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Does Marvel Comics Hate Hippies?

Illustration for article titled Does Marvel Comics Hate Hippies?

They may be the home of outcast heroes and freaky mutants, but does Marvel Comics actually hate hippies? That's the charge currently being laid against the publisher, and it's real enough to get a response.

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The theory was initially put forward by comic critic Abhay Khosla, who pointed out a particularly unexpected scene in the sixth issue of the publisher's high profile Secret Invasion series:

Finally! Finally, we get page after page attacking the true enemy: LIBERAL PROTESTERS.

Where the fuck did that shit come from??

Page after page, not of the first or second or even third issue, page after page of the SIXTH ISSUE— it wasn’t spent escalating the stakes of the comic, it wasn't spent dealing with characters we care about, it wasn't spent paying off earlier scenes. The fucking SIXTH ISSUE was spent introducing an entirely new cast of straw-men liberal characters, and then attacking them for being naive about the nature of evil.

First, let me just say, on a political level, this comic can go fuck itself. You know— one pretty easy way a person could read this comic if they were so inclined is that it equates protesting wars with supporting terrorism. I don't think the people who made the comic think that. I don't think they were thinking at all. I don't think they made a big priority of thinking.

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The point was recently picked up by the blog at comics news site Newsarama.com, where other examples of the publisher's supposed anti-hippie agenda were displayed:

[In 2006's Civil War, i]t was the bottle-throwing, “baby-killer”-shouting demonstrators that attacked Johnny Storm and put the momentum of Marvel America behind Superhero Registration Act, and it was a Cindy Sheehan-like grieving mother who acted as Tony Stark’s conscience, as he embraced his emerging fascism (The trappings of these characters are those of the anti-war left, from the Vietnam war and the Iraq War, but, oddly, they were pushing rightward rather than to the left)... Those damn hippies were again causing problems for the Marvel heroes in Avengers: The Initiative #19, a story entitled “V-S Day,” dealing with the end of the Skrull threat. A Washington mob was swarming Jocasta and a partially surviving member of the Skrull Kill Krew, stopping them from taking down the Skrulls in their midst.

Peace signs, beads, braids, beards, John Lennon glasses, “Make Love Not War”…there’s nothing subtle about the depiction of the Embrace Changers in the scene.

A fairly flimsy case? Not for some fans, who were perfectly convinced by the argument, and ready to be offended:

This is pretty much all about [Marvel Editor in Chief] Joe Quesada.

He’s done his best to turn the Marvel universe into an unreadable, unrecognizable reality. He erases years of continuity for characters he doesn’t like. Hell, he wiped out most mutants because he always hated the X-Men. He killed Captain America because he didn’t like the way he represented America. Hell, he banned all characters from smoking due to a personal issue.

Odd that a right wing-nut like him has taken it upon himself to centrally plan every character in his universe, and plan them extremely badly. Well, given the right’s tendency towards authoritarianism, it isn’t that odd.

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Quesada was so moved by fans believing that Marvel was, in fact, pursuing some anti-hippie agenda that he felt moved to respond - twice, on Twitter:

This article misses the point, I hate everybody.

I love when people try to read more into our stuff than is actually there. We sit around and go, "Wow, we had no idea that's what we meant?"

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A likely story, Joe. After all, if you really meant it, then why only deny it on Twitter... where only 140-character-fetish hippies will see it?

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DISCUSSION

Gothamite88
Gothamite88

Steve Ditko actively hated hippies when he worked at Marvel so its not like there isn't a tradition of it at the House of Ideas.