“Hypermasculinity” in comics? The demonization of normalcy.
Some people in recent years have attacked comics for being “too agressive”, “too violent and an idealization of the aggressive hypermasculine superhero archetype. The snappy cynic in me begs to say “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. problem solved.”, but this dosn’t seem to be good enough to satisfy the outrage culturalist millenials, who don’t want to just not buy it, but also want to complain far and wide to convince others why their views of how men should be portrayed in comics is right, and everyone, including the artists and creators of the lore, are problematic shitlords.
In a recent article by Jonathan “McJoshintosh” Mcintosh, the issue is framed by an out of context snippet of a fight scene between Iron Man and Captain America, from the last part of an early release trailer. So, this obviously has given us the entire context of the story as to why these two are fighting. It couldn’t be Tony Stark’s ego clashing with Cap’s all-American values, or mind control, or someone hijacking the Iron Man armor, which is not unheard of in the comic book universe. But it has to be hypermasculinity, two men beating the shit out of each other just for manliness’s sake. Right? There’s no underlying reasoning, no story, no interpersonal conflict that could possibly cause these two heroes to partake in the time honored sport of beating the piss out of each other. ((author’s note: THIS IS SARCASM, YOU BUTTHORN.))
But why do they do this? Why can’t they just…get along? Everyone meshing, teamwork working like it should the first time, so why not? Because that isn’t how real people work. Yes, I understand comics are not real, but to create engaging stories, in fiction be it in books or comics or games or plays or what have you, the characters can not be Mary Sues, they can’t be perfect at everything the first time and instantly work well with others. And that’s why the Avengers butt heads, because they are all deeply flawed. They do not work well together, because they come from different backgrounds, have different morals, and due to being that dang powerful, gigantic freaking egos. They bicker and get pissy, they hold grudges, they take sides, and this makes it all the more realistic because that’s what real people do.It isn’t a strictly male issue either. One minor example is on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the female cast often butts heads and have broken down into fighting as well, with Melinda May being one of the biggest, if not the biggest ass-kicker on the show. By writing in these actions the authors are humanizing them and making them relate-able to the audience, to make a connection and keep them interested. This is one of the biggest components of storytelling, having both an external conflict (ie, the bad guy they’re against) and an internal conflict (ie, the team butting heads and each hero’s own personal issues).
If you would like to see superheros with no personal flaws and no conflict, I have no idea where you would look for one, as badly written comics and heroes are not popular, and thus don’t last in print. Perhaps you could create one? If there is a market, surely it will do well. The comics and characters people like are the ones that get the movie deals after all.