Captain America #602 has caused quite a stir. In this one issues we’re given all the ingredients of a controversy: current events, politics, racism and one of the worst apologies (ahem…lie) I've ever heard.
The Story Synopsis: Nick Fury and James Barnes (Bucky, The Winter Soldier, Captain America with a gun, you know the one) look at footage of the crazy 1950s Captain America (William Burnside) who had his physical appearance changed along time ago to look exactly like Steve Rogers. Crazy Captain America has apparently set up shop in Boise Idaho and he’s still all crazy and bent on getting his country back…whatever that means. But, he’s crazy, so who knows what he wants.
Fury and Bucky are worried that the real Captain America, Steve Rogers, will go bananas when he sees that Crazy Captain America is back on the scene.
So Nick decides to send Bucky and The Falcon to clean up the mess. You with me so far?
A "tea bag" reference in a recent Captain America comic book that has angered the Tea Party movement will be removed by Marvel Comics in future editions, the story's writer told FoxNews.com. – FoxNews.com
Shortly after this news report hit the apologies ensued:
BleedingCool.com did a good job of laying out the responses from Brubaker and Joe Quesada so I won’t repeat it here in detail. But it’s very obvious Brubaker and Quesada are trying to play this off as a mishap, an editorial mistake. Brubaker was quoted as saying:
“I don’t know who did it, probably someone who thought it was funny. I didn’t think so, personally. That’s the sign being changed to something more generic for the trade reprint, because I and my editor were both shocked to see it.”
Shocked? Really? Brubaker is clearly political and anti-Republican. Here are some of his tweets:
VA GOP leader tells workers to compare Obama to Osama because "both have friends who have bombed the Pentagon." Someone punch that guy. 10:46 AM Oct 12th, 2008 from web
So, apparently Judge John Roberts punked Obama and said the oath of office wrong. What a douche. 9:16 AM Jan 20th, 2009 from web
@joe_hill Yeah, I loved when they cut to Bush after Obama rejected everything he stood for. That was nice. 9:40 AM Jan 20th, 2009 from web in reply to joe_hill
Memo the everyone: Who cares if the GOP likes Obama's planst? They got us here with their ideology, more of that same thinking won't help. 1:36 PM Jan 26th, 2009 from web
Clearly there's a bias here. After reading these tweets there’s no way you should believe Brubaker was “shocked” to see what was written on the signs. Sure, maybe he was shocked that the signs were filled with it, as he did not write the signs, but as we will get to later in this post, the story that he wrote clearly lays out the same message.
Then it was Quesada’s turn. He explains the signs were left empty by the artist so Marvel had to rush to fill in the blank white signs with some text. And this is where Joe Q. throws his letterer under the bus, as told to CBR:
“The letterer in his rush to get the book out of the door but wanting to keep the signs believable, looked on the net and started pulling slogans from actual signs. That’s when he came upon this one. (CBR shows this sign) And used it in the scene and off it went to the printer. Unfortunately, to make the deadline, the work wasn’t double-checked thoroughly, and it was printed as is, which is where we as an editorial group screwed up. We spoke to the letterer, and he was mortified at his mistake and was truly sorry as he had no political agenda.”
Now, c’mon Quesada, let’s not say that Mr. Caramagna has “no political agenda”. It’s clear from reading his tweets he firmly has a political agenda.
And for your reading pleasure, here’s some samples of his Caramagna’s tweets:
What's the over/under on how many minutes it takes a Fox News pundit to blame Obama for the Ft. Hood shooting? 4:26 PM Nov 5th, 2009 from web
RT @alexirvine: "52% of GOP voters nationally think ACORN stole the election for Obama" http://bit.ly/3GiMtm - because Fox makes you stupid 9:56 AM Nov 19th, 2009 from TweetDeck
How can they say in the same breath that Obama has both "ruined the country" and "not done anything." How many mindless people just repeat?7:02 PM Jan 6th from TweetDeck
I'm now praying to baby Jesus in heaven that President Obama and his secret socialist agenda puts all of these people out of business.11:27 AM Jan 14th from TweetDeck
Now Obama's terrible because his response to the quake in Haiti was too fast. Gee, how predictable. Who takes the right seriously anymore?12:23 PM Jan 14th from TweetDeck
RT @BarackObama: This is it—the polls are open in MA. Your calls can help send Martha Coakley to the Senate: http://bit.ly/7-5#MASen Pls RT8:20 AM Jan 19th from TweetDeck
Hey, you guys who claim Obama is taking away your freedom? Looks like we just lost our country to the corporations:http://bit.ly/5c43MS12:14 PM Jan 21st from TweetDeck
Now, I’m not saying Mr. Caramagna can’t have his political beliefs. And I’m not saying he can’t spout them on his Twitter account and blog and still be a fine comic book letterer and artist. But damn Quesada, don’t throw him under the bus like you did and not have your facts right. No political agenda? C’mon!
Plus, I love how Joe says:
“…but ultimately the onus falls on me as E-i-C.”
…only after he has already blamed the letterer.
But as I said before, I don’t think the signs are the most controversial aspect of the story. So here’s what I think should really be torking people off.
We can assume the script was not changed by the letterer, right? And the script clearly labels all non-big-city, Republican supporters, protesting current politics, as racist.
So here we go, my thoughts on the script.
The story opens with local sheriff's department in Boise Idaho being attacked by the Crazy Captain America. The Sheriff’s vehicles are blown up, law enforcement officers lie critically injured and Crazy Cap says:
“All right, boys, pack it all up…we head for the compound now. And then we go get our country back.”
And not only that, but the title to this story is on this page and we see it’s called “Two Americas”. So we can assume this tale’s not going to be about bipartisanship and most likely we have a decisive and “politically agenda” orientated tale on our hands?
But this is superhero comics, so not too controversial so far but it's obvious things could go down hill from here.
The story jumps to two days later. Bucky and Fury decide they need to take crazy Captain America out. Sam (Falcon) and Bucky go together to take care of the situation.
Eventually they get to Boise Idaho and come upon a protest which Bucky proclaims:
"…some kind of anti-tax thing".
And then there's this:
Notice Bucky says:
“We’re not in New York anymore Sam.”
So apparently, if you don't live in New York you all hate the government? Okay. Thanks for clarifying that Brubaker and Marvel. (Oh yeah, and you too Disney).
But this ain't nothing yet. Because then this lovely panel hits:
Notice The Falcon says:
“I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks.”
Also in this shot you see the signs which have caused the controversy surrounding this issue. But again, I don’t believe the signs are the most offensive part of this story. To me, the most offensive part is how Marvel portrays readers who disagree with the writers/editorial teams political views, as racist.
But it gets even better (ahem…worse).
Bucky and Falcon come up with a plan to infiltrate these small city, conservative (sarcasm alert!) racists by having Falcon pose as an IRS agent trying to close down a local (read racist) bar while Bucky poses as a white trucker (read racist) who takes matters into his own hands by punching Falcons' lights out.
So, the main thing Marvel wants us to know: Apparently white people in small towns are so stupid and so racist they will cheer on a guy that just guaranteed a federal arrest and IRS audit for himself and the bar owner. All in the fun of hitting a black man with opposing views?
At this point in the comic it's very obvious the story Brubaker and Marvel Comics are telling.
Making matters worse, and here’s the most shocking part, after Bucky punches Falcon he then throws out his briefcase and yells:
"And don't forget your briefcase Obama!"
So now Marvel has attempted to label people in small towns who oppose current governmental changes as white people in small towns who are racist enough to punch anyone who has the same skin tone as President Obama?
Isn’t it racist to even write a script like this? To think that all black people are the same because they’re black? What kind of racist thoughts are going through Ed’s head anyway?
Joe Q. then goes on to say:
“…assumes that the people protesting in the streets are the Watchdogs, when in fact they are not, so this is an element that is taken out of context.”
Oh great! So that’s even worse! The white, small town racists are NOT actually a part of the Watchdog group? They’re just typical small town Americans? Joe…it was better when those “racists”, which your writer and editorial team clearly mark, were part of some crazy militant Watchdog group and not ordinary Americans!
But at the end of the day, this issue will rise up in price on the back lists and will increase demand for future issues. Any publicity, good or bad, is publicity right? And we all know how Bru loves controversies, he loves increasing his sales with publicity.
(And, is it entirely coincidental how this issue, and the controversy surrounding it, are hitting during Black History month? Hmmm…)
What do you all think?
P.S. And to think that my favorite run as a child was the highly political Ann Nocenti, “no nukes”, Daredevil run. Go figure…
Labels: Comics, Marvel Comics, Politics in Comics