Monday, September 28, 2015

The dhimmitude of Paul Levitz

Another desecration DC's modern staff is now performing on their universe is with their new, very PC take on Dr. Fate: that the character now wearing the costume is apparently a Muslim, and that only makes the New 52 even more repellent:
The new Doctor Fate book is giving us a Muslim Egyptian-American 20-something in the title role, which is pretty exciting. The preview not only lets us into Khalid “Kent” Nassor’s world as he deals with med school looming over his head, but also sets up the larger conflict of a potential flood that could destroy civilization. The art is enjoyable (like Black Canary, it pushes away from the house style) and I’m already intrigued by the plot.
Sounds like yet another ignoramus who's predisposed to liking their directions no matter how tasteless. And they even just had to make the current character's name a deliberate takeoff of Kent Nelson's name. As for the art they speak of, it looked very dull and unappealing.

Levitz was interviewed by 13th Dimension, and he tried downplaying the Islamic angle:
To me it makes a world of sense that Doctor Fate — or, more precisely, Khalid — is a Muslim hero. Not everyone sees it that way, unfortunately, so I do want to address the 800-pound gorilla: How much do you think that has affected the sales of the book?

Is he Muslim? He’s the son of an Egyptian father and an American mother, and until you read issue #4, you won’t know much about how he sees his religious heritage. The immigrant journey to assimilation usually has some interesting twists for attitudes towards religion, and we’ll see where this all takes Khalid.
Even if he's not an adherent to Islam, there's no chance they'll ever speak negatively about the Religion of Peace here. Besides, this was one of the same men who, when he was still more of an executive for DC, saw to it that they'd collaborate on a project with the Kuwaiti propagandist who published "The 99". The part about attitudes actually gives more reason to worry than it does to assure otherwise.

And Levitz also recently gave an interview to Newsarama about what they're doing with the current protagonist now, and said:
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about what's coming up in Doctor Fate?

Levitz: Much more, I hope, including some world politics, a bit of perspective on religion (how exactly does a self-proclaimed but obviously powerful Egyptian 'god' fit in a religion like Islam, for example), and so much more if we get the chance.

The book's gotten good reviews and critical buzz – I hope your readers will help spread the word, and push the title to where it can sustain a fairly long run. It's hard to launch a non-major-franchise hero these days, and we can use all the magic your powers can provide.
Any realist can guess positive reviews of this new take were deliberate; the medium does suffer from the same kind of corruption now that video games do. Levitz, who only confirms with that interview something's rotten here, used to be a very decent, reliable writer in the 70s and 80s, but since the mid-90s has become a pure disaster and a joke when he took up the job of a publisher. I've had to take his earlier work with a grain of salt, as a result, much like with Gerry Conway. He's also making the mistake of selling the book based on its starring a "non-major-franchise" character, instead of marketing it based on the merits of his writing, which haven't been so good in a long time, or, he's lost whatever talent he once had, not unlike Chris Claremont, whose own writing efforts of the past decade weren't inspiring.

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