The House of Dumb Ideas

People, I legit expected to start this blog back up and then spend weeks having absolutely nothing to write about but old graphic novels I dug out of storage, photos of Funko Pops, and all-caps reminders for everyone to wash their hands.

But nope, nope, turns out I get to write about an upcoming comic, and I have to tell you it sounds dumb as hell.

In this case, we’re talking about the just-announced “New Warriors” series, written by Daniel Kibblesmith and illustrated by Luciano Vecchio.

The concept doesn’t sound particularly bad. The members of the original New Warriors team, plus a few extra former teen heroes, band together to help train up a new generation of teenaged superheroes. You can find the same general formula in tons of X-Men comics, in Avengers Academy, in Teen Titans, and more.

The problem here is the new characters being introduced.

Trailblazer and B-Negative seem like the closest thing to halfway-decent characters and not-entirely-awful names. But Facetime is a crude caricature of an Extremely Online Memelord, just with higher-tech equipment.

And then there’s Snowflake and Safespace.

So they’re twins. Snowflake is nonbinary. They throw ice shurikens. Safespace is a jock. He creates protective shields. And those are actually, seriously the names they decided to give them.

I am absolutely no Comicsgater. Frankly, I want more non-white characters in comics. We need a heck of a lot more non-binary people, too, since there are almost none right now. But when you mix those names into the whole thing…

This isn’t representation. This is pandering. And it’s unusually clumsy pandering at that. People joke about how awkward the 1960s Teen Titans comics were, with Bob Haney trying — and failing hilariously — at creating hip teenager slang.

But this is worse, because it’s so cynical. These aren’t believable teenagers. They’re not Peter Parker or Miles Morales or Sam Alexander or Kamala Khan. These are caricatures, designed by conservatives to be derided by conservatives and bullies and trolls. These were characters created solely so Nazi fanboys on Twitter will have a new excuse to scream even more abuse and death threats at women and trans kids.

“Here’s what you want, woke teenagers,” sneers Marvel Comics, home of extreme Trump fanboy Ike Perlmutter, home of racist toerag C.B. “Akira Yoshida” Cebulski. “Here’s what you want so buy our shit, lololol, NPC loozers.”

I feel sorry for Kibblesmith and Vecchio, who have always seemed like clued-in creators. Either this is a truly epic screwup on their part, or it’s a mandate from editorial.

But either way, it’s a cruel and stupid mistake, and everyone involved should feel ashamed.

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