Captain America Goes Rogue!
Though covered point-by-point by Marvel’s EIC here, faithful followers of Ed Brubaker’s amazing run in the pages of Captain America
saw a wee bit of controversy spring up and out of the pages of issue #602 recently.
For those not in the know (*SPOILER ALERT*) the issue in question features the current Cap, Bucky Barnes, and former Cap Sidekick, Sam Wilson (Falcon) on an undercover mission in Idaho. As they make their way through the state that’s truly ‘More Than Just Potatoes‘, they happen to come across a group of protestors. Bucky makes a comment that the rally appears to be an “Anti-Tax thing”, and Sam remarks that he (“A black man from Harlem”) wouldn’t fit it with “a bunch of angry white folks.” And, due largely to a tight deadline, and slight error on the letterer’s part… the rally signs declared things like “Tea Bag Libs Before They Tea Bag You!” and “Stop the Socialists!”… This in turn ruffled the feathers of members in Nationwide Tea Party Coalition; and the anger-inducing Kool-Aid was thus passed out for the national media circus.
As explained by Joe Quesada, this wasn’t an intentional jab at a political entity, rather, it was a simple mistake. As the books’ deadline loomed, the editor noted missing slogans on the final press ready art. Marvel asked the letterer to quickly photoshop in some slogans to make it in before deadline. Quickly googling protest signs to add a ‘layer of reality’ to the book led to the aforementioned slogans being dumped into the artwork, which was quickly green-lit for the presses. When the error was eventually caught, Marvel apologized, and fixed the art files; ensuring reprints of the issue, as well the eventual printing of the trade paperback, would not perpetuate the mistake. This of course did not stop ‘Tea Drinker’ Warner Todd Huston from starting a flame war. Of course it didn’t.
But, gentle Comicmixers… this begs the question to be asked. While both Ed Brubaker and Marvel Comics have made it clear they opt to stay away from being overtly political in their books… what if they decided not to be. Comic books, especially of the Marvel or DC sort, are fiction. Doesn’t fiction (even starring widely recognized figures like Captain America and Superman) have the right to be as political as they want to be? While Joey Q. made the admission of guilt, and has done his job to quell the issues raised by the Hulk-like Tea Party Gang… What could they do, if the next issue did feature the Tea Party? What it Sam Wilson decided to join the Black Panthers? What if Bucky decided he was a Socialist (I mean they did save his butt from obliteration, no?)… The question really is: what right does any group have to say when it comes to works of fiction, comic or not?
Consider this an invitation to tell us how you feel.