Kathy Shaidle

Tea Parties: like Kryptonite to Marvel

Posted on February 12 2010 12:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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From “Captain America #1”

Well, that didn’t take long:

In the latest issue of Captain America, issue 602, current Captain America, Bucky Barnes and The Falcon are attempting to infiltrate a group called “The Watchdogs”, an anti-government militia group that has begun to swell in its numbers as of late.  (…)

Cap and Falcon are observing an anti-tax gathering, and several of the signs in the crowd indicate anti-tax and government sentiment. (…)

Falcon, an African-American superhero, comments that he “didn’t see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry White folks”, in response to Cap’s suggestion that they try to infiltrate the group.

Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada went on to explain that the issue was on a tight deadline for release, saying that when they noticed several of the protest signs at the rally depicted in the book were empty, the editor of the book asked the letter to “fudge some quick signs”, which were pulled off the internet from images of Tea Party protests in order to make them more believable.

After news of the upcoming issue broke earlier this week, conservative pundits had a little fun, and a few commenters snarked. But nobody I’m aware of called for the comic book to be altered or banned.

And if they did, they’re idiots.

So I’m troubled that Marvel is going to alter a “controversial” panel in new editions of the number.

However, I’m also troubled by “Tea Party Nation” founder Judson Philips’ reaction to Marvel’s statement; he “said it sounded less like an actual apology and more like a ‘sorry we got caught.'”

Huh? Marvel “got caught” doing what? Creating a comic book  he doesn’t approve of? Marvel used actual Tea Party protest signs in its illustrations; what is there to “apologize” for? I thought Tea Party-ers were all about that First Amendment thing…

Anyhow, Marvel’s evolving politics have been subject to considerable criticism from conservatives over the past few years. Michael Medved penned a piece called “Captain America: Traitor” in 2003:

In a special introduction to the hardbound edition of Captain America: The New Deal, Max Allan Collins (author of the acclaimed graphic novel The Road to Perdition) praises Marvel for its edgy content. He cites the determination to “take this classic character of a simpler time into the smoky aftermath of September 11th” and “this story’s courage and ability to examine the complexities of the issues that accompany terrorism… specifically, not to duck the things America has done to feed the attacks.”

(Speaking of the “smoky aftermath of September 11”, Marvel’s, shall we say, ambiguous feelings about the event didn’t stop them from cashing in on it, by issuing a limited edition collectible):

Of course, times were tough back then, and Marvel was pretty desperate for cash. That was before Marvel got bought up by Disney and got friendly with Apple. Next year, there’s even a Captain America movie coming out. Naturally, being the first in a possible series, it’s an “origin” story. Funny, though, that famous origin story seems to have, er, evolved a bit since the days with Cap’ was punching out the Fuhrer. Here’s that official origin story, from the Marvel website itself:

Steve Rogers was a scrawny [WPA artist] in the 1940’s before America entered World War II. He attempted to enlist in the army only to be turned away due to his poor constitution. A U.S. officer offered Rogers an alternative way to serve his country by being a test subject in project, Operation: Rebirth, a top secret defense research project designed to create physically superior soldiers. (…)

Rogers was given a costume modeled after the American flag, a bulletproof shield, a personal sidearm and the codename Captain America. He was also given a cover identity as a clumsy infantry private at Camp LeHigh in Virginia. (…)

Rogers met President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who presented him with a new shield made from a chance mixture of iron, Vibranium and an unknown catalyst.

But here’s how the 2011 movie will begin. I’m thinking… Hugh Jackman…?

Captain America has not yet been cast, but whoever gets the nod to play the supersoldier in the upcoming live-action movie will need to take dance lessons.

Director Joe Johnston says his origins movie, The First Avenger: Captain America, will justify the superpatriot’s stars-and-stripes costume by turning the Marvel Comics superhero into a performer for the USO during World War II.

“Captain America is up onstage doing songs and dances with chorus girls,” Johnston told the Hero Complex blog. “After he’s made into this supersoldier, they decide they can’t send him into combat and risk him getting killed so they say, ‘You’re going to be in this USO show,’ and they give him a flag suit. He can’t wait to get out of it.”

At least, that’s what’s on the story boards.

For now…

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