Monday, June 13, 2016

This Captain America Thing

As you may or may not know, Captain America was recently revealed to have been a Hydra Agent all along. Marvel editors had a Time interview pushing the comic and Marvel's been all-in promoting this story. Predictably, the retcon about the guy who exists to fight Nazis having been a member of a proto-Nazi organization this whole time has gotten a lot of ire from fans.

I finally threw in the towel on superhero comics when one o’ my favorite superh- people, Midnighter, who is cool as fuck, learned he was dating Prometheus in disguise. Prometheus, one o’ my favorite villains used his proximity to Midnighter to lure him into a trap, circumvent his fight computer, and then just fuckkin’ stab him for reals. Then? Then? Midnighter punches him to death.

That’s it. Everything was turned against Midnighter, but then he just won. No explanation. No story beats where Midnight turns those advantages around. No bit where it’s explained (explicitly or not) that Midnighter is Midnighter because he’s a bad motherfucker, circumstances, powers, and blood loss notwithstanding. Then Prometheus escapes because of course he does what a load of chicken shit.

So now the same song that called me away is playing to fans of Captain America. He’s got a new #1 dropping and it reveals that he’s always been Hydra since his mom was drawn into them back in the day. Marvel folks have been going to every media outlet they can to trumpet this shit. Not a dream! Not an imaginary tale!

1) First, I haven’t read any of that shit. Comic book publicity (and even criticism to some extent) is a media cycle intended to generate buzz. Making Captain America a fascist is a marketing ploy. The game charges you for educating yourself and then says you can’t criticize it if you haven’t paid.

Now a lot of respected comics writers are talking about how we should let the story play out. That is absolutely correct; at some future date, we can look at the whole run and make a judgment. But Marvel knows their comics come out monthly and they opted to step out and say that this wasn’t a dream or an imaginary story, etc. In this moment they are selling us the story that Cap has been a fascist this whole time so yeah folks are angry. You can’t rake in enthusiasm over a concept, but then say “wait and see” when that concept draws in ire. They that sow The Big Event shall reap the nerdrage.

2) It’s a terrible thing to do to the decided anti-Nazi Captain America to make him a supporter of Marvel Universe NeoNazis. Other folks have said it better than me (here, here, here). If your heroes are owned by corporations, they will be revenue generators first and cultural fixtures second. You could protest the overly-long copyright laws which entities like Marvel and their parent company, Disney, have long fought to extend so they don’t actually have to make new, creative content. If Captain America were public domain, where he belongs as an endearing element of American culture, this would not have happened.

3) Don’t drag Chris Evans into this. I can’t tell you what to do here, but leave him out of this. He’s a talented guy doing a job for The Man. Don’t use him to bolster your grievance. We like him and he doesn’t need to get called into a meeting because he didn’t smile intensely enough every millisecond he was holding the book for this one character he plays in a couple of movies. It’s his job. Don’t.

4) Nick Spencer is an adult and he’s been in the industry a while and seems to be sporting a huge boner over knowing how this story ends, but don’t clear editorial on this. Editorial wanted to make this a high-profile event and approved/conceived of this idea and went all-in on it. I’d like to think that part of Tumblr’s ethos (if not the ethos of the internet) is to go in on the highest level; make the bastards with the big checks pay.

5-10,000) And don’t send anyone death threats??? Don’t send them wishes for violence?? Maybe consider not spamming negative things to them on social media? A hate mob will generate buzz and wander away. The economic model of superhero comics is about generating buzz and hoping the hate mob doesn’t wander too far away. Marvel couldn't be any happier that all of this controversy has eclipsed whatever it was DC was doing (I think it was another reboot).

You don’t need my approval to shit on people on the internet, and peppering people with negativity may or may not be harassment, but you gotta explain why it’s not to folks.

Anyway, this is the song of my people and I'm playing it for those of you who are still trying to stay on the rocking, sinking ship of superhero comics.

No comments: