Comic book pundits are curious creatures. They often make outrageous statements based on nothing more than pure emotion, narrow-minded world views or drivel designed to be nothing more than click-bait. Sometimes, we get lucky and get all three in the same article. In the latest installment of comic book pundits saying wacky things we turn our attention to Comic Book Resources whose motto is “Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You!” Barbara Holm penned an article entitled “Face it True Believer X-23 Is The New Wolverine.” Barbara is all jacked up on Monster Energy drinks and defensive rage and is ready to lay down the law!
Barbara begins with tale of conspiracy theories and evil men with an innocent enough story about a date that she just had recently. On this first date, Barbara and her date find common ground in the world of comic books. More specifically, Wolverine. But, there, my friends is where the tragedy begins. The date spins horribly out of control when Barbara’s date answers that Wolverine is his favorite character.
“So… in your profile picture you were wearing an X-Men shirt,” he says with a warm smile. “I love X-Men!” My first date nerves are instantly assuaged by a topic I feel like I discuss confidently. “Me too! Who’s your favorite X-Men character?”
“Wolverine, obviously.” “Oh cool!,” I gush. “Yeah, Laura Kinney is so complex and layered –” “What? Huh? Who?” “Laura! Wolverine…” I trail off. “You meant Logan, right?” “Of course.” He grunts defensively. “Who is Laura?”
“X-23. She’s the new Wolverine.”
Who knows if this date scene is actually true or not. But, wacky comic book pundits know that nothing gets their point across better than anecdotal evidence. You cannot prove that a pundit’s anecdotal evidence is wrong! And notice that Barbara has poor date “grunting.” Of course the man can’t just talk! He’s clearly a chauvinistic pig. Pigs grunt!
Let’s see what Barbara is really angry about. The fact that Logan is far more popular and well-known. And of course Logan is. Logan has been around since 1974. Logan has arguably been Marvel’s most popular character since the 1980’s. Logan has starred in roughly a billion comic books. I’m just spitballing that number. It may be more. Logan has also starred in 9 major Hollywood movies. Logan has also appeared in 4 television cartoons. X-23? She has been around since 2004. X-23 certainly has not starred in as many comic books as Logan. Nor does X-23 have the insane list of movies and TV shows to her resume.
So, yes, Logan is massively more popular and far more well-known to the general public than X-23. And, clearly, this has set Barbara’s nose out-of-place. Hey, I love lots of characters who are not that well-known to the general public or that popular. Look no further than my love for the Legion of Super Heroes for that proof. However, I am not going to get angry at the world because they do not recognize the awesomeness of the niche characters that I love.
Of course I loved Logan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about Laura Kinney as Wolverine.
And everyone else should be, too! Or else you are a knuckle-dragging neck beard who is clearly the scourge of the earth and the source of all evil. More or less. Probably more given how Barbara feels about the issue.
Barbara proceeds to list all of the reasons why she likes X-23 and the All New Wolverine title. Hey, look, we like the All New Wolverine title, too. We have given very positive reviews for the title. So, I have zero problem with someone listing why they love a comic book or a character. It is what follows after Barbara lists why she likes the All New Wolverine comic that is so disturbing and slightly unhinged.
Barbara ends her declaration of love for the All New Wolverine title with the following.
In short, “All-New Wolverine” blends humor and wackiness with dark twisted emotions, amidst high-concept science-fiction plots — exactly what fans want in any well-written X-Men book.
If Barbara likes a comic book then everyone should like a comic book. Period. Otherwise, you are wrong. And sexist. And probably don’t wash your hands after using the bathroom. Definitely the last one.
There is no room for differing tastes and opinions in Barbara’s world. Look, again, we have written good reviews for All New Wolverine. But, just because we may have liked a particular comic book does not mean that other people may not enjoy it. No one human is the final arbiter on whether a particular comic book is “exactly what fans” want in a comic book. Well, except for Barbara. She gets to make that judgment call.
All right, now hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen because the crazy train departs from the station at this point of the article. This is where Barbara’s article transitions from why she likes X-23 into a bizarre narrow-minded and angry rant on why anyone disagreeing with her eats small babies for breakfast. Or something like that.
And yet, it seems to be a recurring situation that I encounter men who are defensive and angry that their favorite macho, masculine character has passed his mantle to a girl.
Umm, Barbara, dear. I don’t mean to upset you, but you are the one who comes across as angry and defensive about X-23 in this entire article. Barbara cannot stand that a person might actually prefer a longstanding iconic character like Logan over X-23. And the only explanation for someone preferring Logan to X-23 is that they are a sexist man who is angry and defensive. This is already so crazy and over the top. But, wait for it. It gets better.
On the surface level, in some depictions, he [Logan] can be “a guy’s guy,” or more accurately, “a bub’s bub.” The concept of “toxic masculinity” describes stereotypes of the male gender as violent, sexually aggressive and unemotional. The prevalence of toxic masculinity can be harmful to all genders, because it teaches men to suffer alone in silence.
Stares into the setting sun on a cold winter’s day and wonders where everything went wrong. Wow. There is a ton of crazy to unpack here. Toxic masculinity is a nice way of Barbara proceeding with stereotyping any comic reader who would enjoy Logan’s character. First, it does not even apply to Logan. Is Logan violent? Yes. But, guess what? So is X-23! And just about every other character in the Marvel Universe! Is Logan sexually aggressive? No! Never! The guy is actually quite chivalrous. Even antiquated in the way that he conducts himself around women. Is Logan unemotional? No! He is the opposite of that. Logan is ruled almost entirely by emotion and instinct. That is kind of the core of his gimmick.
It is mind-blowing how Barbara unartfully and clumsily shoe-horns Logan into her concept of toxic masculinity in order to advance her narrow-minded viewpoint. This is a perfect example of when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Barbara is trying to make a statement however it is one that is built on a pathetically flawed foundation. Logan was the wrong character to use to advance this view.
The prevalence of toxic masculinity can be harmful to all genders, because it teaches men to suffer alone in silence. Behind his thick, hairy, barrel chest, Logan hides his feelings, drowned in whiskey and beer, and embodies many of the archetypes of toxic masculinity.
Let’s put aside the entire debate over the concept of toxic masculinity and whether that is a flawed, narrow-minded and prejudiced approach. Instead, let’s look at Barbara’s fears in a character that might set a bad example for people who read that character’s comic book.
Barbara logically concludes that anyone who likes Logan’s character is going to emulate Logan’s lifestyle choices. So, basically Barbara is just like the other crazy people who thought that listening to heavy metal back in the 1980’s was going to make kids turn into satanic devil worshiping killers. Or that playing Dungeons and Dragons was going to lead to witchcraft or people losing grips with reality.
Newsflash, Barbara. People most often enjoy characters in various forms of entertainment without patterning their lifestyles after that character. That is why characters like Tony Soprano or Walter White are so popular. They are fascinating and engaging. Most of the most popular characters in movies, TV and literature are ones that would be terrible role models. But, that’s okay. Because none of us go about our lives using these popular characters as blueprints on how to live our lives and treat other people.
Barbara engages in the type of behavior that the religious right often uses when they use their moralistic view of the world to stomp out various forms of literature or artwork that conflicts with their morals and that could lead to an “unhealthy” lifestyle. Sorry, Barbara, that is called censorship. May I suggest you relocate to a country like China where you might feel much more at home?
Laura has many of the same qualities, so if you really miss your grumpy loner with a heart of gold, look no further!
Spits entire venti Americano all across MacBook Pro. Huhbutwhat?! Barbara just spent the first part of that entire paragraph detailing how Logan embodied toxic masculinity and how unhealthy that was for both genders. But, then Barbara says that X-23 has many of the same qualities but that is a good thing?! Soooo, toxic masculinity characteristics are okay if the character has boobs? With this one sentence Barbara manages to completely contradict the rest of that paragraph and with that her entire argument collapses in on itself. Logic? There is no logic here.
The majority of fans seemed relatively okay with it when Thor took over for… Thor, so why would some males grow defensive and angry regarding Wolverine? Is it because they loved Logan so much that the idea of his costume worn by anyone (in books that they’re clearly not reading) is reprehensible? Or is it because Logan was a pillar of testosterone and Laura’s a girl? I wonder if the transition makes some men feel betrayed or like they’ve lost some of their standing.
IT’S THE FIRST CHOICE, BARBARA! THE FIRST CHOICE! This really is not that complex or difficult. It is Barbara’s own problems that are clouding her vision. It is true that readers got upset when Logan got replaced. And many of those same readers did not get upset when Thor got replaced. Why? Simple. Barbara mentioned it herself. Because Logan is insanely popular. Logan is arguably the most iconic and popular character in the entire Marvel Universe. Logan is far more popular than Thor. It is not even close. So, yes, readers are going to feel more passionate about the most popular Marvel character and are more likely to be unhappy when that character gets replaced. That’s it. It is as simple as that.
It has nothing to do with X-23 being a female or that men feel “betrayed” or like they “lost something.” Barbara even points to Thor as an example where a female character replaced a male character and that readers did not care. I love when comic book pundits offer up the obvious logical answer and then go off on a wacky coo-coo crazy direction and submit that direction as the proper one.
But, simple doesn’t make a person feel validated in their comic book choices. So, rather than take the obvious answer, Barbara slaps on her tin foil hat and investigates her pet conspiracy theory as to why fans are upset that Logan has been replaced by X-23.
I know that not all men are beholden to archaic constructs of gender norms.
Ah, there is Barbara flashing her broad-minded, open and accepting view of the world. Yup. Anything that conflicts with Barbara’s narrow-minded and rigid world view is deemed “archaic.” Got it. It’s Barbara’s world people. We are just living in it.
I have a lot of awesome male friends who are progressive and cool, and I have a lot of friends who are Wolverine fans who love Laura.
Stands with jaw on the floor with an unblinking stare at the computer screen This is the moment where Barbara rips off her human face and reveals that she is really one of the Visitors. We get to see Barbara’s full prejudice and intolerance. This statement is stunning.
This is exactly like the moment where someone is accused of being racist and they respond that they have lots of awesome black or Hispanic or Asian friends. Barbara is not sexist or prejudice! She has lots of male friends! Yeah, just like the racist person whose Hispanic or black friends are the ones who “act white” or are “non threatening” or not “too ethnic” we have Barbara who likes men who are “progressive” and “cool” because they don’t act too “macho” or “manly” or “bro-like.” Just like the racist who has no problem with minorities who conform tho their narrow and rigid views on how those minorities should act; Barbara has no problem with men who conform to her personal narrow and rigid views on how all men should act.
However, there is still a portion of the population that upon hearing of Logan’s replacement react with a simple, guarded, “That’s dumb.” I don’t find this pettiness necessarily offensive; rather, I pity these guys for letting their outdated views on gender stop them from reading a really fun superhero book.
Barbara looks down from her privileged elite ivory tower and pities the unwashed masses who do not understand or embrace her narrow and rigid world view. Again, Barbara, the answer is the most obvious one. You even said it yourself. It has nothing to do with anyone’s “outdated” gender views that makes them not want to read All New Wolverine. Many just want to read a Logan comic book because he is insanely popular and they grew up with the character.
There is also the fact that many readers may just not find All New Wolverine that interesting or entertaining of a comic book. GASP I know, Barbara. Prepare yourself for this shocker. But, just because you think All New Wolverine is a “really fun” super hero book does not mean that everyone else will come to the same conclusion. Sometimes people will still like chocolate over vanilla no matter if you pronounce that vanilla is really awesome.
It’s a big world out there, Barbara. And it is full of people who do not share your rigid and narrow world view. And that is a beautiful thing. You should learn to embrace that fact and enjoy it. An open and tolerant mind is a beautiful thing.
All right, let’s get to the reality of Barbara’s article. Why is Barbara so angry and defensive about X-23 as the All New Wolverine? Because X-23 just is not as popular. And Barbara is mad that her favorite character is not as big as Logan. Barbara is like many people in that she has to have validation that what she likes is the best. People have a hard time dealing with the fact that they love something that just is not that popular. I get it. My favorite comic book of all time is Legion of Super Heroes. Talk about a title that has never been popular or a strong seller. But, guess what? I don’t give a shit! All that matters is that I love the Legion and enjoy it. I don’t care if just about every other comic book franchise is more popular. It doesn’t minimize my enjoyment of the Legion.
Let’s take a look at the current sales for the latest issue of All New Wolverine. All New Wolverine #16 sold 35,128 units. Meanwhile, Old Man Logan #16 sold 45,807 units. So, even as an old man and not operating as Wolverine, Logan still outsells X-23. This is what sticks in Barbara’s craw. That Logan will outsell X-23. That Logan is more popular. That Logan is more famous. That Logan is known by the general public. That Logan has die-hard fans who will not accept any substitutes. Not even Barbara’s precious X-23. This is what makes Barbara so butthurt.
Unfortunately, Barbara is a comic book pundit and her inability to employ logic and deal with the reality that Logan is more popular and more famous than X-23 leads her to advancing her wacky conspiracy theory as to why some fans want Logan as Wolverine and are not interesting in purchasing All New Wolverine. Babs, relax. Take a deep breath. Then enjoy reading the All New Wolverine. It’s a fun read. We agree with you. Who cares if other people feel differently? Different views are what makes the world go around. And it is also what makes it such an interesting place.