Less Politics, More Superhero Stories for Marvel Comics in 2017

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 8:49 am, February 7, 2017

Marvel suffered a bad run these past few years as their comics became increasingly political, and its sales have been hurting because of it. Not every reader wants to see real-world politics injected into the world of superheroes.

From turning Captain America into a secret Nazi, churning out a variety of anti-Donald Trump comics, and turning popular characters into literal “social justice warriors,” readers have been turned off by Marvel’s output and have called for a return to less political storylines—or at least ones that don’t blatantly reference current events at the earliest opportunity.

The comics Marvel produces are largely at odds with Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter’s own politics, as he’s an avid supporter of Donald Trump. Progressives have been struggling whether to boycott the company, as doing so would hurt the writers and artists they support.

Marc Guggenheim, the writer of X-Men: Gold, spoke to Newsrama about the publisher’s plans and the direction of its upcoming comics. The writer said that the new books are “more about the X-Men as heroes than the X-men as a struggling minority fighting for their very existence.”

“The existential crisis is tabled for the time being,” said Guggenheim, referring to the social justice-related storylines in recent comics like Captain America: Sam Wilson, which sees a fictional conservative pundit calling for the deportation of one of the superheroes due to his Mexican heritage. The comic also sniped at campus leftism.

The plan, then, is to relaunch the X-Men as heroes rather than minorities in Trump’s America.

BleedingCool’s Rich Johnston, who spoke to connected sources who attended Marvel’s recent creative summit, says that the company plans to return their classic comics to the status quo. Readers can expect Thor, Iron Man and Hulk to move away from the heavy-handed politics that made them difficult for readers to care about. Fans, he says, can expect to see a more “familiar looking Marvel Universe” by the fall. New characters will get to stay, though.

Johnston added that while the plan is to depoliticize the Marvel universe, some very political comics like Secret Empire are far too deep for its creators to change direction. He said that the book will be a “bit of a last hurrah for this kind of storytelling from Marvel for a while.” Thank goodness for that.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.