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It has been amusing – has it not? – to watch the tempest in a teapot (pun to come!) brewing over the insane, far-right’s reaction to Captain America #602?  For those of you too elitist to follow this story, let me bring you up to speed.  In this issue the new Captain America* takes on a pseudo Captain America,** who heads up a domestic terrorist group.  At a protest rally, we see signs associating the evil wackos with the contemporary Tea Party “movement” — if that’s the right word for a staged, media-created pseudo political wackjobathon. 

In any case, Tea party wackjobathoners seemed not to like seeing their group portrayed as a bunch of crazy, mean-spirited white people. Go figure.  Says Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, “It’s really sad to see what has traditionally been a pro-America figure being used to advance a political agenda.”  First of all, you moron, “a pro-America” position is a political agenda.  Secondly, how come you get to decide which political positions are pro-America and which aren’t? 

Ed Brubaker’s Captain America has been one of the best, and most politically savvy, mainstream superhero comics of the past several years.

Now both writer Ed Brubaker and Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada (two guys for whom I have an enormous amount of respect, make no mistake) say the protest signs were an afterthought, added by the letterer and not part of any editorial decision.  Their explanation has the ring of truth, but the fact is the larger Marvel continuity has had what could easily be called a “liberal agenda” for quite a while. During the Bush years, Captain America led the group of superhero rebels who refused to surrender their personal liberty and privacy after the country hysterically passes a superhero registration act.  More recently, in the Dark Reign crossover event, media darling and uber bad guy Norman Osborn,*** has made numerous comments aligning himself with the American right.  

Comic books are often imagined as militaristic and jingoistic, and frequently they are, but they are also often concerned not only with the use of power, but the just limitations of that power.  While mainstream comics tend to shy away form tackling hot-button culture war issues directly, they have often implicitly endorsed the advancement of civil right and associated villainy with corporate greed.  In other words, potshots at the right are nothing new.  On the other hand, according to Glenn Beck, both fascism and Stalinist-style communism are liberal movements, and Captain America has spent the better part of the last seven decades fighting those things.  So maybe the jab at the right lunatic fringe is only some long-delayed equal representation.   

*The original Captain America, Steve Rogers, is off with his best girl recovering from recent traumatic events.  See Captain America Reborn #s 1 – 6.

**Really, if you have to ask, you don’t want to know.

***Yes, the former Green Goblin.  That Norman Osborn.  It’s a long story.

3 Responses to “”

  1. Paul Vaughn says:

    I saw this report on Countdown last night. The insane right just keeps proving how insane they are.

  2. I’d be curious to know what you think of Glenn Beck’s founder obsessions. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/36680/

  3. Ann Dorough says:

    Wackjobathon sums things up well.

    Have read and recommended every single last one of your historical/business novels (which if 1980s is now history that would include The Ethical Assassin too). Especially enjoy the outsider-looking-in aspect of most of your protagonists. What keeps you cycling back to this motif? Anguished childhood, or just a useful perspective device?

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