1879 Aracnerd.

Patreon
Comic Vote
Reddit
Wiki

I had a lot of fun coming up with fake super hero names that sound like off brand Marvel characters. It’s very hard work around what Marvel and DC already own, but it’s kind of fun to try and think of ways to make a character similar but legally distinct. Aracnerd is actually my favorite one. I actually looked it up to see if anyone has ever used it and for once there was only one version spelled differently. So this one is mine! Not for you! The robots making out line if a reference to the newest transformer comics. They are exploring the idea of romantic relationships which is new to that franchise for the most part. Cybertronians are genderless technically and their personalities aren’t locked in to their bodies. It’s kind of interesting, but I haven’t been buying the new books. I’ve just gleaned stuff from tumblr posts and what have you. Most of this stuff is stuff from social media that I’ve come in contact with rather than first hand knowledge. There are a lot of very polarized opinions about the evolution of comics and really “geek culture” in general. It’s worse than the stuff that happened with the Star Wars prequels, which is saying something. YouTube is awash in people raging against the evolution of culture. I’ve seen good arguments on both sides & I expect everyone will find common ground eventually. The loudest voices are rarely the true representation of most people. Anyway, since the comic shop is going to be a thing I kind of wanted to touch on it at least.

77 Comments

Rule 63?

My Social Media runs to Flickr, DeviantART, FA… I do have a LinkedIn account, but you sort of need to if you are working in the business world. I never had logins on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (does anyone even remember that one?) Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr or Reddit.

A friend from elementary school got married for the first time in his fifties. I didn’t get an invitation because I wasn’t on Facebook, therefore I must have been dead.

“Snapchat (does anyone remember that one?)”

Uh, only 734 million users do.

It’s alive and kicking, friend.

Well, the “Take this character and change them from white male” hasn’t worked quite as well as they hoped and they get vocal on blaming the fans for not buying it. :p

So it might be best to stay off social media just for that.

My take on it, I feel is the most common take on it. Don’t change the original, make a new one and get it to sell. Never easy, but oh well.

Yeah, and sometimes it ends up being worse than what they claimed to be against. Like “Thunderous Zeus” who is obviously Thor, of course. Why they didn’t just call her Sylph, which was her name, and call the comic “Legacy of Thor” for a while is baffling. Instead they define this hero exclusively by the man who preceeded her… who is still ALSO named Thor because that’s his name. It was like someone putting on Clark Kent’s glasses and claiming that made them the new Clark Kent. It was just silly.

Well, the weird bit there is that “Thor” is both the original character’s name, AND his ‘job description’: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy shall have the power of Thor”. So if you can pick it up, while you’re holding it, you’re Thor-the-position.

It’s kind of like a jewelry-maker named Gold Smith.

As for the broader issue of ‘legacy’ characters… the issue is that there’s only so large a market, and it was already glutted before they finally woke up to the fact that there was a surfeit of pallid phalluses in the comics. So they had a few choices:

1: Try to get a new character into the market who didn’t fit the old mold, and compete with their own existing titles for scarce reader dollars. It’s a New Coke situation, and it is nigh impossible.
2: Bring old titles to an end, bringing out totally new ones.
3: The Legacy Character route, where someone inherits the hero name, usually with some sort of formal passing-of-the-torch, but sometimes just with the new one taking up the title after the old one is written out.

Now, honestly? #2 would be the best route. But the grognards absolutely will not accept that we’ve pretty much told every goddamned story about the old guard, and that it’s long past time to shake things up. (It’s funny–in the Gold/Silver Ages of comics, they usually assumed that after 8-10 years, their audience had aged out of the title, and so they could re-use old plot-lines. If you’re a continuity buff, then, there’s a long period where it seems like Flash kept encountering super-intelligent gorillas. (And of course, since the characters never aged, it seemed like these repeated storylines happened within a year or two of each other, at most. Superdickery has a lot of commentary about this approach.)

So that leaves option 1, which is almost impossible, or Option 3. The only time Option 1 seems to work is when you actually manage to expand the market in some way–by coming out with a comic that appeals to women or people of color enough to keep them buying, even though the white guys ignore it because it’s not Aracnerd. (Birds of Prey managed this, as an example–there was a considerable influx of women into DC’s base because of the original series.)

So, they try Option 3, and hope for the best.

As a Spider-Man fan. I’ll use that an example.

They introduce Miles Morales. Why name him Spider-Man? Why not give him one of the many other Spider related superhero names that weren’t as successful?

The Scarlet Spider? No one would’ve batted an eye if Miles took over that name.

No. They wanted the name recognition, because they had no faith Miles could sell the book on his own under a different hero name.

The problem with the legacy route, is they didn’t do it after all this time. Probably wouldn’t be the same if they did.

Don’t know why having the hammer makes you Thor. It gives you the powers of Thor. Where does that ever give the name? Especially since that was just his given name.

Also, reinventing an old character gets them that sweet sweet mainstream media coverage that introducing a new character doesn’t.
“Spider-man’s a mexican now!” was front-page news(in an era when newspapers mattered). Spider-girl sure as hell wasn’t any kind of news.

(And basically everyone had an opinion about Morales except the comics fans. They were just “This is Ultimate Spiderman, not the real one. It doesn’t MATTER, why is everyone acting like this is a big deal?”)

Well, they had tried several times in other series to make characters that tried to replace the old ones. Like trying a tie-in to several mutants with similar powers to the core X-Men with different names and they bombed horribly. As a friend of my pointed out, Spiderman had a series of futuristic Spiderman where they tacked on 2099 that had a great plot and writers, but no one cared about him.

DC actually tried to make a few Flash spin offs with speed-force people in their own comics, but they didn’t do so well. So their individual comics basically ended to filter back into more well known comics.

The reality is (and I’m partly speaking from experience here) that well-known names get attention. So rebranding superheroes (or video game characters, in my case) with different individuals/looks works. New people who know the name who wanted to read or play a game with that character who couldn’t connect with the character until we made them younger or a different race or something then buy into the franchise. So a business like Marvel or DC will do this to follow a trend to make money and get new people. Older fans don’t always pay more and eventually they die, so you need new fans. Look at fanfic if you don’t believe me. Making an African American Iron Man is kind of a fanfic thing, and people love to read/make fanfics. So if Marvel thought they could gain more African American readers by making an African American Iron Man, they’ll do it.

Now in the case of a Miles as Spiderman, it’s already been explained this is the Spiderverse. Any Marvel fans know that there are at least 626 different realities, with 626 Earths and 626 Eternities, etc. Miles is an alternate reality Spiderman from Peter Parker Spiderman.

(Someone mentioned the Ultimates story. That was a total rebranding of the Avengers, involving the characters all having radically different personalities and backstories. And the fans LOVED it. House of M – fans loved it. Apocalypse – fans loved it. Alternate reality FF4 with a black Jonny Storm – fans loved it. So really, the changes are cosmetic and it wasn’t until some more radical fans got a social media platform they could use to blast people did we start having these swap problems)

DC started trying to change characters back in the 80s with the “Death of Superman”. They wanted a hip, more marketable Man of Steel than the classic model. It didn’t work. It works just as well now that the comics companies have caught the political correctness bug..

I’d agree that it’s unfair that all the iconic superheroes are white and the vast majority are male. But that was the time that was. Peter Parker is Spider-man, not Miles Morales. You won’t sell nearly as many comics trying to convince the fans differently.

Yeah, sadly that’s kind-of a thing:

Marvel + DC made non-white superheroes, in the 1960s + ’70s, but they didn’t really catch on.

I guess to get more non-white heroes, + more [women + girls] heroes…I don’t have a plan for this, but:

You’ll have to make some non-Caucasian heroes, + some non-male heroes, and sell them better than the comic books of Spiderman, Superman, Iron man, + those guys.

[ Come to think of it, I think- Santa, + [Ms.?] Tooth Fairy, started out as Caucasian people, in the USA. But there’s less stories about them, than about Spidey and those dudes, so you could make Santa + the Tooth Fairy into whatever ethnicity, + gender, that you want…I guess]. *shrugs*

There is also the not human angle that gets wasp washed once they become a thing in the states.

SMURFS were small blue golems – they did not need to eat or sleep – oh they also had zero gender. Now look at what they did to them.

TMNT was B+W gritty alternative martial arts comic.’
The turtles were not one dimensional surfer/skater dudebros.
Casey Jones was a vigilante with a knack for improvised weaponry and token white guy.
April O’Neil was a smart as a tack computer programmer who happened to be black.

April was originally a Black girl?
For my own tastes in art, I wish they had kept that part of the story.

I’ve said it before, it’s not that there is a lack of black super heroes, there isn’t. People just weren’t buying the comics.

It’s also not because, “Oh white boys control the market.” Those geeky white boys will buy all sorts of stuff if they like it.

“It’s a girl hero! So white boys don’t buy it!”

Well, they bought a shit load of Sailor Moon!

It’s because the hero didn’t catch on. Spawn was a black superhero and he was popular! I’d say the only reason the comic isn’t as popular as it was, is because of the writing.

The problem now is, they don’t want to take the time, effort and risk into a new book, especially right now, as it’s just riskier.

Also, artists and writers won’t stay with a book and lots of them just suck art wise compared to the 90’s. To my understanding, part of this is because the artist can make more money elsewhere. :/

I hotly debate that Spawn was popular because it was better written.

Spawn was very well drawn. The dawn of Image comics came about only because the artists who wanted to be writers who received no credit for contributing to comics in both Marvel and DC decided to defect and create their own brand. I know for a fact that they really pushed their comics on the fact that they were beautiful over the writing, which was not a bad idea, since they had passable opening stories for most of those comics that actually made the first 10 or so issues of said comics great.

Spawn was not just pretty, but gritty and dark and bloody. Todd McFarlane had been pushing for years to make a dark, gruesome comic that included direct connections to the Heaven and Hell war that the other comic publishers would not touch with a ten foot pole. Since the early 90s were part of what they term the “Iron Age” of comics, fans wanted more realism and were tired of immortal and moral heroes. Anti-heroes – such as Spawn – were very popular then, and some are still very popular.

After the main storyline of Spawn ended (like about 20 something issues), it almost died. McFarlane started doing the what-ifs and alternate timeline Spawns while they went through a really bad period of writers abandoning Image to go back to Marvel and DC, or going to Valiant. Image had a ton of comics that started great but then languished into obscurity until DC picked up half of them and the rest got new artists and writers. Spawn was lucky that Neil Gaiman wrote a storyline, as well as Frank Miller, and slowly it built up popularity again on the sole basis that Spawn had a lot of popular writers boost it up.

The one I miss the most is the Maxx. Sam Kieth did a great job with that one.

Miles Morales is Spiderman in a different reality. He’s not replacing Peter Parker, he IS the Spiderman in the alternate reality.

They even have a cool animated movie coming out that explains some of this.

He replaced Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe. That’s his origin. Peter died saving the day and Miles witnessed it and got bitten by his own spider.

They had to kill Peter, to get Miles as Spider-Man, instead of introducing Miles as some other lesser known Spider named hero.

As someone who bought Ultimate Spider-Man, I gave Miles a few issues and quit.

My favorite recent comic event is that Superman got vaporized and is dead for good. You know this time it’s for real because Superman arrived on the scene and confirmed it himself.

And then he later reconfirmed it in an interview with Clark Kent.

…And then DC Comics’ boss whispered into Superman’s tomb:
“Psst! Remember- you’re only dead for the next 3 months, while we sell your “last comic books”, then we’ll bring you back-to-life in the fall.” :p

I can’t tell if you’re making this up or not.
It’s like every time I tried to make mock DC’s historical fondness for “Aliens VS” and “Predator VS” comics. I’d make up the most outlandish and unbelievable crossover I could think of, and… it always turned out they actually did it.

But… but.

Homestuck is full of contemporary references. How could he get through that webcomic, if he didn’t get half the jokes and references?

Perhaps he didn’t read that particular wecomic? I know I haven’t. Infact untill I read this comment just now I had seen the name around but I never knew that it was the name of a webcomic.

In their line of “What If”-issues, Marvel once asked:
What if … “Wonder Man” … was a woman…?
What if … “Marvel Boy” … was a girl…?
… & each of these “Marvel Comics”-characters was portrayed in a female version.
(…at the bottom of the page, in a footnote, was a message telling the Marvel Editors to “Cease & Desist” this line of speculation, unless they want to be sued all the way back into the STONE-AGE!
… signed, your [D]istinguished [C]ompetitors.)

So Ed is basically me when it comes to social media? That’s good to know xD
I have FB cause that’s how my workplace chooses to inform the employees about stuff and that’s about it.. does youtube count as social media? Even if the only reason I have an account it so I can subscribe to people?

And the *other* Arachnerd would be from “Love and Capes”, an excellent romantic comedy superhero webcomic, but sadly came to an close over two years ago. Still worth a trip through the archives, though.

So what’s the exponent? Yes, pet peeve.

As to the comics, European comic culture is a little different. Fewer universe reboots for one. My knowledge of American comics is fairly limited and well outside of the big established universes. When I got to read through a nearly complete stack of Spawn comics I grew quite annoyed the thing never seemed to get closer to some sort of end. I think I’d’ve given up on the bigger franchises well before the first reboot for the same reason.

Well, that Thor gave back her powers to the original Thor -er, Thunderous Zeus- and is in cancer treatment so he’s still not current.

Did they undo the original Aracnerd’s deal with the devil yet? Still waiting for them to just slingshot the whole universe backwards to that point and go from there.

No, they haven’t… But the newest comic has Peter re-kindling his romance with MJ for serious.

Woah…I think I had an out of body experience reading panels 2 and 3 lol. I think I’ve said all of the things Ed said verbatim before.

The solution is for the people who don’t like the evolution of comics to make their own! But if only there was a way to easily share independent comics with the world… :P

There was a guy who did just that. He’d been a comic critic for a while, and the current crop of “pros” (if you can call them that) were smugly telling him “just go do one yourself if you think you’re good enough”. So he did. And they got all up in arms and started harassing the publisher to force them to drop the deal (which is illegal, but they did it anyway).

I don’t get the Mademoiselle Muridae joke

Neither did I until three minutes on Google suggested it’s a Squirrel Girl expy. :D

Really doesn’t fit since “Muridae” is the family of rats and mice… But I suppose in a metaphorical way it works. But Aracnerd is still the better reference ;)

I was thinking Bat Woman or Bat Girl at first, too. The fact that everything else is related to Marvel made me think otherwise.

Sciuridae Lass might have been too obvious, or someone might have taken it already.

There needs to be Sliders reference in there somewhere…. Does the gate still creak when you open it?

Yeah social media is the megaphone of life… Personally I just treat my accounts like scrap books and leave it at that.

For a geek the best way to have a facebookless social life is a two step process. One: find a place that has a weekly game night (pub,bookstore,gameshop). Go there regularly on game night to play games.

Piling on about social media; I’ve abandoned everything and am currently living in a cave with my head in the sand. I was a huge fan of the Batman franchise until DC retroed everything and totally ruined Cass.

And about this whole “evolution of culture” thing, I maintain that, if you want more minority / female superheroes, the thing to do is to create new ones, not hijack established ones to make them more “woke” or whatever. Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and Iron Man is Tony Stark. You can’t just dip your hand into continuity and suddenly declare them completely different people.

Normally I don’t care, even as a fan, because technically it’s a hobby and people who own any sort of thing legally can do whatever they want with it. Sometimes the rewrites are stupid, sometimes they produce gold. My feeling is that fans are never satisfied and always want what they think is their vision of “pure” character.

At one time, they did try to just change a character via like power reboots (such as Age of Apocalypse or House of M etc etc) which still meant Peter Parker is Spiderman and Steve Rogers is Captain America and Tony Stark is Iron Man. But even then, fans fucking cried like babies that “IRON MAN WOULD NEVER DO THAT, AND CAPTAIN AMERICA WOULD NEVER JUST DIE AND SPIDERMAN WOULD NEVER GET FAT.”

Or the whole Batman debacle that made people swear

My advice is – calm down, man. You don’t own these characters or worlds, you just read them. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Win via the market, not via scream fests on Twitter and threatening people’s lives. You got better things to do with your life.

“If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Win via the market, not via scream fests on Twitter and threatening people’s lives. You got better things to do with your life.”

Uhh, when did he do anything like that? I think you have gotten confused; the fans, indicated by market sales, are the ones who dislike the change. It’s those promoting the recent changes that are screaming on Twitter and calling people names; you know, people who obviously aren’t buying a lot of the comics they are rabidly defending. This isn’t quite the same as a cultural fad, like disco, it’s a deliberate socio-political movement trying to pressure everyone into changing. But what annoys me when I see the “win in the market” argument is that you are acting like publishers are psychic. If the next Ford Focus sells poorly, Ford won’t know how to redesign it to get more sales without looking to see what reviewers and Ford customers have to say about it. Media companies need their fans to express themselves so they can figure out how to interpret sales numbers; without context, they are just arbitrary digits.

I’ve seen the exact opposite. I’ve seen the fans going absolutely batshit crazy over the cosmetic changes of their beloved comics. One guy threatened a Marvel artist’s life not once but twice for Miles Morales (and the artist was not the writer, FFS).

It’s a a lot on both sides. I’ve seen fans threaten to kill people and blow up Marvel/DC/Dark Horse buildings over changes to comic canon.

(And if you say fans don’t do that, think about Star Wars. Think about the people who have literally run people off the net because they liked/defended the new Star Wars. That is why eventually fanbois (not all fans, but some) ruin the thing they love the most)

Also, things are cyclic, so in a few years, this shit will swing back the other way. I’m 45 – what you are experiencing today is very similar to what I experienced at least twice in my lifetime. It’s not the end of the world, disco will come back again, and the world will keep turning when your favorite person/thing dies. Take a deep breath, you’ll survive Batman being a woman for a year.

Dear GAWD NOT DISCO :O

Dude, we just had a re-emergence and people loved it.

Listen to Bruno Mars. Uptown Funk is a DISCO SONG. Some of Justin Timberlake’s new songs are DISCO themed.

It comes back around every 20 years.

Evolution is a huge stretch. Most people who are pissed off get slammed as racist or sexist, when in reality they are fans who don’t like seeing their favorite form of entertainment being used as a vehicle to push identity politics. The left has gotten really bad about this lately.

(And so there isn’t any confusion, I’m on the left and hate this. I’d also be pissed if the right was doing it.)

I think it would be better if the fans didn’t threaten to hurt people. That’s when the whole outrage thing gets my condemnation. Yeah, I get it – you are upset something changed, but threatening to blow shit up and kill people only enforces the image that you’re a single fat asshole living in your mom’s basement.

Just enforce change with your wallet.

Also, things are cyclic, so in a few years, this shit will swing back the other way. I’m 45 – what you are experiencing today is very similar to what I experienced at least twice in my lifetime. It’s not the end of the world, disco will come back again, and the world will keep turning when your favorite person/thing dies. Take a deep breath, you’ll survive Batman being a woman for a year.

I feel you Ed, can’t tell you how many people lose their heads when I say I don’t have social media, when they ask me how to find me I just go “I have a phone, call me”

For the record, *I* like Aracnerd and your other pseuds. It isn’t just white males that get the treatment – remember when Marvel took a certain purple-haired Englishwoman & turned her into an Asian ninja? Then had both characters running for a while?

“Let’s make Thor female!”

“Why not just do more with Sif?”

The answer is because the Thor name has more potential profit tied to it than Sif has to hers. It’s just more money for less work, and a bigger perceived cultural impact–not to mention it doesn’t come with bonus “patriarchy-smashing” virtue-signalling.

It’s a perfect storm of capitalism meeting ideology.

Except Marvel itself admitted sales have been disappointing, so either they are idiots, or they actually were acting on ideology IN PLACE of capitalism.

Or another choice can be- they are failing to make bigger sales, regardless of following ideals or capitalism. *shrugs*

The only reason Marvel’s sales have been disappointing is they only count physical copies of the current issues sold from comic shops. So, no online sales factor in, no trade paperbacks factor in, no back issues the shop had factor in, movie and TV revenue don’t factor in (there was a rant in Shortpacked that covered this particular point)… it’s not like they don’t have the data, they just choose to ignore it because it helps them with the “we tried diversity, it didn’t work” narrative.

Yeah, except listen to the Marvel “Pros” every time a critic or fan points out to them that the comics they are making sell so poorly they constantly brag about how well the digital is selling. But riddle me this if that was the case, why was there a leaked email from Disney to the head of Marvel comics threatening to shutter the whole division if they didn’t get their acts right and turn the market around?

So I saw Ed’s sweater, and I thought to myself, “Hey, it’s the Homestuck hoodie again.” Then I looked closer at Rulette’s t-shirt.

…That’s a ‘loss’ t-shirt…nice.

I LOLd at Ed’s confusion! I know that confusion, but these days I prefer to laugh from a safe distance. Webcomics forever!

Some interesting comments here, but I don’t have brain to fully assimilate them. :( I’m left idly wondering how close the psychology of all this is to the ancient Egyptians calling their king Pharaoh no matter his real name, and to cultures equal and more ancient changing just the heads of their statues of dieties. It’s not too long ago that royalty and divine (or demi-divine) beings were basically the famous people of the world, and I guess it’s been that way for most of civilization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.