Marvel’s Political Collection Overlooks Many Current-Year Issues

Since its inception, the Marvel Universe has been known for creating stories that reflect the “world outside your window”—a euphemism for touching on political and cultural issues they feel tick the important boxes of “tolerance”, “inclusivity”, and “political correctness”.  In a new collected volume, Marvel has assembled what their editorial staff considers their most powerful tales from Marvel’s 80-year history that reflect these sensibilities. 

The volume collects stories that run the gamut from 1963’s Amazing Spider-Man to 2016’s Champions. Each story in Marvel’s World Outside Your Window contains Marvel characters tackling several political and real-life issues including addiction, terrorism, HIV, school shootings, and more, alongside their extraordinary and high-flying adventures, but did they cover what could arguably be the most important and relative? Look below for the full list of stories included in this collection, and then check it against our list of suggestions below the Power Pack PSA.

 

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #97 – The comic without the CCA’s seal of approval that tells the story of Harry Osborne is popping pills. 
  • HOWARD THE DUCK (1976) #8 – Provocative pictures are released of Howard during his presidential campaign.
  • IRON MAN (1968) #128 – The famous arc of Tony Stark hitting bottom while suffering from alcohol addiction.
  • NEW MUTANTS (1983) #45 – a mutant at the local high school commits suicide after being bullied.
  • ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #106 – this issue marks Northstar’s coming out, making him the first gay superhero ever featured in a Marvel comic.
  • UNCANNY X-MEN (1981) #303 – Jubilee deals with Illyana’s death and funeral, while Colossus coldly joins Magneto.
  • INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #420 – The Hulk refuses to give an AIDs patient a blood transfusion after he was attacked at an AIDs rally.
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #36 – Spider-Man at Ground Zero shortly after the North Tower of the World Trade Center has collapsed on 9/11.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA (2002) #1 – Captain America helps in the cleaning up the rubble of the World Trade Center towers after 9/11.
  • ASTONISHING X-MEN (2004) #51 – The gay wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu.
  • MS. MARVEL (2015) #13 – Ms. Marvel uses her superpowers to help a “Hillary Clinton” stand-in beat a “Donald Trump” substitute in a mayoral election.
  • CHAMPIONS (2016) #24 – The team deals with the aftermath of a school shooting.
  • Material from CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS (1941) #2 – Cap fights Hitler.
  • Material from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #583 – Spidey and President Obama on the cover in a comic that contained a mere five-page Barack Obama story as a back-up.

 

Earlier this week at the website that spawned us, Jude Terrorist  posted a lazy article that attempted to poke fun at anyone who doesn’t care for “politics in their comics,” and by “anyone,” I mean mostly conservative-leaning readers. He failed miserably in that he sadly overlooked many perfectly suitable tales that were notably missing in this collection. Stories that deal with controversial and relative cultural issues, along with several important and poignant real-life issues. We took it upon ourselves to select just a few of those overlooked gems that we think Marvel should have considered in this collection and they are listed below:

 

  • IRON MAN (1968) #27 – A former radical activist saboteur turns to violence after believing peaceful protests produce no results and he becomes the villain Firebrand.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #275 – Captain America begrudgingly defends the free speech of neo-Nazis, protecting them from projectiles being thrown at them by a group of Jews.  
  • SPIDER-MAN AND POWER PACK (1984)# 1 – The comic in which it is revealed that Peter Parker was molested by Steven “Skip” Westcott. Read it for free here.
  • SPIDER-MAN, STORM AND POWER MAN (1982)# 1 – In this title, Spider-Man joins Luke Cage in spying on a promising student-athlete who’s suddenly taken up cancer sticks.
  • ADVENTURES IN READING STARRING THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1991)# 1 – Spidey is a bit of a dick to an illiterate fellow using a weird device to travel into literary classics.
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RIOT AT ROBOTWORLD! (1991) #1 – Spider-Man and Ultron teach black and Latino youth that engineering can be a viable career path.
  • DAREDEVIL (1974) #227 – Karen Page becomes addicted to heroin and starts making porno movies. In need of a fix, she sells Daredevil’s secret identity to a drug dealer.
  • SPIDER-MAN BATTLES THE MYTH MONSTER (1991) #1 – A monster torments a local high school with falsehoods about epilepsy, diabetes, and asthma.
  • THE RAMPAGING HULK (1977) #23 – This comic tells the frightening tale of an incident where Bruce Banner (“The Incredible Hulk”) was almost raped by two gay men at the YMCA
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VS THE PRODIGY (1976) #1 – An alien attempts to convince teens to have unprotected sex and denounces info about risks related to teen pregnancy and VD.

That last selection in our list contained this very helpful bullet point list to help kids navigate their sexuality. While it might be considered a bit “problematic” today, at least it was made in conjunction with Planned Parenthood!

And although it is no longer considered canon, depending on which editor you ask, the story of Peter being molested as a boy is probably one of the most relevant stories of our time, considering Hollywood has an open secret they don’t want to share.

 

Maybe Marvel no longer considers child molestation, rape, heroin addiction, smoking, diabetes, literacy, teen pregnancy, pornography, or career advice for blacks and Latinos to be important, real-life issues, or at least not as important as a former President teaming up with Spider-Man. We disagree. In the meantime, there is currently no release date set for this collection, but online sellers such as Amazon have it coming out in July 2019. Hopefully we’ve convinced them to release a second volume next winter.

 

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'