Superhero Hype says a new trailer for a Marvel documentary, Behind the Mask, has a fishy way of dealing with certain themes: it touts “diversity and identification”.
Anyone who subscribes to Disney+ probably already understands the timeless appeal of Marvel comics. But just in case there’s anyone left in the household who doesn’t, a new upcoming documentary probes the ways in which comics connect with readers. Marvel’s Behind the Mask doesn’t just explain the standard Stan Lee line about relating to costumed heroes who have problems. It also looks specifically at how certain characters empowered readers who were female, black, Asian, and more folks who didn’t typically see great representation of themselves in media.
So we get the likes of Larry Hama discussing how he worked to improve Asian depictions. Kelly Sue DeConnick touts the power of Captain Marvel. And Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC emphasizes the ways in which he used to feel his onstage persona was like a superhero. Then Jack Kirby’s son emphasizes his dad’s anti-bullying philosophy.
If deConnick’s rendition is what their emphasis builds on, and not Chris Claremont’s, that’s the giveaway political correctness prevails in this documentary. Something tells me the part about representation not being great in media is an exaggeration too. And would that son of Kirby be the one who condemned what he must’ve perceived as “right-wing” anarchists at Capitol Hill? One of the saddest things about today’s documentaries focused on Marvel history is that they’re bound to be laced with political correctness, and won’t take an objective view of why the publisher was brought down by the same. Another reason why there’s no point subscribing to Disney’s Plus channel.
And I suppose there’s no look at how the past books entertained readers, not just simply “empowering” them? Well then there’s another something wrong with this documentary. Because here, I thought the idea was to encourage and inspire, not simply “empower”. That sounds more like the sloppy talk of “female empowerment” that seems to have been connected with leftist feminism. But it’s no substitute for a coherent story avoiding heavy-handed politics.
Originally published here.