In the wake of increasing conflict between die-hard fans of DC Comics and Marvel Comics, one group of DC fans is raising money to send schoolchildren from The Bronx to see Marvel's Black Panther movie. The funds were raised as part of the #BlackPantherChallenge, an initiative launched by Frederick Joseph to raise money to take Harlem children to see Black Panther in theaters. Joseph has called on people in other parts of the country to mirror his efforts - a challenge taken up by Oscar-winner Spencer, who is sponsoring a Black Panther screening in Mississippi. Thus far, the #BlackPantherChallenge has seen approximately 100 campaigns raise over $100,000, drawing donations from fifteen countries and all fifty of the United States.
Scheduled for release in a few short weeks, Black Panther is perhaps the most highly anticipated superhero film of 2018. Pre-sales for the film have already shattered the previous records on advanced ticket sales for a superhero movie. Meanwhile, Black Panther social media reactions - from the audience members who attended the movie's world premiere earlier this week - have been almost entirely positive, further fueling the furor in the build up to the Marvel tentpole's release.
The GoFundMe page for this particular fundraising effort was organized by comic news and discussion website Comic Book Debate. Site editors Sheraz and Zayyan Farooqi freely admit to being "DC super fans" but believe the ideals of diversity and community are far bigger than a preference for any one particular comic book company or film series. Sheraz Farooqi called the Black Panther movie "an event unlike any other that gives people of color, most importantly, children of color as chance to see themselves as the main hero."
The Farooqi Brothers' efforts stand in stark to recent reports of DC Comics fans organizing to sink Black Panther's audience approval score on the popular movie review tracking site Rotten Tomatoes, showing it's impossible to paint any fandom with a broad brush based on fringe groups. Citing the success of similar efforts regarding the movie The Last Jedi, a Facebook group apparently aimed at DC Comics fans claimed that their efforts were a retaliation against a conspiracy organized by Disney and Marvel Comics to use negative reviews to turn people against movies based on DC Comics properties such as Justice League and Suicide Squad. The group also plans to target future Marvel Studios releases Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Ignoring that this all-powerful conspiracy was somehow unable to turn audiences against Wonder Woman (which was the highest grossing superhero movie of 2017) and that Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Warner Brothers, there is reason to doubt that this "sinker" group represents the majority of DC Comics fans. It seems far more likely that the alt-Right groups behind the efforts to lower fan-approval ratings of The Last Jedi on-line (due to the film's diverse cast of racial minority protagonists and depictions of women in command positions in a military structure) are using DC Comics fandom as a smokescreen for their activities, after being exposed in their previous efforts. Any DC Comics readers who are seriously pondering joining any backlash against Black Panther would do well to consider the wise words of Superman in the above-pictured motivational poster.
Source: Comic Book Debate
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