Badly Played, Marvel

February 10th, 2010 by Kyle

Kyle here;

So I’m really dreading this topic. It’s the biggest comics story of the week, and yet I hate the idea of talking about it. Geek Tragedy is not a political podcast – and in fact, we take pride in not being one. We like being a place where people can get away from all the bad news and divisive politics out there.

And then Marvel had to go and do this to us.

For those of you who don’t know, the just-released Captain America Issue #602 contains Cap (Bucky) and The Falcon, hot on the trail of some violent white supremacists, ending up in Idaho and encountering a group of protesters who bear a more than passing resemblance to the “Tea Party” protesters who have been in the news so much lately. I think it would be pretty objectively fair to say that the thinly-veiled Tea Party protesters are not shown in a flattering light.

The real-life Tea Party people got pissed. And Marvel is now backpedaling as fast as they can on this, in a manner that’s not particularly convincing. Joe Quesada says that “there was zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration”, and “There was no thought that it represented a particular group”.

That’s a load of crap, Joe, and you know it. Anybody who looks at the art in that issue can tell that it was supposed to be the Tea Party protesters.

Joe says that the thinly-veiled Tea Party protesters don’t have any connection to the white supremacist militia types that are the bad guys in the current storyline. Oh, really, Joe? Then why are they in the comic at all? Do Marvel writers make a habit of dropping random stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with anything into their stories?

So one issue here is Marvel’s unsavory attempts to weasel out of responsibility for its editorial decisions. And when I say “Marvel’s editorial decisions”, I pretty much mean Joe’s. Being EIC means that the buck stops with him.

The second is about Captain America. Captain America is supposed to be the embodiment of “truth, justice, and the American Way”. Well, he, or at least his comic, wasn’t in this case.

Whether you agree with them or disagree with them, the Tea Party protesters are American citizens peaceably exercising their rights of free speech and free assembly to express their views on policies of their government and to transmit those views to the people in power. The right to do exactly that is the essence of American freedom. The defense of those freedoms, even when exercised by people that one might disagree with, is what Captain America is supposed to stand for. And if he doesn’t stand for them, then he’s just another buff dude in blue tights.

Demonizing people for peaceably exercising their Constitutional rights is most definitely not what Captain America stands for. And that’s what you did, Joe. Any denials or BS aside, that’s what you did. In a Captain America comic. Not in Punisher. Not in Avengers. Not in X-Men. In Captain America.

I would suggest that this means that some people at Marvel really just fundamentally don’t understand what Captain America is all about.

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Categories: comics

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