Boycott The Avengers Opening Weekend

My friend Plok has posted asking all comics bloggers (of which I am technically still one) to post asking their readership not to go and see The Avengers on its opening weekend, in protest at Marvel’s treatment of Jack Kirby and his heirs.

I admit that this is not the world’s biggest and most important problem – in a world where ATOS are finding terminally ill people fit for work, where a war with Iran may be started just to help a presidential re-election campaign, and where John Stamos will be joining the Beach Boys for their reunion performance at the Grammys, a little matter like the treatment of someone who’s been dead for nearly twenty years and was, by the end of his life, paid a fairly good wage for his work (if nothing compared to what his work earned for others) is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Likewise, a boycott of only the opening weekend isn’t all that scary, and I doubt I will persuade a single person to do it anyway (I wasn’t going to go and see it at opening weekend anyway, and quite possibly wasn’t going to see it at all).

But Marvel are, to this day, still screwing artists. Disney, their parent corporation, is built on an even more grotesque act of corporate appropriation of a creator’s work (Ub Iwerks, the creator of Mickey Mouse, got an even worse deal than Kirby did). And Jack Kirby *was* the primary creative force behind the Avengers.

It is impossible to live a truly moral life in this world. The computer I am typing this on was probably made by slave labour (though I try to ameliorate even things like that – I have never bought a new computer in my life, only taken ones that were otherwise destined to be thrown away). Every comic I buy from Marvel, or DC, or Rebellion, or lots of other companies, is built on corporate exploitation of artists and writers whose work I love. Merely by interacting with the society we have now, we all become so morally compromised that one has to hope there is no afterlife, or we would all be truly damned.

In a situation like that, a token gesture is sometimes all you can do – not because it will make the slightest bit of difference to the result, but because protesting against injustice is the right thing to do. And if nothing else, this one will make Plok feel a bit better.

So here’s my token gesture – asking you to make your token gesture too.

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15 Responses to Boycott The Avengers Opening Weekend

  1. plok says:

    Good man!

    To do something, anything, sometime…there is always a bigger issue, there is always a more impossible monument of awfulness, there are always perfectly logical reasons never to act, never to begin acting. But from small things mama, big things one day come. A friend of mine once told me, on coming of voting age, that she didn’t want to vote because she didn’t feel fully conversant with the issues, and she thought casting an uninformed vote would be worse than casting no vote at all.

    I told her: “there is actually no way in hell to become adequately conversant with any of the issues, such that there is a scientifically-justifiable choice of vote available to you; and also it is not uncommon to look back, in the fullness of time, on your first vote and think Christ, did I ever fuck that one up, I was bloody ignorant about everything…”

    But of course without a first vote, there can never be a second vote. And we learn by doing, not refusing.

    Thank you, Andrew: I really want to learn by doing, here! Acts lead to activity, maybe even one day to activism. Well, we can hope.


  2. Zom says:

    Hmmm… on the Iran plus Nukes thing, everything I’ve read/heard recently (Radio 4, Economist, News Week) seems to strongly suggest that the Obama administration have no taste for military action at all. I’m sure there’s pressure to use military force, not least from the Republicans, but diplomacy and sanctions still appear to be the name of the game.

  3. plok says:

    Obama doesn’t need a war with Iran to win re-election. Obama doesn’t need anything to win re-election, except the current Republican nomination process. He’s free and clear that way. Also, ha! War with Iran? That would be like going to war with France, it would cost ten trillion dollars at a minimum. It can’t be done. The U.S. is not actually geared to a military economy, they aren’t about making war…they’re about making money. I’m surprised Iraq didn’t totally bankrupt their…

    Uh…oh yeah.

  4. Zom says:

    Unless things have changed distinctly over the last couple of weeks, I think it’s bluster and spin. The detail that’s been coming out of the administration, seems to go in the opposite direction to some of statements in the press. There’s also the recent military refocussing on the Pacific area to consider.

    I have to say the idea of Iran with nukes does kinda scare me. Not sure whether that has any rational basis, however (other than more nukes=bad), and of course military action is by definition always a bad thing even if it’s justifiable and sensible, which it rarely is.

    • plok says:

      I have no idea about the Iran/Nukes thing, because since Iraq I know I can’t trust a goddamn thing the U.S. government says. For them to say “Iran has nukes” is like them saying “blah blah blah blah blah”. That well got poisoned, The major American news organizations are a poisoned well too; their manoeuvring has been equally laid bare by Iraq. Canada’s no better, and the UK’s no better. There just isn’t sufficient checkable information available anymore, to even know if you’re hearing bullshit just by listening to it.

      • plok says:

        Not casually, anyhow. Hey, you want to know what a state the news is in, in Canada? Check this out: I get my news from the Guardian.

  5. Zom says:

    I don’t think that’s true, but you have to work for it rather harder than I would like. And, sorry the rest of the world, but the UK *is* better – there’s a lot wrong with the Beeb, but there are good, solid, global news programmes on Radio 4, particularly The World Tonight, and a number of thoughtful documentaries like Analysis and The Report, and frankly More or Less should be mandatory listening for everyone ever.

    As for the specifics, the IAEA reports seem to suggest that Iran is working towards a nuclear device, or at least want people to think that they are. The clandestine operations – including the recent computer virus attack and the various assinations – suggest that Israel and/or the USA seem to think so too.

    By the way, I’m not advocating military action here, I just think there’s a much more solid to be case for Iran working towards weapons of mass destruction than there ever was with Iraq.

    • plok says:

      I spoke way too hyperbolically there: the UK’s definitely a lot better than Canada and the U.S., as far as access to something you might reasonably call “news” goes, so I have to retract that. Many media people in the UK do still care about the exercise of true journalism, I think. From here, though, the runaway institutional rot makes a very effective screen between the citizen and the world, so it gets a bit depressing. I’m basically down to pure conspiracy-theorizing when it comes to Iran, it’s extremely hard to shut out the noise in the news!

      So maybe I was letting that frustration show in that comment, a bit!

      • Zom says:

        It’s not just about caring, it’s about having a publicly funded media organisation subject to stringent impartiality laws at the heart of British journalism. A lot of the British press are fucking beyond awful!

        • plok says:

          We do have that as well, in the CBC, but the institutional rot is a much more serious problem. You also have newspapers that do a lot more violence to the language, and that are much more openly propagandistic, than we do…but (as far as I can tell) these are also placed alongside papers where standards of writing and editing and just thinking in general are much, much more advanced than anything we’ve got. A friend of mine asked me recently if I’d ever want to be a newspaper editor, and my answer was “not anymore; not in North America anyway. Maybe in the UK, where people still give a damn and haven’t just checked out.” As far as TV current-affairs programming goes, we have a handful of newsmagazines worth their salt (that are constantly under threat for that very reason, natch) but by and large the centre is kinda rotten, and so not doing its job. The BBC definitely beats hell out of it in that sense! So despite the famous shittiness of the British tabloid etc. etc., at least there’s news and commentary of a higher standard available! I watched an interview show online with Laurie Penny on it, and in many ways it was just crap infotainment, the moderator was not exactly a sharpest journalistic knife in the drawer, but at least she was a knife, even if she was a butter knife. Whereas with a very few exceptions, we only have spoons to choose from over here.

  6. waldo perez says:


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