I attended my first comic convention when I was 12.
My collection is contained within numerous bookshelves, short boxes and a few long boxes scattered around my house. It’s rare that I don’t go to see a superhero movie in theaters and it’s usually opening weekend. Currently, there are 3 sketches done by professional comic artists hanging throughout my house as well as a handful of lithographs and prints. I have at least two lithographs and one original page of art from an issue of Wonder Woman waiting to be framed.
I have managed to interview numerous comic book industry professionals over the years. From small indy writers and artists to the one of the head honchos at Marvel.
I don’t say this to brag. I just want you to know how passionate I am about the medium. I love comics. When things have sucked, I always had a good comic to read. Nothing gives me joy like sharing a trade of a series I love with someone who has never read it or talking to my young nephews and nieces about their favourite superhero. I love geeking out with anyone at a convention about my favourite books.
Comics are awesome.
But last week something happened that just makes me question why I would ever go to a convention or comic book website again.
The trouble started with a reveal early last week of the last page in the latest issue of Captain America.
Steve Rogers revealed that (apparently) like his mother, he was a member of Hydra.
As far as the internet fans were concerned, the world was ending at the hands of the bastards at Marvel who were most assuredly Nazis.
And then it got worse.
Dan Slott, who nicely tried to smooth things over via his twitter account (possibly due to having dealt with a similar situation during Superior Spider-Man), was proclaimed an Anti-Semite and a tool by numerous keyboard warriors. Keep in mind, Dan is Jewish.
Ed Brubaker got so fed up with being bugged about a book he hasn’t had anything to do with in years, made an open statement not to bother him about superhero comics, ever, or you’d be blocked on Twitter.
And Nick Spencer, the guy who wrote the Captain America? He got death threats.
How did we let internet stupidity get to this point?
Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what people see as the problems and let me solve the whole thing for you quick.
The main bone of contention is that Marvel is betraying the essence of Steve Rogers. Rogers was built to fight Hydra. There’s no way he would switch sides. If you want to dig deeper, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, both of whom were Jewish creators, created Captain America as a Nazi-crushing character. He represented their feelings towards the Third Reich and while they might not be able to stop Hitler in real life, Captain America represented their hopes that the tormentor of their people would be stopped. By having Cap side with Hydra and the Nazis, it’s a slap in the face to it’s creators.
But I have an easy fix for these people. It’s really simple and if you happen to be one of those people, I want you to take a deep breath and read the following out loud.
It’s the first issue of a comic book series.
I understand why some would be angry about this but not for the reasons that are given. As many others have noted, this isn’t the first time Cap’s been a Hydra/Nazi agent, including a story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (both of whom are Jewish). It’s the first issue of a new run and any comic book reader worth their salt will tell you that things will be back to normal at some point, some how. I mean, look at Steve Roger’s history over the past two decades. He’s been Cap, quit being Cap, was Cap again, was dead, was alive but not Cap, became Cap again, became old and not Cap, is now young and Cap again. How many stories have we seen where Rogers has lost the super-solider serum in his blood only for it to be returned/regained/remade later (best guesses seem to put it around a minimum of five)?
By the end of the storyline, Steve Rogers will be back to punching The Red Skull in the face, regardless of what the Marvel PR machine is currently saying. It may be six issues, it might be a few years, but it will happen because that’s how comics work. Superman is now on death number two. Cap is a member of Hydra. DC is looking at bringing back pre-52 continuity. It’s a cyclical beast. Always has been, always will be. Peter Parker was dead and Doc Ock had control of his body but eventually Peter returned.
And by no means do I think you have to like the story or even be quiet about it. Free speech is one of those things that I think we all need and should use but too many people don’t think before using it, especially when it comes to a fictional character. Take a minute to examine the issue, collect your thoughts intelligently, make your concerns known but try to do it intelligently as opposed to being a bull in a China Shop.
I don’t know Nick Spenser. Couldn’t tell you what he’s like but even if he was a jerk, he doesn’t deserve death threats over a comic book. No one does.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!