Social justice and a pursuit of the political have always been a part of mainstream comic book culture - especially in Marvel comics, where the late Stan Lee would regularly champion liberal ideology in his Soapbox columns.
In the last decade, that’s moved from an occasional storytelling mode - ’this month in a very special issue of Spider-Man’ - to a core function of their intellectual property, with an increased reliance on protagonists of colour, LGBTQ (if not quite yet -IA) heroes and, crucially, stories centred around women.
Marvel's willingness to diversify the product and allow for representation on a larger scale hadn’t translated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe until recently. However, the runaway success of last year's Black Panther and this month’s Captain Marvel have put paid to any lingering concerns over whether this is good business on Disney’s part.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has openly said that Captain Marvel and Black Panther are only the start: that the incoming ultra-secretive Phase 4 represents a new beginning for both the story of the MCU and for representation and diversity in front of and behind the camera. We already know that a Black Widow and a Shang-Chi movie are in development - but what other protagonists can Marvel adapt from their huge slate of characters that will carry on this vital progressive work?
Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at desincarne.com, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.