As a matter of fact, Captain America IS suspicious of tea baggers…

02/24/2010

This is strange for me, so I’ll just  get it off my chest: I’m a comic book person.  Been one for more than half my life (that’s terrifying when put like that).  This hasn’t come up much because I’ve been focusing on my political interests here for a while, but finally the two have come together in the form Captain America #602.

For over ten years I read the whole family of X-Men titles religiously.  While I no longer buy monthly issues, I still try to stay on top of things with my old friends (despite some radical changes recently) through the burgeoning trade paperback market, and have  begun venturing further out into the Marvel Universe as all the titles have become increasingly interdependent.  Marvel’s flagship team, the Avengers, and their leader in particular, Captain America, had traditionally been too stuffy and hackneyed for my tastes, but the mega-crossovers have helped open my eyes to what can happen when treated with respect instead of camp.  In the hands of Ed Brubaker, Captain America in particular has been (mostly) brought out of the continuity ghetto created by 70 years of consistent publishing and thrust into the modern era to spectacular effect.  When the symbol of America can no longer go to war against the symbol of another country (because America’s enemies are rarely other political states anymore), some very interesting questions are raised regarding the role of the symbol of America itself.  These stories are thought provoking and much more involved than I expected  when opening a book featuring a guy with wings for ears.

Not everyone is as happy about this change of tone.  For example, observe this panel from Captain America #602:

The offending image

Yup, a totally inaccurate representation of the Tea Partiers.

This issue has drawn some intense fire from the right.  One Mr. Warner Todd Huston has been leading the pack against Cap, alternately belittling his “little red booties” and “little blue panties”.  To say that the whole post comes across as “touchy” is an understatement.  Fortunately, the folks at Comics Alliance have been kind enough to pull together an excellent rebuttal of this reactionary dreck and framed the issue (pun DEFINITELY intended) in light of Marvel’s overarching style. :

Though they have generally avoided the political arena (well, except that one time), the company has always stood firmly for social justice, which also became a huge part of the fans’ attachment to the brand — an ideal and an attachment that we would rather see maintained.

It may not play in every corner of the country, but for a company that makes its bread telling tales of heroic ideals, standing up for something might be just the kind of great responsibility that goes with their great power

It’s nice to see a reasoned response instead of the usual race to fight about whether the Tea Party is made up of angry, government hating racists.

The reaction to  this issue has been surprising to me.  The very people who spend their lives gathering intelligence and planning to keep America safe have been saying for almost a year now that there is a growing threat to our safety from radical elements on the left and the right (though one seems to be growing faster), only to be met with partisan responses to reasoned reports.  While each new report (like Sunday’s) raises less and less furor, the Captain America issue wasn’t something the mainstream picked up on until the professional offense takers began making a racket.  I think that says something about the public’s acceptance of this situation as rational.

I mean, even Captain America thinks it’s important to keep an eye on people who say they are mad as hell at the government and talk about revolution.  Don’t you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s