no more movement

The Movement has been canceled.

This is, on one hand, too bad, though I’m sure the company didn’t fight very hard to keep the book going. Gail Simone is, and with good reason, a very popular writer (when she was kicked off Batgirl there was so much protest from fans and in the press that she was quickly and quietly reinstated), and this looked like it was a passion project of hers.

But I think the book could have been better. Diversity is very important, as Kristan Hoffman talked about here, but characters have to be vital characters first, and these didn’t quite get there, especially at the beginning. And, in a serial medium, you have to grab the reader quickly (without — and this is the trick — giving away too much too soon).

The Movement didn’t quite do this for me. I kept reading, because it was Simone and because I was intrigued by the idea, but only at the end did things start to come together, and you can’t count on having that many issues to make your case.

Sometimes the best way to show diversity, oddly enough, is through focus, by not trying to have every individual category represented all at the same time.* One new comic book that’s off to a great start is Ms. Marvel, about a teenage Pakistani-American girl who gets superpowers. Kamala Khan is a very specific character, even compared to her friends who come from similar families, and that’s the strength of the book. She’s definitely not Generic Muslim Superhero Girl.

Not that The Movement couldn’t have worked, but it was very ambitious (and very anti-authoritarian), and now that comic books are officially the idea machine that’s driving some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, there’s probably a lot of pressure to keep from rocking the boat too much.

* From the AV Club article:
“…Simone went all-out on the diversity, assembling a line-up of characters from a variety of different races, sexual orientations, and social classes: An African-American lesbian leader, a Laotian-American female brawler (loosely based on comedian Kulap Vilaysack), an asexual Indian-American woman, a recovering substance abuser whose muscular dystrophy keeps her in a wheelchair, a gay white man, and one straight white homeless man with a behavioral disorder.”

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