Whether Marvel or DC, characters that do not conform to society’s regulated standards have always achieved something exceptional. Such too is the case with artists, creators, and auteurs like James Gunn. Despite a spotty track record and a spectrum diagnosis, the filmmaker has bounced back into relevance, gained the trust of favor of his fans, and gone on to create stories and legacies for the audience to enjoy for decades to come.
It is only right that the brilliant director and storyteller behind such productions as Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad, and Peacemaker would be asked to lend his skills to create the most iconic in-house franchises at DC to fight the growing powerhouse of Sony’s rival IP: the Spider-Verse.
DC Fans Impore James Gunn To Rival Sony’s Spider-Verse
The unparalleled creations of James Gunn may be stunning in their individual narrative arcs but his skills are yet to be tested within the context of having to rival a superior and far more established franchise. Marvel’s frenemy, Sony has developed its own version of a universe with its host of Spider-Man IPs, including the titular web-slinger, and projects like Venom, Morbius, and the upcoming Madame Web. But none have been nearly as impressive as the animated multiversal epic, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
With visuals, music, plot, and characters to die for, Sony stole a decent chunk of die-hard MCU enthusiasts the day it released Into the Spider-Verse. The ensuing love that poured in for the newly discovered Miles Morales then gave rise to another concern: the lack of awareness about the history of Black characters that exist in the comic book lores of Marvel and DC.
Now, as James Gunn sashays in to assume his role in the genesis of a new era at DC, fans implore the mastermind filmmaker to introduce a universe that rivals the one built by Sony’s Spider-Verse. Such a world would of course comprise iconic original Black superheroes like John Stewart, Mister Terrific, Crimson Avenger, and so on.
“Miles Morales is not an original black character. We need more original black characters like the 4th Green Lantern, the 2nd Mr. Terrific, and the 2nd Power Man” pic.twitter.com/6v92FBUGtd
— Z (@TheeDCstan) May 26, 2023
I know but they’re not utilized correctly or only use of few of them and thinking that’s enough
— The Don (@TheDon0112) May 26, 2023
the funniest thing is them acting like they’re actual fans of John and saying his development in comics continuously improves compared to Miles which is insanely false. using black characters they don’t read about to cover up the fact they’re racist.
— Tᕼᗩᗩᒪ🟡 (@Sinestros_Myte) May 26, 2023
@JamesGunn did you not say you have plans for milestone characters and 🤞 for John Stewart and more for lantern corps which hopefully will be the start of a proper space universe for DCU
— Bardock Obama (@milhousereborn) May 26, 2023
Whenever I see “black super hero,” my first thought is John Henry Irons, aka Steel. He was inspired by Superman and basically built his own Iron Man armor. With a hammer ⚒️ 😋 Guy needs more screentime pic.twitter.com/4QUXqhRWkT
— chip594 (@chip5941) May 27, 2023
While the fan-advocated idea may not be an entirely plausible one, it is far from impossible to create. The only hindrance in the execution of such a vastly planned in-house story might be caused by the establishment of the fledgling DCU narrative. With an entire arc planned out for the next 3-5 years at DC, James Gunn will have his hands full with creating a sustainable future for the CBM franchise – and if it is successful, a universe worthy enough to rival Sony’s Spider-Verse may not be too far in the making.
Relevance of Black Characters in the Popular Culture
Of the manyfold characters in DC and Marvel throughout the history of these comic book franchises, superheroes have existed to bring a sense of candor, security, courage, and valor in times of need, and hope when all else seems lost. And for generations, we have found a version of ourselves when we look inside the glossy pages that hold the stories of characters from other worlds.
Despite the distance that then separates the fictional realm of these heroes from this harsh and often dark reality of ours, we have learned from them, aspired to be them, and used their experiences as our own to find a place and an identity in this vast and listless world. As such, these graphic novels and comic books do not differentiate between class, gender, race, or religion.
The representation, which has relatively increased with the upswell waves of recent socio-cultural phenomena, has characters from every demography, from the farthest corners of the world, with identities that now challenge heteronormative and binary standards in the same way heroes would earlier challenge an unequal society’s status quo.
Miles Morales, John Stewart, Mister Terrific, Amanda Waller, Vixen, Cyborg, Black Lightning, Static, and Crimson Avenger are merely a faction of these new-age heroes. The revolution that they have given rise to, simply by their presence in the world of comics and animation alone, has given voice to a cause that needed recognition and acknowledgment within this new world order of ours.