If Tucker Carlson, et al., at Fox & Friends were miffed at Marvel two weeks ago as Sam Wilson prepared to distribute a thorough beat-down of a paramilitary group Carlson described as “good American Conservatives,” they are going to lose their shit this week. I will go out on a limb and prognosticate the outrage within the Fox News Channel offices will not be limited to Tucker becoming so flummoxed he is unable to get his bow tie straight. I’d like to see Sean Hannity rub his two neurons together to form a salient thought and pontificate his views of Captain America, and how comic books are simply yet another example of how liberals have undermined the conservative foundations our forefathers fought so hard to establish. My clairvoyance also yielded a vision of Bill O’Reilly in the furious throes of penning a new book. See, Bill has killed Jesus, killed Lincoln, killed Reagan, so to continue the theme Bill must now kill Steve Rogers. I wonder if Bill when he gets to writing his own memoirs will call the resulting book, “Killing Myself.”
Issue #1 of Sam Wilson: Captain America gave Fox & Friends considerable fuel to stoke their furnace of burning ignorance. Sam Wilson as Captain America stood up for Marriage Equality, Voters Rights, Civil Rights, and a slew of other concerns facing Americans in a graphic montage depicting scenes from his life as Falcon into the present day experience as the new Captain America. Issue #1 has Sam Wilson faced with declining popularity, accusations of being anti-American and hating the Constitution.
Captain America then learns of a paramilitary group established in the American Southwest tormenting people crossing the Sonoran Desert. Going by the name “Sons of the Serpent” and led by a fellow calling himself the “Supreme Serpent” the group is clearly a contrivance of author Nick Spencer created as an analogy to the militia groups purporting to guard the U.S.-Mexican border. Just as Captain America is preparing to deliver some simple ass-kicking, though, a S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjet lands, dispersing Steve Rogers and S.H.I.E.L.D. troops. Readers are left hanging, thinking Sam is probably going to be arrested.
“Really? This is where we are? A terrorist group attacks border-crossers, and I’m the one you have a problem with?
The next six pages are simply fantastic, as Steve makes clear the true intentions of his arrival – to arrest the Sons of the Serpent. The Sons of the Serpent then turn on S.H.I.E.L.D., blowing up their quinjet. The true nature of Sons of the Serpent becomes evident, a group similar to other present-day militia groups who believe the U.S. government is being run by another, shadow government bent on implementing a series of new social, economic and political reforms known as the New World Order, and being run out of the United Nations. Sam and Steve then team-up, much like the old days in Harlem, and kick some Serpent-tail.
The scenes written by Nick Spencer and depicted by Daniel Acuna are really going to turn infuriate the talking heads within Fox News Channel offices. If you live in New York City within a few blocks of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, and listen closely – I know; it’s NYC. It’s noisy – you could make out the popping noise of heads exploding. The Marvel offices are at 135 W 50th, just a few blocks away. I wonder if those folks should have a lunch together, maybe, and talk. They probably eat at the same places – oh, wait – the regular people who work at Fox News probably could sit side-by-side with the creative teams at Marvel. I seriously doubt none of the on-air personalities would stoop so low as to eat with the bourgeois.
Many popular culture essayists and bloggers have picked up on the controversial story arc Nick Spencer is delivering. The reviews don’t seem to be mixed; either people love the new arc, or they make comments about Nick Spencer petty attempts to incorporate his liberal political views into Captain America, and how they wish he wouldn’t because it debases the Captain America, debases Marvel, and makes the comic book genre look bad.
I got news for you, True Believers, it is Captain America!. By definition, you must expect government and politics and popular culture to play a persistent role in each and every story arc. If you want safe, apolitical pure fantasy story arcs, then petition Dark Horse or Boom! Studios to develop Captain Kangaroo or Captain Crunch comic.
Furthermore, comics were born from politics, from social strife and injustice. Comics were propaganda in the late 1930’s, through the 1940’s. In the 1950’s, superheroes fought Communist villains. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, superheroes always stood up to government oppression, drugs use, tended towards pacifism with anti-war messages, and social justice. People who criticize Sam Wilson:Captain America have simply not been paying attention, have simply been skimming, and are guilty of under-appreciating the social commentary infused in many comic book titles over the decades. Chiefly at Marvel, Captain America and The Falcon were bastions of liberal ideals of social justice, safe-guarding and protecting the innocent, regardless of creed, color, race, or national origin.
I honestly do not know if Fox & Friends will continue their superficial and ignorant tirade surrounding Captain America. I can’t see how they can pass up some of the dialogue Spencer has developed. Fox & Friends love to have their buttons pushed. Tucker described the Sons of the Serpent as simple folk just taking the law into their own hands because the federal government won’t, and these are simply good Conservatives using the freedoms conveyed onto them by the Constitution of the U.S. to protect themselves and their interests
Steve Rogers recognizes them as “idiots.” I can’t really say I’m dying to watch the war between Marvel and FoxNews ignite, but I sort of waiting for such a thing to happen.
Like in the 1950s with the genesis of the Comic Code Authority, neither media nor government appreciate dissenting views seeking to undermine or challenge the perspective of those who process information and regurgitate disinformation like a Mother Bird feeding her children. I cannot see Fox News Channel sitting idly by while members of their viewing audience are vilified as terrorists, developed into a cast of characters both former and current Captain Americas beat into the Sonoran Desert dust.
Will Marvel create a media arm of HYDRA? Called The Founding Fathers Foundation, led by a Rupert Murdoch-style character cut from the same cloth as Kingpin, HYDRA would open another front, twisting the minds and perceptions of Americans and its neighbors while using the military arm of HYDRA to engage in directed attacks, killings, and acts of espionage with the ultimate goal of controlling not only the U.S. government and global assets, but also the United Nations.
One commentator I ran across (I should have bookmarked his page; apologies) wrote a piece I fundamentally disagreed with but he did have an idea rhyming with mine. While he vehemently opposed the new story arc in SW:CA as being a silly platform for Nick Spencer to air his politics, the author did share a notion of mine. Captain America and The Winter Soldier should be more engaged in local, regional, and global military actions. I completely agree with this sentiment.
Marvel needs to stop placing no-, or low-powered characters in ludicrous story arcs. The current Winter Soldier book is pure abomination, the best example of a complete shit book,. I would rather buy the new comic featuring rabbits trying to save Christmas by selling meth so they can buy toys to make up for the ones Santa won’t deliver because Santa died from a heroin overdose than buy Winter Soldier. What this other commentator says is a valid point: Use Captain America and Winter Soldier in stories depicting actions against HYDRA-infected extremist groups. Bring in other characters in support, like War Machine (James Rhodes), Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Black Panther. The opportunity to create some fantastic stories is going untapped by Marvel, and being tapped by other publishers, like Image, Boom!Studios, and Dynamite.
In closing, I think Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna are on the proper path of bringing considerable relevance back to Marvel stories, reminiscent of the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s. I appreciate their work, and am grateful Marvel has released the book to retailers. Additionally, I recommend Marvel continues to push these commentaries and keep conversations moving forward, keeping with the true tradition of comics as mirrors of social concerns and related policies. PAX.
Thanks to Derek Leslie (@sithspit) and Garrick Crump (@gscomics1) for helping push the message forward.
Thanks to recent email subscribers Philip Parton, A. Wallace, and G. Xalaris.