Movies & TV / Columns

The Cho vs. Rucka Wonder Woman Controversy

July 20, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Batman, Moon Knight, and more!

Now, on with the show!

 photo Riri-Williams-Iron-Man_zpskfwozqew.jpg

Last week we asked, “Will Audiences Embrace the New Iron Man?” Here’s what you all had to say:

WWF: “Marvel suffers paternalistic racism. Basically you have white creators feeling like these new diverse characters can’t stand on their own two feet without being anointed by established white superheroes archetypes. It’s the Blind Side Hollywood move motif where a minority character needs a white paternal figure to show them the way.

Bendis and these other Marvel creators with White guilt need to realize that no one is objecting to more minority characters being introduced to the Marvel universe. That’s a great thing! But taking a now mythological figure in our culture like iron man, spider-man, Thor, etc and inserting x mintory character in there isn’t just lazy…it’s insulting to said minority character.

How about create new heroes with new identities? Let’s have the next wave of super heroes like Marvel had in the 60’s with new backdrops and fresh new takes.

This Marvel NOW initiative represents the worst of PC guilt trip culture.”

Shawn S. Lealos: “I don’t think I have a problem with it. However, people (and Marvel) needs to understand that Iron Man is a superhero name and is basically the armor that a person wears. Tony Stark is a character and this Riri person is a character. Just because Riri becomes Iron Man does not mean that she becomes Tony Stark. If fans don’t like Riri, then don’t buy the issues where she is wearing the armor. However, I am interested to see where Tony Stark goes from here.

I have a connection with the character of Tony Stark. I do not yet have a connection with the Riri character and her wearing the armor does not mean the connection to Iron Man passes off to her. This is a new character who has to earn her spot in fan’s hearts and minds and just because she is Iron Man now does not give her anymore of a free pass than any other new character.

It has nothing to do with her gender or race – it has to do with whether I like her character or not. If not, there is always Tony Stark…”

Earl Chatterton: “I’m a big fan of Bendis and have no problem with this storyline. Besides, you know Tony Stark is still going to be around and will no doubt he’ll end up as Iron Man at some point. Looks like this Riri character will probably become the new War Machine later and Tony reclaims his armor.”

redraptor: “I like the idea of Marvel starting in on a “next generation” type of thing. DC had it going on for the longest time until they felt they should young up their characters. However, they need to start doing it in a way that doesn’t come off as a publicity stunt. It seems like the company is pulling off a years long troll campaign. Want classic Marvel? Go watch the movies! Like the movies? Here check out this comic with so much additional backstory Cap is either a bad guy or the Falcon, Thor is Jane Foster, and Iron Man is a teenage black girl! BTW you have to figure out which number one of which series starring the character you are interested in actually starts their story.

This isn’t my Marvel U. I count the Time of Death at the latest Secret Wars and it started at One More Day. Diversity and inclusiveness? Great make the MU look like the United Nations. It’s not the new characters that are the problem. Fiddling with established characters to the point where subsequent creators have to ignore or retcon large swaths of continuity just to write a story? There’s your problem. Not Riri or Kamala.”

Matthewdubs: “Oh my god. Comics just continue to be the worst, most insular, self -serving… Form of entertainment? Does anyone read comics anymore?

Can creators just have the gumption to create a new character and hope it sells on its own merits, or will wee continue to see our beloved heroes rewritten and made progressive, only to inevitably return to the status quo?

Comics just suck. Game over, man.

A black woman as a rip off iron man would never sell. So what do they do? Make iron man a black woman because it’s the “right”thing to do. Just write a brand new character.”

Joe: “Well at least Marvel isn’t killing Tony, but honestly I have no interest in this. I want to read about the characters I grew up enjoying not some shoe horned new character. I am all for diversity, but create new great characters and please stop screwing with classics. Most of these superheroes were created at a different time, but that is also part of their charm. They are fictional time capsules. Marvel and DC should both be trying to create new heroes that reflect this time with their own identities.”

Iwantwhatthedogseating: “So Marvel is trying to introduce more diversity, I get it & respect in in theory. Here is my issue. Marvel already has a group, rimes with smex-hen, whose primary modus operandi is just that, diversity & the challenges that come with it. Only, since the Disney takeover, they’ve been completely diminished. If they were smart, they could use all of the social issues of today & tell one hell of a modern story laced through all the X titles. But since Disney doesn’t have the film rights, this likely will never happen. So, to me, this is less about creative diversity & more about change for change sake at the behest of Disney due to findings among their many focus groups & “demographic experts”.”

James Jennings: “God Bless, this is click bait at it’s finest. Not just the article hook, but the subject as a whole, is a trick. Either your for it or your a racist, huh guys? Not just 411mania but Marvel and beyond.
To all the post so far that made solid opinions as to why you think this is a bad idea, your wasting your time. No matter How innocent your opinions and feelings are on this subject anything other then ” great idea” is considered by the people in charge as vile.
You can fight back though, by not spending your time or money on the folks telling you what you want and how you want it.”

IDLIKESOMEPOUNDCAKE: “I’m getting real sick of Marvel’s SJW pandering. Gay Ice Man, Female Thor, Black Iron man. But what does Marvel care? They can ruin the comics to pander to everyone but still have the Movies.

If they made brand new characters that would be fine. But they’re just ruining franchises now by shoe horning these people into existing names that reeks of lazy writing.”

Al Lobama: “My gut instinct was to just throw my hands up in the air and say “Okay…I’m out.” Upon further reflection, there are several different ways you can look at and react to this turn of events. To keep things from getting too monotonous, I will split these into different posts to save anyone’s delicate eyes from strain so they read what they want.

By the way, my other gut reaction upon seeing the above images was “How does she fit an Iron Man helmet over that gigantic ‘fro?!” ; )”

As always, thanks for the comments!

This week we tackle…

 photo Wonder-Woman_zpswjghpbry.jpg

Frank Cho v Greg Rucka: Wonder Woman Controversy!

Everyone is talking about Wonder Woman but it’s not for reasons DC may want. Greg Rucka has written a number of stories about the Amazonian and remains a fan favorite for his portrayal of her. When it was announced that Rucka was coming back to Wonder Woman, many were excited by the possibilities and saw this as Diana’s chance to return to prominence.

When it was also announced that the new Wonder Woman series was getting Frank Cho involved, that too was seen as a good thing. Yes, Cho’s art is more pin-up style when it comes to women he can still draw with the best of them.

Cho was going to draw 24 variant covers for DC on Rucka’s new Wonder Woman series but after only three covers, Cho left the series.

His reason? Let’s hear it from the man himself:

“All the problem lies with Greg Rucka.

EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.

Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)

I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.

To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers.”

Rucka has yet to make an official response.

Of course, when anything like this happens in the comic book industry, every chimes in with their opinion, including professionals.

Writer Gail Simone took to her Facebook to comment about the situation. “The story so far is one understandably upset artist who feels censored,” Simone wrote. “While the writer is a good friend of mine, and I don’t know the artist personally, this is an unfortunate situation. I’m a fan of this artist (I’m not using names because this is not a singular event). I don’t like to see talented artists put in this position. But beyond that, it all goes into a black well of details we don’t know.”

“What these self-appointed experts are unaware of is, this stuff happens ALL THE TIME,” Simone said. “Covers go past a LOT of eyes before approval. A-list writers are ROUTINELY asked for input on the covers. And a misstep between how a book is meant to be portrayed and the artist’s freedom is common. Beyond that, the writer has not spoken up, and DC WILL NOT speak up. They don’t talk about behind the scenes stuff and that’s good, in my opinion.”

How much input should a writer have on the cover artwork? Was Cho right in leaving? Weigh-in below!

 photo Wonder-Woman-2_zpsuabgxorz.jpg

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!