Last week, we saw a breakthrough moment in the fight for diversity in the comic-book world, with Marvel announcing its first-ever movies with black and female superheroes in the lead role. While any progress toward equal representation in the subgenre is something to be celebrated, the fact is that we’ve still got a long, long way to go. With each new blockbuster the company makes, I keep finding myself asking the question: Will Marvel ever create a knuckleballer superhero?
It’s shameful that, in this day and age, I still need to ask this question. Knuckleballers have been subordinated and ignored for far too long, and it’s unconscionable that they’re still given zero representation in superhero films. Cinema holds a mirror to society, and by choosing to exclude knuckleballers from movies, Hollywood is essentially denying our very existence. But why? Don’t they realize that today’s moviegoers—both knuckleballers and non-knuckleballers alike—are ready for a knuckleballer hero?
Knuckleballers have been subordinated and ignored for far too long, and it’s unconscionable that they’re still given zero representation in superhero films.
Imagine this: a quiet, unassuming man who by day suits up as a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but by night dons a much different kind of uniform—something sleek and red, with flames on the chest and a mask over his face that looks like two baseballs with eyeholes cut out. He is The Knuckler, the world’s most powerful knuckleballer superhero. He vanquishes his foes by throwing his flaming knuckleball, a power he acquired after finding a mysterious, ancient baseball deep in the catacombs of Fenway Park. Also, he has a lair that looks like a really high-tech bullpen.
This is just one possible idea.
Despite the laudable strides they’ve made, it is outrageous that Marvel still doesn’t have a hero like The Knuckler on its roster. Not as a sidekick, not as a supporting player—nothing! With the right leading man and a little bit of studio support, I’m confident The Knuckler could take the box office by storm. And considering that knuckerballers have been known to pitch well into their 40s, you could easily cast someone like me into the role and it wouldn’t seem out of place. I’d be really good at it, and I could even share my knowledge about the knuckleball to help with the script.
The other day, my 4-year-old son looked at all his superhero action figures and asked me why none of them were like Daddy. It absolutely broke my heart, because I didn’t have an answer for him. This isn’t how it should be in 2014. Society is rapidly changing, and people are tired of the same old superheroes. They’re ready for The Knuckler. And it’s up to Marvel to give audiences what they need.