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Is Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming?

About a year ago, there was this big rumour that the then-newly cast Zendaya was going to be Mary Jane Watson in the then-upcoming film Spider-Man: Homecoming.  As if by coincidence, nearly a year ago was the last time anyone wrote on this blog and we wrote about from where the racist outcries might be coming in a post about why and how Mary Jane Watson is a walking talking fetish.

The then-upcoming film Spider-Man: Homecoming is the now recently released film Spider-Man: Homecoming and now we finally know whether Zendaya was cast as Mary Jane Watson.


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on spider-man homecoming’s [potential] mary jane watson

or: the many amazing fantasies of spider-man

Before anything else is said, it is important for this essay to offer a clear preamble, so to avoid anything becoming misconstrued. So please:

  1. This essay is not aiming to apologise for, to condone, or to do anything other condemn the thick dribbling degenerate racism of the commentary against the rumours of Mary Jane Watson, a traditionally white character, being portrayed on-screen by a not-white actual person.
  2. This essay is going to suggest that there is a spectrum of vitriol involved, that while all this negative commentary may end in a racist position, it may not begin from a racist position.  It is hoped that this exploration  of the psychology of the ongoing engagement with the Spider-Man property will prove interesting and not destructive.
  3. This essay is not going to investigate what is and what is not racist.  That can prove reductive and, in the context of this conversation, damaging.  Indeed: beyond this preamble, the term will not be addressed further.
  4. To that point, the last mention of race will be here: Spider-Man operates traditionally as a white man’s fantasy.  There is a lot being done to open the property up to broader audiences – diversity in characters and audiences is ostensibly the major goal for this decade of comic books.  There is resistance to evolution, as there always, but ultimately this noise will fade into brooding silence until there’s nobody left to brood.
  5. Finally: this essay does not aim to make excuses for the outcry and outrage.  This essay aims to explore the narrative function of Mary Jane Watson, the interaction of her with the audience, and the ongoing truth that she is rarely seen as an actual character.  This is a discussion of power fantasies, fetishes, agency, and the ongoing combat between the evolution of comic book narratives and their fragmented audiences.

Now look at this picture:

strong female characters

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should superheroes kill?

or: a commentary on the philosophy of Piotr Rasputin

Given that Deadpool came out a fair little while ago now, I’m a little bit late to the party on this one.  soz lol.  But this piece was swimming around my head for a little while and I’ve been struggling to find the right framework for it.  Essentially the crux of this article is my inevitable conclusion that labelling Deadpool an anti-hero is a little bit shallow and the movie’s gratuitous and overbearing attempt at having Wade completely disown the hero moniker, while working really well for Wade as a character, comes across as a tone deaf conceit of the film as whole.

I wanted to frame that through discussion of Colossus.  Which makes sense, assuming you’ve seen the movie, because Colossus served three purposes throughout the whole film:

  1. Remind viewers that Deadpool is an X-Men character.
  2. Be strong and smack bad people.
  3. Attempt to reconfigure Wade’s moral compass through constant refrain: “Be an X-Men” “X-Men are good” “X-Men do not kill” “Wade you do not need to kill” et al.


So I was really going to get stuck into Piotr and totally break down his morals and philosophy and find that limit to it – because there has to be a limit.  That’s just superhero storytelling 101 really.  There’s a point where someone deserves to die; the point of difference is where these characters draw the line and when they choose to cross it.

handy tip: that previous sentence is essentially the point of this essay

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ant-man’s stingers and the oncoming storm of cynicism

I’ve left this post on hold for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks because this post is going to be talking about post-credit scenes of the recent Ant-Man film and, for reasons that are still beyond my comprehension, people till let spoilers ruin their experience of a film.  So, to protect them, I’ve waited.  But, sometimes that isn’t enough, so I’m also not going to spoil anything until after the break and also going to spend a lotsa lotsa words meandering and padding this post out so the initial little preview bit on Facebook or wherever doesn’t include the spoilers because I’m just that great of a guy.  Beyond all of that, I’m also going to post a picture that has really nothing to do with the spoilers.


ant-man thinks i’m great

And now for the thing.

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iceman comes out of the freezer

Yesterday, or this morning, or the day before or whatever it actually was because of timezones and because I’m late to this party, Iceman came out of the closet – or was dragged out of the closet kicking and screaming by a teenager with greater psychic powers than she has morality and ethics because nobody in an X-Men comic currently seems capable of actually educating anyone – in an issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ ALL-NEW X-Men that hasn’t even come out yet.

That last bit is really important.  Because it also means that nobody has actually read the book yet.  There’s a whole heap of conversation about the young Bobby Drake coming out as gay and it seems to be focussing on a number of things – notably it seems to be focussing on how great it is, or how terrible it is, or how disingenuous it is towards bisexuality.  The entirety of the conversation is framed around a few leaked pages in abstract to the rest of the issue and, for most people consuming and participating with the conversation, in abstract to the rest of the run and the whole X-Men comicbook universe of storytelling.  So it’s really hard to contribute to the conversation, or put much stock in the conversation, because the conversation is already totally moot and could very well be made irrelevant or redundant by the comic once it’s out totally.

So it’s important to mention that, while I’m very passionate about what part of the conversation I’m about to engage, I could be back here in a couple weeks totally back-peddling because the issue itself has rendered my abstract of the conversation sterile.  But, until then, I’m hoping I can contrive something with a potent offering to the discourse surrounding what should be a really important storytelling beat that I feel, very strongly, has been totally mishandled and misfired.   Continue Reading →


spider-gwen and what it means to have the right people in your corner

So there’s not much I want to say about this, because everything I could possibly have said has been said with a greater understanding and eloquence than I have the time to muster over here at comics alliance, but to make the small point I want to make, I’m pretty much required to provide a little bit of context.

So Frank Cho, a comicbook artist who sells books by drawing all women the same, posted this on his official website

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