Posted by: Doc Comics | February 12, 2010

Superhero Politics in REAL time

Hope you’re enjoying your snow day vacation, thrill-seekers, and using the extra time to tweak your Superhero Icon paper for Monday between snowball fights and hot cocoa.  Meanwhile, a real brouhaha over comic book politics has crept into the headlines. The upcoming Captain America #602 originally had this panel of what closely resembles Tea Party protesters with The Falcon musing, “I don’t exactly see a Black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry White folks.”  FOX News jumped all over it as racist and a political smear by writer Brubaker to discredit the Tea Party movement as “loonies.”  Amidst a firestorm from the outraged Right Wing blogosphere, Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada agreed to edit out the panel he explains as a mistake, despite the fact that the slogans and demographics are indeed based upon actual Tea Party protests (see the ‘update’ here).  Meanwhile, Marvel issued an official apology “for having a story align too closely to the politics of the moment.”  Ironically enough, the story arc of Cap’s death-cheating return is called “TWO AMERICAS.”

Despite a history of Nazi-busting then Commie-crushing traditionalism embraced by conservatives, this isn’t the first time RightWing Pundits have gone after the post-Watergate Captain America for being a “traitor and appeaser,” raising questions over exactly what kind of America Cap stands for as our leading super-patriot.  Related to our discussion of GL/GA last week, this episode also begs questions about the plus and minus of telling “relevant” sagas about currently divisive socio-political issues, the limits of superhero storytelling as mass-marketed commodity, and their conflicting rhetorical functions as ideological fantasy and existentially self-reflective myths.

Captain America #193, 1976

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Responses

  1. Just a clarification here. This book actually shipped on January 20th to your local favorite comic stores. It sat on shelves largely unnoticed until a right-wing blog nut decided to make a point about it here: http://www.publiusforum.com/2010/02/08/marvel-comics-captain-america-says-tea-parties-are-dangerous-and-racist/

    (That is the first comment on the entire topic I have been able to find anywhere.)

    The “removal” of the offending sign will apply to any collected editions published in the future. A classic example of superhero comics’ love/hate relationship with mass-media attention. A few years ago when they killed Captain America, Marvel couldn’t flog it hard enough to the mass media. In this situation, they can’t run from the spotlight fast enough.

  2. Good points, Tim. Here is a fanboy who GOES OFF on the idiocy on his blog to make the following point: “When Captain America is written properly, its uncritically patriotic Americans who are ALWAYS the most important problem…”

  3. And the relevant issues keep getting weirder and more timely.

  4. “5 Surprisingly Leftist Moments in Captain America”
    http://www.nerve.com/entertainment/the-five-most-leftist-things-captain-america-has-ever-done


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