Internet Learns: Don't Start a Flame War with the Human Torch

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Michael B Jordan Human Torch Fantastic Four Critical Blast

It's been said that every comic book is somebody's first comic book. I guess a corollary to that is that every superhero is somebody's favorite superhero.

Case in point: The Human Torch. This hotheaded member of the Fantastic Four started out as a teenaged, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian, just like his timid sister. And he's been that way pretty much since the 1960s, save for some very minor adjustments to his age.

But FOX is out to change that as they prepare to make (again) a FANTASTIC FOUR film. Cast for the role of Johnny Storm is Michael B. Jordan. And Jordan is black. Sue is still white, because now she's his adopted sister. The idea, I suppose, is to shake up the family dynamic -- or maybe the family dynamic had to be shook up in order to retrofit Jordan into the role? (If they'd been very daring, they could have kept the family bloodline intact, and had them be the children of a black father and white mother, but I guess Cheerios already broke that ground.)

Regardless of the reason, the die had been cast -- and the Internet went and lost its damned mind. And not in the good kind of way.

Well, Jordan wasn't going to take the comments lying down, and responded through Entertainment Weekly. "Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it."

Jordan's casting against type is hardly new. Marvel themselves did it when they created their Ultimates universe, in which they recast Nick Fury as African-American, based on Samuel L. Jackson. (Lucky for them they were later able to cast the real Jackson for the role in their blockbuster movies.) SMALLVILLE replaced the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Pete Ross with Sam Jones III, also African-American. And SUPERGIRL is ready to repeat that formula by throwing Mehcad Brooks into the role of James Olsen, Superman's pal.

To an extent, I get the frustration. Like I said, every superhero is somebody's favorite superhero, and they don't like them being messed with for reasons that don't come from story. But to be honest, he's the Human Torch -- not Spider-Man. Oh, but wait, didn't Marvel redo Spider-Man in the comics, doing away with Peter Parker and replacing him with the black Miles Morales?

If anything, minorities should be slightly miffed that the studios are only changing minor superheroes and ancillary supporting characters to have a more diverse makeup. But if you're going to get all that upset just because the new Human Torch isn't exactly like the original Human Torch... well, I have a bit of bad news for you.

The original Human Torch was a robot. Johnny Storm is just the blonde-haired, blue-eyed knockoff.

I'm sure there was a letter writing campaign of upset fans that their favorite superhero had been made human for no good reason.