When it was announced that Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, there was a certain segment of the online population that went nuts. See, Heimdall - a relatively minor character in the Thor comics - had been traditionally portrayed as white, as had all the gods of Asgard. Even small changes like costume differences or hair color can send comic book fans spiraling into a rage, so the change of race made some people apparently shit their pants.
Turns out they’re not alone. The Council of Conservative Citizens, classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is riled up as well. They’re either linking to or running a website called Boycott Thor, whose mission statement is as follows:
It [sic] well known that Marvel is a company that advocates for left-wing ideologies and causes. Marvel front man Stan “Lee” Lieber boasts of being a major financier of left-wing political candidates. Marvel has viciously attacked the TEA Party movement, conservatives, and European heritage. Now they have taken it one further, casting a black man as a Norse deity in their new movie Thor. Marvel has now inserted social engineering into European mythology.
The Boycott Thor site also has an article that exposes the blackness of The Black Panther, and is horrified that T’Challa is portrayed as a genius. I really can’t tell if this is a joke or not; I couldn’t find out to whom the site is registered, and their Facebook fan page seems fairly legit (and has 150 fans). The Council of Conservative Citizens is undoubtedly real.
I’ve always felt there was a disturbing current of racism and homophobia that lies just under the surface of fandom, but it’s hard to sometimes tell whether it’s racial politics or semi-aspergian resistance to change the fuels hatred of casting choices like Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil. Still, it’s disturbing to see a race hate group standing shoulder to shoulder with rank and file nerds when it comes to casting like this.
Thanks to Jordan Hoffman for posting this on his Facebook wall.