. And the general maturation of her character.
She’s still the “strong-willed, powerful and sexy” Carol Danvers you claim to love. And she’s doing what every good character should do: she’s evolving into something greater.
So, if you don’t like it? Don’t read it.
Captain Marvel will stand on her own two feet. And she doesn’t need to wear a pair of thigh-high heels to do it.