Fox News Takes On Captain America; Suffers Ass-Whooping

Sam Wilson ain’t Capt’n ‘murica, folks, and neither is Steve Rogers.

I grew up collecting comics. I’ll probably stop collecting comics when I die, maybe sooner. Or later. I haven’t decided yet. As I approach my half-century mark in years alive I figure I have some time to think about my hobbies.

Mainstream publishers, Marvel and DC Comics, spent too many years, about a score, being running one gimmick after another. Marvel killed Captain America. DC Comics committed some egregious story-lines, like the Death of Superman. I have to admit I did enjoy the breaking of Batman’s back in Batman: Knightfall. In misguided efforts to increase readership, these two leaders in comic book publishing took some massive course changes to pull in new readers.

Comics have always been a social thermometer, though. Even from their inception in the early 1930’s comics were created and designed not only to entertain but also to engage readers with social commentary, to promote nationalism, to support social causes, to identify evil or dangerous activities and act as a counterpoint to cultural responses.

One of my favorite books I try to collect as I can are old issues of Captain America and The Falcon from the late 1970s and 1980s. These books are simply brilliant and pure. Starting with issue 134, Captain America and The Falcon form a great alliance and friendship. Steve and Sam live in New York, share an apartment, and are often not in costume. The seem to lead normal lives when not fighting crime. They have girlfriends, try to get their rent paid on-time, grouse about doing grocery shopping, and who’s night it is to have the apartment in order to entertain their lady-friends.

Too often in comics today, we never seen superheroes doing anything other than being in costume – all the freaking time. One of the traits publishers have corrupted is the humanity of superheroes, sort of, and normal people able to relate to them. Dr. Bruce Banner carries this gamma-powered curse in his genes and lashes out uncontrollably when angry. Peter Parker is a high school/college student caught in the pathos of a young person raised by his aunt and uncle. Tony Stark is a recovering alcoholic with a heart condition. Today, pretty much all superheroes have incredible strength, fly, never take damage, share similar abilities. For instance, if Hulk punches Daredevil, there is good chance Matt Murdock will require a new comic book, this one based beyond-the-grave. And we rarely get to see their “normal” lives, instead they wear their costume on nearly every panel while being swept up in fantastical stories, like Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier. Exceptions to my comment do exist; Ms. Marvel is one of the best Marvel titles going particularly because of G. Willow Wilson keeping the story grounded in the life of a 14-year old Pakistani girl. Captain Marvel recently had a few issues pertaining to the death of Carol Danver’s mother from cancer. So, I am not without noticing some Marvel titles are doing good things.

My point is comics from Marvel (for the most part) and DC Comics have really strayed from their purer days. The new Hawkeye book from Jeff Lemire is a possible exception, and I really like Moon Knight. Marc Specter gets his face punched in regularly. I’m waiting to see where Mark Waid takes the new Daredevil series which should be hitting store shelves soon. Green Arrow is a good DC Comics title, Constantine, and Wonder Woman is positively stellar.

However, comics are not as socially biting as they once were; they lack the continual infusion of societal themes Congress found so irritating. In the 1950s, comics were seen as subversive, brainwashing youth towards socialism and corrupting our social fabric, and undermining the role and influence of the federal government. Comics were often biting commentary of ground-level problems in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our cities, and often national security.

This is precisely where comics need to live, in my opinion.

cap-am-the-falcon-power-to-the-peopleCaptain America and the Falcon stood up for New York, and especially Harlem. In a 3-chapter story arc (#143), Captain America and Falcon stand against the People’s Militia, essentially a racist group trying to burn down Harlem. The People’s Militia essentially a tool of Captain America’s old nemesis, Red Skull. Hydra and Red Skull become recurring villains for the next few issues as they try to undermine the creation of a new team, Femme Force (featuring Sharon Carter), try to destroy Las Vegas, and partner with Batroc in kidnapping teenagers from the streets. Some of these stories were written by Stan Lee himself, penciled by John Romita. Later, the social themes continue with scripts from Gary Friedrich and pencils by John Romita. In my opinion, these are some of Marvel’s best comic work, both in terms of the classic comic book art and in terms of being culturally relevant.

Marvel may be dipping back into the past and channeling the best of Lee, Romita, and Friedrich with a new book, Sam Wilson: Captain America. Marvel may have a winning book on their hands, with Nick Spencer writing and Daniel Acuna’s art. Why would I suspect success with this book? Simple: FoxNews decided to call out Marvel this week due to Captain America standing up to the racist, misanthropic, and xenophobic vigilante group, Sons of the Serpent. Just FoxNews hating on Captain America might be enough to drive interest and readership.

Wearing some odd mashup of a martial arts gi and Aztec warrior apparel, the Sons of the Serpent, a guy calling himself “Supreme Serpent” challenges immigrants wandering through the desert Southwest, threatening them with arrest and a dusty ass-kicking. Precisely what these destitute, impoverish people need, a good ass-kicking to inspire and motivate them.

In an image montage leading up to Captain’s appearance, Sam Wilson as Captain America stands in support of marriage equality as a member of a gay pride parade. We see protesters denouncing Sam Wilson’s Captain America as being a traitor, as being a fraud. I know, for instance, a fair portion of the comic audience is not happy with all of the changes in the Marvel Universe; a Hispanic Spider-Man, a female Thor, and now a Black Captain America. If you want to read a bit of how the Conservatives feel about Sam Wilson as Captain America, check out this diatribe from The Right Scoop. In case you prefer not to add traffic to that site, here is a taste of what you would miss:

Liberals can’t stand the idea of illegals being deported or a big wall being built to keep them from coming in. So they portray conservatives like Trump, Cruz, and others as right-wing terrorists and illegal immigration as something to be defended.

Geez, it’s getting harder and harder to give anything Marvel comics does the time of day. Heck, this season of Agents of Shield has an openly gay character who just finds out he has to go back in the ‘closet’ because of his newfound super powers.

But it’s the same in DC comics, as they are putting more gay openly gay characters in their most of their series like Arrow and Gotham.

The liberal agenda never quits which is why we need candidates who will stand up and strongly defend conservative values in a coherent way.

Read more, if you dare: The Right Scoop

Enter the intellectual giants at FoxNews “Fox and Friends” {like these, who needs enemies?}. The voice-over commentator states, “Rather than going after tradition foes like Hydra, Captain America goes after Conservatives.”

Tucker Carlson, appearing on Fox & Friends, then chastises Marvel and the new Sam Wilson: Captain America.

So many problems with their infantile psuedo-analysis, and yes, I do mean “false” analysis. Less than one minute into the segment above, anyone familiar with Captain America will detect how wrong their analysis becomes. Hell, even watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier is almost enough to expose Fox and Friends feeble-minded attempts of analysis. They do a fantastic job, though, of communicating their complete ineptitude about the comic book milieu, in particular showcasing gaping chasms in their knowledge of Captain America’s canon.

Fox & Friends pundits clearly have zero comprehension of the ideology of Hydra. The Sons of the Serpent, if not a branch of Hydra, are certainly acting in the spirit of Hydra. To use a more appropriate analogy, Sons of the Serpent are to Hydra as Al-Qaeda is to the Islamic State. In other words, they are nearly the same thing, the only difference is scale and scope. Anyone watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier must come away with the idea Hydra is fascist organization fixated on idealistic views of controlling both the United States and the world. Many of the views espoused by Hydra in the movie, submission to government authority, control of the media and speech, black government, and targeted killings are all aspects of portions of past, current, and future Conservative ideology of controlling people and populations. Simply look at the Patriot Act, warrant-less wire-tapping, Citizen United, Guantanamo Bay and the suspension of due process, rendition, and drone strikes – all policies implemented during the Bush-Cheney years.

In CA:TWS, Alexander Pierce lays out the plans to Project: Insight to Nick Fury. Project: Insight‘s primary agenda is the targeted killing of upwards of 20 million people in partial fulfillment of ensuring global peace, presumably. HYDRA had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. at its inception and has been working for decades to twist S.H.I.E.L.D. towards becoming the world’s executive authority.

Fox & Friends tries to cast Sons of the Serpent as mere Conservatives. From the Fox & Friends perspective, I can understand their position. Sons of the Serpent are Conservatives in the same vein as The Minutemen Project, the supporters of Cliven Bundy, and the Oath Keepers, groups of predominantly white fellows who appear at social protests, heaving armed and outfitted under the auspices of maintain order and enforcing laws. None of these groups are anything other than high-profile militia groups who have corrupted the interpretation of the Second Amendment. Sure, this is my opinion, but I’m not alone in this interpretation.

Tucker Carlson, who probably has as much experience in comic books as I do in algebraic combinatorics, makes this comment about the new issue of Sam Wilson: Captain America:

“The [Supreme Serpent] is an American who has misgivings about unlimited illegal immigration and the costs associated with it,” Carlson explained. “And that, according to the comic book, is evil.”

Tucker clearly thinks Sons of the Serpent are simple folk, dressed in black t-shirts, toting automatic weapons, and donning white hoods to hide their identities, harassing non-white people in clear contradiction to the underlying philosophy of the United States, a philosophy so highly touted the words were cast in bronze and attached to the base of the Statue of Liberty. I think it would be interesting to learn in a few issues the man behind the Supreme Serpent mask is himself an undocumented immigrant, using border politics to covertly hide other nefarious activities, e.g. Timothy McVeigh, and attempting to overthrow the U.S. government, using the assets of both HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Clayton Morris relishes the era when Captain America “used to punch Hitler in the face.”

The token female on the panel, Heather Childers, suggests Marvel should do a comic book on the opposite of this premise, with a story on

the people who are working the border to keep us safe…Keep politics out of comic books, that’s what I say.”

Fox & Friends has no problem bringing a militant, violent, and vigilante tone to this segment. Tucker waxes compassionately on the “Sons of the Serpent,” who, more to the point, are thugs confronting desperate people in the desert. Here is another quote Conservatives might want to look into; running contrary to their belief system:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The passage above is part of the inscription at the feet of the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island. I ask then, does not one of the fundamental characteristics underpinning our American society rest, nearly literally, on the words of Emma Lazarus? And, if so, can any of the groups mentioned above, either real or fictional, be truly cast as simple Americans “trying to keep us safe?”

In issues stretching from about #140 through #149 Captain America and the Falcon battle the People’s Militia, Tucker Carlson would probably describe as a “group of concerned Conservatives simply trying to make Harlem safer and gentrify the neighborhood,” who is reality is a group of racist white people trying to drive people of color from their homes. In later issues, S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to form a league of women heroes, Femme Force. However, in what might be seen as sexist today, the women who are supposed to form this feminist group keep getting assaulted by Red Skull, Batroc, et al., and require frequent rescuing from Captain and Falcon. At least Stan Lee was heading in the right direction. And, there are a few all-female Defenders issues floating around.

FoxNews/Fox & Friends has no idea of what they speak, bottom-line. As with all of their punditry, they are mere narcissists inanely soaking in the glow of studio lights. Captain America is not a spineless, unquestioning, super-patriot fascist Fox & Friends bloviators believe him to be. Steve Rogers/Captain America, if anything, is probably more libertarian leaning, supporting people’s rights and unalienable freedoms. Steve would fight for social injustice, would most likely have stood at Ferguson, worked towards minimizing poverty, drug abuse, fair housing, and against the unparalleled wealth of Wall Street. Steve would have supported Marriage Equality, and voters rights. Rogers, while not completely supportive of illegal immigration, would not have tolerated vigilante groups like Sons of the Serpent or Oath Keepers. Like Snowden and Assange, Rogers would not have tolerated a clandestine government, secretly meddling in the lives of U.S. citizens, meddling in the affairs of foreign governments, nor would have been a supporter of the Patriot Act nor Citizens United.

Dear Ms. Childers: Comic books have always been political. Try reading one. The best comic books have always been in lockstep with the social order and political atmosphere of whatever era that comic was published. Comics were born from the ashes of World War I, grew-up during World War II, and matured throughout the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Civil Rights Movement. Please, before speaking, I beg you, do some homework.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment. If it’s polite enough, I may let it pass my censors 😉

PAX

One thought on “Fox News Takes On Captain America; Suffers Ass-Whooping

  1. Reblogged this on Comic Shop Stories and commented:

    The Fox News Channel show, “Fox & Friends,” has singled out Marvel’s new comic book, “Sam Wilson: Captain America” for a heavy dose of criticism. In the book, Captain America takes on a border protection group calling itself, Sons of the Serpent, a thinly disguised amalgam of some of today’s real groups, like the Minutemen Project. Fox and Friends should stick to something they know more about and leave the analysis of comics to the experts.

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