Captain America hates America

Posted: February 22, 2010 in Non Fiction
Tags: ,

I don’t know if anyone paid attention to the Captain America controversy over the past couple of weeks but at one point it got extremely amusing. The story got picked up by several media outlets and caused a storm of anger and snark all over the internet. Some sites reported it as a straight news story while others editorialized the heck out of it. Luckily for me I am not a news site so I can editorialize as much as I want. But I don’t think I will. Politics in comics are hard to get right at the best of times and with the tumultuous times we live in it seems like an even harder line to walk. In response to the outcry from tea party supporters and vociferous members of the “news media” Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada responded in his “Cup O’ Joe” column with this;

“Hold on. Before digging into this, you’re starting from a false premise. There was zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration. Ed [Brubaker] simply wrote in an anti-tax protest into his story to show one of the moods that currently exists in America. There was no thought that it represented a particular group.

And yes, what Ed said is absolutely true, he does shy away from labeling things and did exactly that in this instance. In Ed’s story, there was no connection to the Tea Party movement, that’s a screw up that happened after the fact and exactly what some people are getting upset about.

There is one legit criticism in there, and a lot of not so valid stuff, but let’s dive into this. By the way, for those that haven’t read “Captain America” #602, here’s your spoiler warning: read no further lest you want to know what’s going on.

In the story, our new Captain America – who is Steve Rogers’ old sidekick Bucky Barnes – and Sam Wilson the Falcon – another ex-sidekick of Steve Rogers – are in search of an armored super-militia group called the Watchdogs who attacked a sheriff and his squad and have set up roots in the hills outside of Boise, Idaho where they are building a weapon and planning an act of terrorism against the people in that town. Keep in mind that the Watchdogs have been villains in the Marvel Universe since 1987. Bucky and Sam hatch a plan to infiltrate this group and defeat it from within so they travel to Idaho. The idea behind this was to expose them both – in particular Sam (who has been portrayed most often as a leftist leaning character) – to other parts of America. While in Idaho in search of the Watchdogs, they come upon an anti-tax, anti-big government rally, which is something that Sam, in particular, hasn’t been personally exposed to, and it hits him the wrong way. Here, at this moment in the story, Sam is the fish out of water. This, however, is where Mr. Houston misreads what’s happening in the story. He assumes that the people protesting in the streets are the Watchdogs, when in fact they are not, so this is an element that is taken out of context. These protestors as written by Ed are no different than protesting crowds he wrote into issues of “Cap” last year. Only those protestors were angry about oil prices skyrocketing and the housing market problems. So in short, the Watchdogs, and the protestors aren’t connected, they just happen to be in the same story.”

The critics of the comic haven’t been placated by Quesada’s reasoning. While scanning the comments at the Washington Times web article on the controversy I was somewhat surprised by the level of anger in so many of the commentators. These are a few of my favorite comments from last week.

No Party said
Joe Quesada must think people are stupid…although if you are an adult reading comics…he could be spot on. It wasn’t a stupid accident or error…monkeys weren’t sitting in front of a typewriter and accidently put those slurs on the sign, someone at Marvel did, and that person is too cowardly to own up to it . If I thought anyone from MSNBC moonlighted . I might think they were involved, but my guess is that it is a Marvel Comic troll.

ONTIME opined
The Tea Bag idea (follow the Constitution) must be a bit to simplistic for the extrordinary intelligence needed to draw a comic book picture, so why not clutter the idea with liberal hate and bias and call it good?

miroj1 offered
This is all we need, ultra-liberal media organizations trying to brainwash people with their political agendas…and now comic books? Is nothing sacred anymore? I mean we’re all supposed to be Americans. You would think Captain America would believe in the American dream…not socialism…

tuckerscot responded with
miroj, no nothing is sacred to a liberal. Have you ever had the misfortune to have to sit through a Captain Planet cartoon? Pure left wingnut propaganda.

My question to you dear readers is this; is Ed Brubaker and Marvel Comics using Captain America to further their socialist agenda or is it just another instance of people being offended for no reason? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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