It hasn’t been the easiest of times to wear the stars and stripes while wielding a shield. First, the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, was shot by his brainwashed lover, after he was arrested for opposing the government on the superpowered civil rights law. Then, he was trapped in time by his long-time nemesis the Red Skull, who sought to take over his body.
Meanwhile, Steve’s WW2 sidekick, Bucky Barnes has taken over the role as Captain America, and has found himself in opposition with a clone of Steve forming a militia with white supremacists.
It was this storyline, in issue #602, which has come under criticism from the right wing as of late, because the white supremacists are also tea-baggers. When I read this comic book a couple of weeks ago, I was proud that Captain America was taking a page from today’s headline’s and tackling fringe extremists. Marvel comics has a long tradition of doing so.
I’m extremely disappointed in Marvel for apologizing. Art is devalued when apologetic. What could have been a great storyline for Captain America comics has been watered down.
The comic has long used Cap’s sometimes sidekick, the Falcon, to tell racial stories. In a recent panel, President Obama called Steve Rogers into his office and was given a top-secret mission that readers don’t know about yet. Bucky will continue to wear the Captain America costume. Marvel could have embraced the controversy and told a story about irrational, racially fueled fear of the first black President is leading to political extremism. Marvel comics in the 70s and 80s wouldn’t have been scared. They wouldn’t have backed down. But, I suppose now that Marvel is owned by Disney, the comic book story-lines need to be Mickey Mouse.