So the Geek Husband What Rules brought this up, and then immediately got grumpy because I over-thought it.
Like a lot.
He wanted me to make a blanket judgement of one over the other. And I immediately started drilling down, waaaayyy too far.
Ok, so here’s the thing. It depends what criteria you’re using.
Ease of entry: The MCU definitely wins. It spoon-feeds you origin stories, and it’s very well defined. You can knock out all of them in a long weekend.
When you’re dealing with properties that have decades and decades of canon, in various “dimensions” and iterations, with writers erasing and contradicting each other’s canon constantly, it’s kind of a nightmare to try to judge any sort of reasonable entry point into the comics.
Writing: This is kind of a draw. For every Ed Brubaker, you have a Mark Millar. And for every Chris Markus and Stephen McFeely, you have a Joss Whedon. And the Russo Brothers are their own worst enemy. They did great with the Winter Soldier, granted that may have been the source material (Brubaker), but they really screwed up everything else.
Misogyny: A number of the comics are improving in this area, but so are some of the movies. Captain Marvel was fantastic, as was Black Panther. However, there is the incredible drag of Whedon’s misogyny, and Mark Millar.
Homophobia: They both suck here. And Disney isn’t likely to let them improve any time soon. Disney likes its gays safe, sanitized, and mostly theoretical.
I may have a lot of feelings around this. And if you want someone who explains it more eloquently than I have the patience for, please check out James Somerton on Youtube.
Seriously, if you want to be brave make Cap queer, not a Nazi. That’s been done repeatedly. So much. Please stop.
Diversity: Again, they both suck here. In the MCU, out of all the characters, with the exception of Black Panther, you will at most have two named Black characters in any given film. And frequently fewer named Asian characters until. Shang Chi For example:
Captain America: Gabe Jones, Jim Morita
Thor: Heimdal, Hogun
Iron Man: Colonel James Rhodes, Nick Fury with bonus generic Middle Eastern Ho Yinsen (Stark;s fellow captive) and Raza (bad guy).
The Avengers: Nick Fury
Dr. Strange: Wong, Mordo, and Pangborn (Latinx). How are you going to have a movie set mostly in fucking Tibet and have ONE named Asian character in it.
Captain Marvel: Wait! There are THREE Black characters, Nick, Maria & Monica Rambeau… Hold on, there’s four, sort of, an alien, Korath, one of the Kree, is played by a Black actor.
So the later films do get better. But they really aren’t any better about using POC as extras. Look at the scenes on the Helicarrier in the Winter Soldier. And don’t give me that “Hydra was in charge” bullshit, because an awful lot of those extras had Cap’s back, and they were all white.
Also the majority of the film creators for these films are also white, and dudes… sigh
And then there’s the comics, which are also getting better…
Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau), Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Ms. Marvel are all enjoying more popularity, and more promotion. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Greg Pak, Kelly Sue DeConnick and G. Willow Wilson are all fairly prominent creators now as well.
For a long time though, you could pretty much list all the non-white Marvel heroes on your fingers. Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, Sunspot. Falcon, Thunderbird, Sunfire… And I’ll be honest with you, Thunderbird and Sunfire were both kind of assholes in their early incarnations.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of improvement, but there’s still a LOT of room for improvement still. Particularly in the realm of queer inclusion, especially Trans inclusion.
I think that’s the main points I kind of judge them on. They can both be entertaining. I will still watch Captain America, The Avengers, in spite of Whedon’s bullshit, and Thor. I love Captain Marvel and Black Panther. I have not yet seen Shang Chi or the Eternals, because COVID. Also, I hear Black Widow was kind of fun.
And remember, Mark Millar Licks Goats.