In light of recent events, I’d like to issue a spoiler warning. Don’t read this if you haven’t read the latest comic news.
At least for now he is. And it makes me wonder how far this pushes the political spectrum of Marvel comics. Civil War was meant to push American values and superheroes to a limit which they’d never been before and in the folding conclusion of a Civil War that has seen heroes become political figures and other heroes turn to villains, an American icon, the representation of all things American is dead.
CNN covered the story and that shocked me. It didn’t shock me because mainstream comics are finally getting some press for the mass public. It shocked me because it’s Marvel’s representation of all things American. If Superman is to the DC the representation of truth, justice and the American way, then Captain America is Marvel’s representation of those same values. Now they’ve killed him.
I’m not American, and the closest I’ve come to understanding Americans was a recent trip to Austin, TX. Americans are very different people, but they are very proud people. If I have one complaint about my fellow Canadians, it’s that they aren’t nearly as patriotic as Americans. While a Canadian will stand and remove his hat for the singing of the national anthem, an American will sing along. It’s just the one thing I’ve noticed about Americans and I’ve carried it over in my reactions to Captain America.
He was created in the 40s as a piece of anti-Nazi propaganda: A super-soldier fighting Nazis, Hitler and all the evils of the world and triumphing. Out of the three Invaders, Namor, Cap and the Human Torch, Captain America had the most American appeal to readers because he was the all-American boy who would be the most representative of all Americans, both at home and fighting war oversees.
In recent events Captain America became the voice of reason, perhaps, for one group of people who believed in the freedom and individual rights of people. Captain America became a side of America that some might agree with, and some might not. In the end, he became the voice of ultimate reason amongst the chaos and this led to his death at the hands of an unknown source.
In some ways the comic reader can look at this in one of two ways: Marvel attempting to sell more books, with the premiere of a group of one-shots titled “Civil War: Fallen Son” and whatever outcomes spin out of this huge event. Fans can speculate as to who will replace Captain America in his costume, some can speculate as to what happens to the monthly Captain America series. People will speculate, internets will crack in half and Marvel will be bombarded with sales as a result. Joe Quesada even said in the recent CNN article “You’re going to have to read the books to find out”
In other ways, we can see people becoming discouraged with comics. The death of an American icon, even if it’s just comics, will discourage someone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel lose fans by doing this. This is just as big as killing Hawkeye, in fact even bigger, considering what Captain America represents. Someone will receive death threats over this, I’m sure.
That’s what Marvel wants though. In my last article I spoke about creating controversy and that’s what killing Captain America has done. It’s created a situation which allows the readers to react in their own emotional way, and it’s given Marvel quite a large boost on the international spectrum (not to mention the political) and they’re sitting there all excited because now they are a step or two ahead of DC. This is big news, and this will surely rock the world in a way that no one will really quite comprehend.
Whatever you choose do to just remember who Captain America represents and what he stands for. Don’t forget that he’s been a mainstay of the Marvel universe for sixty years, and is the moral equivalent of Superman to the DC Universe.
Let’s just wait and see how this unfolds. It’s a story, like every other comic book out there. Give it time and it will unfold and then we can all sit around and cast judgment on Marvel for this move.
Posted originally: 2007-03-07 12:47:07