Batkid is The Best Thing Ever

Wow, it’s dusty around here.

So, all of my writing time has been for work these days (please click the donate button on the main page if you want to see me focus more here), but I had to come out and write here because I apparently missed the best story of the month, possibly the year, and need to comment on it.

My favorite charity, the Make-a-Wish Foundation (I toured Europe with a jazz band doing work for them twice) granted a wish for a leukemia survivor by going to my favorite medium, comic books. Not only did they turn him into “Batkid,” they had him running around the city in a Lamborghini Batmobile with Batman and his kid brother dressed a Robin. He disarmed a bomb and rescued a woman tied to cable car tracks, mere seconds before the cable car came by. Then he stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank. Then he saved the SF Giants’ mascot, Lou Seal, from being kidnapped by the Penguin who was also hauled off the prison. Both villains were in their delightful Adam West-era costumes.

But that’s not the best part. The best part is that thousands of people got involved in this. San Francisco was turned into Gotham City for this event. There were people cheering him wherever he went. The actual Chief of Police made a public call for his help, and thousands begged his assistance. Graham Nolan, co-creator of Bane and artist for several excellent Batman stories, drew a picture of Bane being frightened of Miles Scott, the 5-year-old secret identity of the mini Caped Crusader.

batkid baneAbout 12,000 volunteers from the city got involved in this. The president of the United States sent him a Vine to congratulate him on his work. He was given the key to the city. The San Francisco Chronicle turned its front page into the Gotham City Chronicle to run stories about his exploits. Former and future Batmen Ben Affleck, Adam West, and Michael Keaton all had great things to say to him.

gotham city chronicleThere is nothing bad about this story, except for a few assholes who think that it was wrong to do because he is in remission. Make-a-Wish’s response: “We would never penalize a child for getting better.”

This is so incredible. This is what comic books are supposed to be about: giving hope to people who don’t have it, making ordinary people feel extraordinary, and uniting people in goodness. It’s what a lot of comic book fans were saying was missing from Man of Steel.

But the sheer outpouring reaction from people is a perfect example of the greatness of human beings. When we come together for goodness, we do amazing things. Thousands of people gave up part of their days just to make a sick five year old feel good about himself.

This story made my year. This is why I read comic books, and why I support Make-a-Wish, and why I love human beings despite all of our flaws.

Advertisements

Pull List of Justice: September 2013

pulllistofjusticeRegular readers of my stuff will know that I am a comic book fanatic and have argued many times that comics have historically been at the forefront of social progress, often addressing issues that television and other mediums have been unable or unwilling to. Yes, they can also be problematic, but I contend that finding the right book with the right author can lead to a wealth of fantastic characters representing all sorts of diverse types of people and ideas.

So welcome to the beginning of what will hopefully be a monthly feature in which I describe the wonderful things that are happening in the comics I read that send a positive message in the social justice arena. I should point out that I can only really write about the comics I actually read, so if you have a book that you think would be great that I don’t cover, mention it in the comments. Otherwise, all comics and characters are the property of their respective companies and are being reproduced in part here under Fair Use guidelines.

Now, let’s jump right in.

_____________

Thus begins my latest piece for Queereka. I hope that this will become a regular thing and get more people reading some of the amazing and socially progressive comics out there.

Poor Reaction to Affleck: He-Nerd Rage

ben-affleck-batman-tai-urban_wenn20441205__oPtWow. Been asked three times today what I think about Ben Affleck cast as Batman, once by a person I don’t know and who isn’t a reader. Hate to pass the buck, but with the exception of his dislike of Man of Steel that seems to increase over time (I still like it on the whole), I’d have to say that MovieBob pretty much nails it.

Yes, he’s been in some goofy movies, and yes he’s not as talented as Matt Damon (who probably wouldn’t be right for the role), but he’s a solid actor with a love of comics, two Academy Awards, who has played a range of different parts with depth and aplomb. Sure, his last attempt at a comic movie, Daredevil, sucked, but it wasn’t because of something he did. It was a poorly written movie where the hero was heroic because stories have protagonists and the villains were villainous because stories have antagonists, and in neither case was any motivation assigned to anybody. However, that didn’t keep Michael Clark Duncan from doing a great Kingpin and it didn’t keep Affleck from making a believable Daredevil and, more to the point, Matt Murdock.

I will add that I think Affleck is suffering from a largely male-dominated nerd culture that won’t let go of the brief moment when Affleck was considered a pretty boy instead of a legit actor. This was roughly when he was dating J-Lo, which was bad enough (he’s dating a POP STAR! Nerds stand against pop and everything pop represents!), but then he went and married Jennifer Garner, who was in enough leather-clad spy and super hero roles to have, again for a moment, set herself up as a male nerd fantasy. This combined perception of betrayal and appropriation seems to have set Affleck up as being entirely untenable as a potential Batman, the Mary Sueiest of Mary Sue characters.

And the thing is, I remember the hate directed at Affleck at the time and, to a lesser extent, Garner. Regular readers can probably predict what was said about Garner, but there was this overwhelming sense in geek circles that this guy sullied himself with pop star germs, then swooped in to ruin Daredevil and take Sydney Bristow from us, forever ruining what would have undoubtedly been many more Elektra movies. He had the gall to impregnate her, depriving us of another season of her kicking ass in skimpy outfits in Alias. He…he…something! It was all very confusing back then.

And, to be honest, it’s not just Affleck who gets this. Anyone remember the reaction to Heath Ledger as the Joker? Fortunately, the internet is forever. Did you know there was a time when that guy who did Inception was just some empty-headed pretty boy who only ever did one part and looked like a girl (TW: early internet webpage design)?

Now, I will admit that he has done a number of bad films. I won’t go into them, it was covered pretty well in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but the guy has also done a lot of really fantastic ones. However, lots of people have. For example, did you know that before playing Batman, Michael Keaton was Mr. Mom? He was in Touch and Go. How about The Squeeze? Pre-Batman, this guy had basically one great film, Beetlejuice, and two good ones, Johnny Dangerously and The Dream Team.

But this has nothing to do with good and bad films. It has a lot to do with the perception of Affleck as a pretty boy, and most especially as Not One of Us. Oddly, Affleck himself seems to express the sentiment quite nicely in this interview:

People decided that I was the frat guy, even though I’ve never been inside a fraternity, or the guy who beat them up at school, even though that wasn’t me at all.

The pretty boy actor has a lot to overcome in nerd circles. They need to somehow prove their bona fides as real representatives of geek culture, because wide appeal to others marks them as…well, Other, and we can’t have that. And it seems that building his own goddamn Batcave in his house doesn’t count.

What I’m saying is, time to stop jumping on the “he’s going to ruin the role” bandwagon and think of this rationally. This is an accomplished actor and director. This is the guy who killed it in Argo, Shakespeare in Love, Chasing Amy, The Town, State of Play, and Hollywoodland, among others. He has the chops, he has the passion, and if they can get him to direct one of these films (he was offered the director’s chair for Justice League if he agreed to play Batman years ago), he certainly has more talent in that department than Zack Snyder. He is not just a pretty face, and it’s time that we stop knee-jerk reacting to actors who made their bones being marketed in parts for their looks.

Comics Leading Society

I know this is a little late, so please excuse me, but I just couldn’t let this go without saying something.

You might have heard that some serious heavyweights in the comics industry dismissed accusations of sexism, while also saying that comics are usually following, not leading, social change, so that makes it totes ok if they were sexist, which they aren’t. Their arguments read like a greatest hits of privilege apologetics (e.g. “We objectify men, too!”, “Why don’t they make their own comics?”, and the suggestion that superhero comics, like skepticism, are more of a guy thing), and include a digression that touches on race by arguing that actively pursuing diversity automatically means not creating a stand-alone good character.

The people in question are Len Wein, most famous for creating Wolverine, Gerry Conway, who invented The Punisher (and gave what was to me the most baffling and infuriating quote, that “…the comics follow society. They don’t lead society.”), and Todd McFarlane, who developed a comic book as an excuse to sell toys.

Before we get too into this, I think it’s important that we have some context for these guys’ careers, because they are not lightweights in the industry, and all of them have had significant impacts on the way we experience comics to this day, for good and for ill. But by examining where they came from, we might be able to understand why they are so horrendously wrong.

Let’s start with Wein. While Len Wein is best known for his creation of Wolverine, he actually created a number of the X-men that are incredibly popular, including Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus.  He revived the book from five years of hiatus in 1975 and his tenure on the title set the stage for the team most non-comic readers would become familiar with: the 90’s animated series composition. Wolverine was introduced to the team in this book, but the fuzzball was introduced to the universe over a year before in Incredible Hulk 181, touted as “The World’s First and Greatest Canadian Super Hero”. However, unlike his predecessors and, to an extent, his successors, X-men under his direction wasn’t as socially conscious, preferring to focus less on the place of mutants in the world and more on super-powered people beating up on one another. Wein eventually became Editor-in-Chief at Marvel.

It was under his leadership that a man named Gerry Conway would be writing The Amazing Spider-man. Conway started at Marvel around the same time as Wein. In fact, 1970’s Daredevil #71 was Wein’s first comic at Marvel, and Daredevil #72 was Conway’s. Conway took over Spider-man at the tender age of 19, after a couple of years of writing duties being passed between Roy Thomas and Stan Lee. Again, we saw a move away from making any statements (ironic, only a year after Amazing Spider-man #96-98, which was not given a Comics Code Authority label because Lee wouldn’t abandon a plot thread about the dangers of drug use), and the eventual introduction of Punisher in issue 129. He would also script “The Night Gwen Stacy Died“. Punisher wasn’t given his own book until the early 80s, but stood out for his willingness to kill, a function largely of his antagonists being the mob and it being easier to mow down scores of faceless goombas than to have to create a new Doctor Octopus or The Vulture every couple of issues because you keep killing off unique villains.

Finally you have McFarlane. It’s hard to count him among the other two since he didn’t make his money or his fame from comic books directly. Rather, he created a comic, then marketed the hell out of toys for the comic. Yes, he did work on Spider-man as well, but really his success came from his founding of Image comics, an exercise in remembering why artists don’t just write their own stuff, and the creation of Spawn, who has limped along in comic fandom with some hard core followers but no lasting impression. I’m sure there are some Spawn fans out there, maybe even a couple that can name a Spawn villain off the top of their head that isn’t Clown, Satan, or Martin Sheen, but when your supporting characters are so incidental (BTW: Spawn had a supporting cast) that they can be cannibalized by your former company in an ill-advised continuity-merging event, you haven’t created a lasting property. Ultimately, McFarlane’s influence would probably be felt less as a creator and more as one of the people most fueling the Speculation Bubble that was one of the main reasons 90s comics were so awful.

The reason why I go into this digression is two-fold. The first is to point out that asking Todd McFarlane his opinion on comic books is a lot like asking Uwe Boll his opinion on movies. Sure, he’s made a few, but they’re not very good and usually a means to an end. McFarlane is much better equipped to answer questions about character design, much like Boll is better equipped to answer questions about just barely avoiding committing fraud.

The second point is that while McFarlane, who drove the Liefeldian testosterone-fueled 90s overeaction to body shape and human behavior (hello Youngblood, Cable, Doom’s IV, and Hardcore Station, to name a few), could be excused for thinking that comics never did anything he wasn’t interested in doing, Wein and Conway know better.

As I mentioned above, Conway, who gave the damn quote, took over Amazing about a year after Stan Lee specifically bucked the industry trade group in order to publish an incredibly timely comment on drug abuse and its dangers. Wein revived a book that had a really respectable seven year run as a metaphor to the Civil Rights movement while it was going on. Both of them started at DC and worked there during Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams’ incredibly well done and successful Green Lantern/Green Arrow crossovers, which were specifically designed to address social issues because those were the books that were popular at the time (as a side note, they were also astounding and dealt with issues from a really balanced, but hard-hitting way).

Conway and Wein were executives at Marvel when X-men: God Loves, Man Kills was published in 1982. They were part of the industry and even could have grown up reading Archie Comics, which has always presented Riverdale as progressively accepting of other people, being one of the first comics to have regular appearances by characters of color, fairly recently introducing gay teen Kevin Keller, depicting Keller’s future marriage to a same-sex partner (after coming home a war hero), and this month showing him kissing his boyfriend on the cover of his title book.

Wein and Conway both should be aware of William Marston’s opinion that women should be in charge of the world, and how his feminism guided the creation of Wonder Woman. They might have even heard of Truth: Red, White, and Black, X-men: Magneto Testament, or Pride of Baghdad. You’d think they would have been familiar with Iron Man’s continuing battle with alcoholism or the decades of thoughtful fallout from Hank Pym’s abuse of his wife. Or with the importance of the introduction of characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage, and White Tiger. It’s possible they haven’t seen how well Batgirl has been doing since the launch of the New 52 under Gail Simone’s leadership.They almost certainly have heard of the Marvel Civil War, which is my favorite crossover event of all time because it dealt with the question of how much liberty we can sacrifice for security at the height of the War on Terror.

Even if all of those things escaped their notice, they might be peripherally aware of this comic about an immigrant boy who comes to be raised in middle America and becomes a hero. In fact, the popularity of this comic is attributed as one of the reasons why many immigrants joined the war effort in the early 1940s, despite immigration being a very sore subject during the time of that comic’s popularity.

Comics have consistently been ahead of or right in the middle of social change. They are often overlooked as a significant mover of social progress, mostly by people like Wein, Conway, and McFarlane who have never and will never have to worry about whether a character is like them at all: most characters are in a number of ways. They will never care about seeing people dealing with the problems that affect their lives, because the problems that affect their lives are not the kind of problems that need heroes.

But to suggest that comics are behind the curve is to project their own apathy onto a medium that has spoken directly about issues that have had to be tiptoed around in other places. It has been in front of so many social movements, and that we see it lagging behind on women’s issues in many significant ways is more disappointing because they have been a positive voice on so many other things.

Comics can be a catalyst for change, especially super hero comics, even from the Big Two publishers. That’s why it’s important that we push back against these types of attitudes, and demonstrate that the books that we want are the ones that are not only well written, but make a point to be inclusive and allow characters to be something other than wish fantasy fulfillment for straight white cis teenage boys.

Free Comic Book Day!

First, May the Fourth be with you. Always.

Now that that’s done, today is not only Star Wars Day, but Free Comic Book Day. As you can imagine, this makes today a very exciting day for me. I have a lot of work to do, but my excitement is palpable and I can’t wait until noon when the comic shop opens. I’m at the Sewing Goddess’s place, so it’ll be an unfamiliar comic shop, but the culture is the same and I’m ready to talk about how awesome the new Aquaman is, or how much I love everything Kieron Gillen writes (and he’s doing great with Young Avengers), how much I miss Avenger’s Academy and how torn I am about Avenger’s Arena (if you haven’t guessed, Marvel has realized that slapping “Avengers” on anything basically allows them to print their own money). And, best of all, I will get to see what sort of promotional comics they will give out so I can see if there’s anything worth reading that I might not have looked at before.

Anyway, I leave you with my favorite Avenger’s parody. The Sewing Goddess played it for me last night (she wanted to make sure she could see my face when I watched), and I adore it. Gritty Reboots is my new favorite YouTube channel.

I agree with this article that it could use a little more diversity, but it was still incredibly awesome and I would seriously watch the hell out of that film. It would be like Scary Movie, but entertaining.

Various and Whateverthehell

Since I’ve been so busy, it’s time to just have a quick link roundup to cover everything I’ve wanted to talk about.

Miss America Chavez (designed by Jamie McKelvie, personal work 2013)

Absolutely beautiful comic about somebody who’s girlfriend is transitioning. For only a few panels with a bunny and a frog and a bear, this is really touching.

– More from the annals of “Feminism is already working on men’s rights issues.”

– A young man in Toronto is sexually assaulted by four women, and Rosie DiManno of The Star insults him. This lowlife seems to think that most men would love to be non-consensually ganged up on by four women. Look also for the fat shaming, slut shaming, and homophobia embedded in her assumptions about the perpetrators.

– A Christian school has decided that a married lesbian couple needs to get a divorce in order for their child to keep going to that school. Why they would want to send their kid to such a backward place, I have no idea, but since this is in Mpumalanga, South Africa, I’m sure there are other factors involved.

– Speaking of schools being the absolute worst, a Polk County high school (which is less than an hour from me) has expelled a student for a science experiment that created a small bang and some smoke but didn’t hurt anyone. JT writes about it and suggests how you can write a polite and well considered email to the school administrator explaining why this is an overreaction. Also read the comments in which they ask whether the school’s football players are expelled for breaking the school’s policy against hitting other students every time they tackle somebody.

“Angering the pope” should be an euphemism for masturbation now. Like “choking the bishop”, really.

– Researchers at IBM have made a movie by manipulating atoms on a copper surface and filming it. This is really, really awesome.

Ok, enough procrastinating. Back to work.

What the Comics Industry Can Teach the Atheist Movement

The other day I was pretty harsh on DC for their choice not to cast Stephanie Brown as the new Robin, and their apparent hostility toward the character in general. That hasn’t changed, but I do want to give DC credit for something they’re rolling out.

DC will be adding the first mainstream trans* character to their books. She is a supporting character, Batgirl’s (Barbara Gordon) roommate. No powers, no funky reason for not being cisgender, just a character with whom we can empathize. Writer Gail Simone, who could make an engaging and character-driven narrative out of a paperclip factory expense sheet summary, said she wanted to create “a reality based character.”

…a character, not a public service announcement … being trans is just part of her story. If someone loved her before, and doesn’t love her after, well — that’s a shame, but we can’t let that kind of thinking keep comics in the 1950s forever.

I also think it’s great that she spoke to people in the trans* community before creating the character, to make sure that she presented Alysia Yeoh as a realistic portrayal, not a stereotype.

Let’s jump over to Marvel, specifically Avengers Academy, which I’m trying to catch up on all of the post-Fear Itself issues of. Basic premise: when Norman Osborne was in power after the Marvel Civil War, he kidnapped a group of kids with powers, abused them, and brainwashed them to fight for him. They are eventually rescued by Hank Pym (and the rest of the Avengers) who decides to start a school to help them overcome what Osborne did to them, give them a stable environment, and train them to use their powers. After the events of Fear Itself, Pym opened the school to anybody who wanted to join and recruited two other kids.

Now, if we look at the lineup, the class leader, Reptil, is a Hispanic kid from the suburbs. White Tiger is the sister of the original White Tiger, the first Hispanic super hero in the Marvel universe (both in terms of first published and first to appear in the context of the story). We also have an Asian girl (not a diminutive, they’re all teenagers), Hazmat. Outside of race, there are two queer kids: Lightspeed, who just joined the team and is openly bi, and Striker who came out as gay to her (and later to a press conference, because you can do that if you’re being trained by an Avenger).

And, of course, Pym is an open atheist.

Many of the Avengers Academy plots focus on developing these characters, and in a lot of cases the way that they relate to the world as a minority of some sort or another often gets some spotlight. White Tiger feels that she has to live up to her brother’s legacy, not just in being a hero, but specifically in being a Hispanic hero, while Reptil doesn’t see the point of focusing on his race at all. Lightspeed gets frustrated since she’s still having trouble accepting her sexuality and not wanting it to become her defining characteristic, but Striker just sort of came out and seems to be having no problems with it at all.

“What does this have to do with atheism?”, I hear you cry.

The other day, Richard Carrier at FtB wrote about how Phil Mason (Thunderf00t) basically used creationist tactics to make a video in which he decried a speech Carrier gave and made it seem, through editing, that Carrier was saying something he wasn’t.

Carrier does a fine job of pointing out all of the dishonesty in Mason’s video, but there was one part of it that stuck out for both Carrier and I. Emphasis his.

Now Thunderf00t lays into minorities (timestamp 15:16). He sneers (literally: listen to his voice) at my call for atheist organizations to be more responsive to and cooperative with minority atheists and minority atheist groups.

Now, it’s bad enough that T-f00t says this kind of stuff. I’ve come to believe that he is, as Carrier suggests, indeed a sociopath and absolutely incapable of empathizing with other human beings. But surely his trollish little minions can’t all be sociopaths. Here’s a few of the comments (emphasis theirs):

You are also a complete fool when doing marketing analysis, as TF conclusively demonstrated in his video with the ratio between believers and atheists. Only a person with infinite resources would waste resources targeting “black atheists” when they could target “atheists without restricting it by race” or even addressing “theists” or the entire population. You are the one employing racist logic here Carrier, not TF…And to compare it to the state of the Republican party is laughable. They have problems because the minorities are the majority, but in our case there is a well defined theist majority as TF showed you and it is the very fact that they are a majority that is the entire problem. – Illusio

 

You should focus efforts on a specific minority and it’s not a racial group but rather a religious group (Muslims). Given that Islam’s influence in the world is far worse than Christianity’s and virtually no free society has ever been founded on Islamic principles, I’d appreciate any campaign aimed at convincing Muslims to renounce their faith and also helping them avoid problems within their community (all 4 schools of Sunni Islam mandate the death penalty for apostasy).

It makes no sense to attack Christianity primarily when Islam is on the rise and is causing many problems in the world, not because of “extremists” twisting its “peaceful teachings” but because of fundamentals of Islamic theology which are inherently hostile to non-Muslims, women and personal freedom. – Dan

 

I know there was at least a few more that seem to have been erased because Carrier doesn’t deal with that sort of shit on his blog (nor is he required to). The basic premise, though, is that since minorities are so small (race, sexual orientation, gender, etc.), then there is no point doing any sort of outreach to them at all or bothering to address their specific concerns.

Not only is this lazy, it’s kind of pathetic. Mason and his minions seem to think that listening to minority atheists, talking about problems that are unique to them, and inviting them to speak at conferences is somehow this great burden, this overwhelming task that will bring in sub-standard speakers and thinkers just because they happen to be Latin@, or black, or queer, or women. This falls under the presumption that white men have been primarily the face of atheism for so long because they’re just better at thinking about these things, and that somebody can’t be a minority and brilliant.

The way I got into the atheist movement as an activist was not through Dawkins or Harris or Hitchens. I haven’t even read Dennett. While I respect the Four Horsemen, I don’t much like Dawkins or Harris, who I find far too disconnected from the lived experiences of actual atheists, and while their work is fantastic and insightful, I just have no impulse to really go back to it for anything other than the occasional reference. Hitchens I adored for a number of reasons, but I think that, again, he let his philosophy get in the way of empathy far too often.

No, I joined because I saw a post by Jen McCreight when BlagHag was still an indie blog about LGBT inclusion and why her atheism gives her an objective foundation for queer advocacy (both in terms of humanist principles and the rejection of religious dogma that is far too often the source of homophobia). From there she moved to FtB where I discovered JT (originally because he had a cute picture up, I admit, but he turned out to be actually brilliant), who pointed me to Greta. I started reading Ed because “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” is an awesome name for a blog and I’m a politics geek. Eventually I also saw how awesome Ashley was, and Kate from there, and eventually even Miri, who is made of pure sunshine (in that she’s bright, enlightening, and will burn the fuck out of you if you’re not smart).

Their examples got me involved in blogging and RL activism. And I wouldn’t be here if Jen didn’t take some time to talk about something other than why Pascal’s Wager is ridiculous.

Talking about issues that interest minorities in one respect is a good way to get another conversation going. DC and Marvel both realize this, and they took the incredibly easy step of diversifying their casts, because when you see yourself (or a part of yourself) in a character, you’re more likely to connect with them and want to come back. Similarly, if you see yourself in a movement, you want to contribute to that movement.

No, it’s not enough to “treat everybody the same: like human beings.” Yes, you should treat everybody like human beings, but not the same human being. We all have different cultures, life experiences, day to day issues, and personal hangups. In many cases, the minority that a person identifies with experiences a lot of the same types of thing, and trying to address that shows people in those minorities that you actually care about this. When you say that you “treat everybody the same,” what you’re saying is that you treat everybody like a middle class white man, ignoring the unique circumstances those people have lived. You should treat everybody well, but just because leaving your church didn’t cut you off from all social connection doesn’t mean that the black guy from Memphis had it so easy, and it is almost no effort to deal with that.

Characters like Alysia Yeoh and the students at Avengers Academy are not attempts to fill quotas or diversify because it’s “trendy,” they are attempts to recognize that there are a lot of different types of people in the world, and it takes the barest minimum of effort to incorporate that. Minorities can be super heroes and the friends of super heroes. They are a part of life, and inviting them into our stories or our movements gives us perspective, makes us better.

Being kind, showing consideration for others, paying attention to people who are generally ignored: these are all Good Things, things we should be embracing. We cannot simultaneously listen to the marginalized while denying their marginalization. We cannot pretend that discrimination is a personal choice and not a systemic problem, so my just saying something like “I don’t see color” means that racism (for example) doesn’t exist or I can never again do anything racist. Most importantly, we can’t just make the same arguments against faith and religion over and over again and hope to reach people on the strength of our philosophy when they’re more concerned with the problems they face in their day to day lives, as if accepting logical arguments is a test and anyone who doesn’t do so isn’t smart enough for the Atheist Club.

Comic labels, from Marvel and DC to Archie, have consistently been at the vanguard of social change, and I think that’s amazing. We can also be at that vanguard, clearing the path for new people and new ideas to infuse our movement rather than shambling lamely behind, wondering why our once exploding campaign has stopped gaining ground, unable to convince even a rising demographic of non-religious theists to take the one last step.