We all have our guilty pleasures.
Not a big deal, there might even be some health benefits to it in relation to stress and more. I’d like to think a lot of this blog is devoted to savoring and enjoying guilty pleasures.
And one of my biggest guilty pleasures, is comics.
After a hard day at work, there’s nothing like stretching out and watching people with magical alien wish granting rings of different hues fighting zombies. No politics, no religion, just plain fun.
Which isn’t to say that comics can’t discuss politics or religion, but at least usually with those, you know what to expect. I know it might be good, but I don’t read Preacher because I’m not in the mood for religion. Barack the Barbarian might be 8 kinds of awesome, but I get enough politics from the 24 hr news channels and the internets, I don’t need any more from my comics, thank-you-very-much. Again, let me be clear that I have no problem with these comics existing, people are free to slake whatever thirst they have, but they are under no disguise or trickery to get me to read them.
Enter Captain America.
You know, the WW2 hero who died recently and just came back to life to fight a 20 ft tall Red Skull in front of the Lincoln memorial. I had heard a lot of good things from Ed Brubaker. I picked up some trades shortly before Cap’s death, read them, and then finished out Bru’s run because they were great. Right up there with Geoff John’s Green Lantern series as what I want from a comic.
Then Brubaker had to go and not only insult me, but violate the core of what Captain America is all about in issue 602 “Two Americas part 1”.
Savor the lines a moment:
“A grassroots anti-government army”
“…looks like some kind of anti-tax thing”
“I don’t exactly see a black man from harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks…”
Of course they’re all being led by an insane man according to the comic, and Captain America is there to stop them.
First of all, the very idea that the tea-party movement is “whites only” is not true (but then, how many black people are in Boise Idaho in the first place?). Second of all, let the full idea sink in: Captain America is going to fight an “anti-tax, anti-government” movement.
What’s next? Captain French is going to fight wine makers? Is Captain Britain going to beat up some… British stereotype? Hey, I remember an anti-tax, anti-government from around the late 1700s. They had some real rebels in there with names like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hancock, etc etc. How about after this Cap beats up on today’s tea-party movement, he go back in time and beat up those protesters?
What’s even worse is seeing the reaction around the internet. Some people are cheering at the thought of Cap beating up “tea-baggers”. To demonstrate the problem with that, let’s suppose two comic fans are talking: Rick & Dan.
Dan: No way! You’re a Green Lantern fan too?
Rick: Heck yeah! Did you check out the latest Blackest Night?
Dan: Of course! How kick ass was Mogo?
Rick: Beyond the ability of words to describe!
Now, let’s examine the scene again:
Dan: No way! You’re a fan of Captain America?
Rick: Through thick and thin!
Dan: This latest issue is so great! He totally beats up on some stupid tea-baggers.
Dan: It’s so awesome.
Rick: I attended the last, local tea party. Are you saying you’d like to see Captain America beat me up?
Way to divide people and ruin friendships Brubaker.
I’m not blaming Marvel editing. I’m not even going to protest Marvel or advocate a boycott. They are free to print whatever they want just as I am free to read or not read whatever they print. However, some estimates put the attendance at the various tea parties at close to 300,000 people. Are these people that would buy or read comics? Who knows, but is it a wise business practice to alienate that many people (plus any sympathizers) and ENSURE that they won’t purchase your comic?
I thought I would almost never see a comic as stupid, verisimilitude violating or insulting as JLA #83, but I was wrong. Whatever you may be a Captain of, it is no longer America, sir. You and Marvel will just have to do without one more fan.
Update: James Hudnall has probably the 2nd best critiques of this I’ve seen (after mine of course ;)). Also, Marvel will apparently change a few things when this issue goes to trade paperback. I’ll voice my opinion on that when 603 releases.