“Fox and Friends” took on the most recent Captain America comic, and their frustrations, while poorly explained, are worth examining.
Let’s give some backstory on the latest in the Captain America comic series, which the “Fox and Friends” folks riff on. Sam Wilson (the Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie in The Winter Soldier) has been Captain America for at least a year now. Steve Rogers lost his powers, got old, and is now essentially a general.
In the past couple weeks, Marvel has been rolling out its All-New All-Different line of comics. They’ve rebooted their books, replacing characters and working in alternate versions of others. If you’ve been away from comics for a while, much of the current line-up (with the exception of Tony Stark) is different.
This relaunch has been marred by quite a bit of criticism from the online activist types. When they announced a Blade series that would star Blade’s daughter (a black woman) and the writer of the book was revealed to be Tim Seeley, a white male, outrage ensued. This book has yet to be released.
When Marvel announced a book about Red Wolf, a Native American, to be written by Nathan Edmondson, he was subject of multiple articles attacking him for being the wrong race; claiming, without evidence, that he is a perpetrator of harassment; and complaining that he once worked at the Leadership Institute, the biggest sin of all.
The new Captain America book is written by Nick Spencer, another white male who is writing a minority character. Spencer once worked in Democratic politics. He was not subject to any of the scrutiny or outrage that followed the previous two examples.
In comics, this cycle is not new, and it’s not limited. Certain creators are capable of getting away with pretty much anything, but those who have not ridden the cult-of-personality wave are less fortunate. The vocal crowd around the industry now demands you swear fealty to the progressive cause, or face its wrath.
Captain Hating America
Now enter the new outrage: All-New All-Different Captain America No. 1.
Point being, no one is attacking your political views, unless your view is it's okay to kidnap/violently attack people. End of story.
— Nick Spencer (@nickspencer) October 16, 2015
That’s the writer of the book, progressive-splaining, if you will. Hold on, missed a few boxes there: white-cis-male-hetereo-normative-progressive-splaining. That ought to be all of 2015’s required check boxes.
Now, checking the “offense” rulebook, it seems you can’t tell anyone they can’t be offended, so therefore, equality being equality (we’re going with the dictionary definition here) no one can tell conservatives when they’re allowed or not allowed to be offended. Not to be cliché, but conservatives have feelings, too (except Ayn Rand, but she’s… special).
Nick Spencer is white, Captain America is black. Past outrage about Blade and Red Wolf ought to indicate the comics community requires a strict no-nonsense policy of outrage towards creators writing characters of other races. So where’s the outrage? Why does Nick get a pass?
If you’re going to express outrage over one white-cis-male-hetereo-normative using his privilege to write a minority character, then really for equality’s sake you must do it for the rest. Where’s the thought piece, Mary Sue? Comics Beat?
Let’s dig. There we go, favorite comics gossip site hails hero Nick Spencer for his wonderful life in politics. What party did he work for? Democrats. That’s fine, but it does color the work, just like conservatives’ politics colors theirs. Trying to act like it’s not there, or that what’s written is impartial, totally a-political, and definitely not utterly vilifying the opposing view, that’s when there’s a problem.
There’s a Definite Political Slant
Let’s look at some choice moments from the comic.
“Let’s just be honest here — this country is a divided as it’s ever been.” On that we agree, Captain. Naturally, this bit of narration occurs above a scene of Captain America at a wonderfully over-the-top marriage equality parade. Never miss a chance to push an agenda.
He follows, “and this is not some intellectual debate.” It’s not? “People are dying, our streets are burning, inequality is soaring.” That these horrors of horrors are on the rise is highly debatable. But okay, Captain America is a busy guy, and intellectual arguments are hard. They require facts and research, and let’s be honest: superhero comic books maybe aren’t the best medium for solving federal overreach and its subsequent cronyism.
Carrying on: “I have a side.” Do tell. “The more I saw the people I believed I was standing up for being walked on — the more I heard a noise machine spouting intolerance and fear. Drowning common sense out…” The following page features a selection of news headlines. Guess where that “noise machine’s” leanings lie. “Cap VS the Constitution,” “Sam Wilson: Captain Anti-America,” “Captain America Goes Partisan.” The fact that the word “Constitution” is even present should tell you all you need to know about who that “noise machine spouting intolerance and fear” references.
The issue is that no one is admitting how terribly one-sided this stuff is. Nick can write as much political commentary as subtle as a brick-to-the-face as he wants, but to act as if this book is not highly antagonistic towards conservatives puts him and Marvel squarely, to steal a phrase from Adam Carolla, into the category of either “stupid or liar.”
Hint: they’re not stupid.
Try Treating Fellow Americans Charitably
It doesn’t stop there. Not even close. Captain America holds a press conference, which doesn’t go well, and takes to social media, asking for anyone who sees injustice to report it to him so he’ll deal with it. Fine. Cap’s gone freelance. That’s great, actually. He’s sort of becoming the Uber of superheroes.
An old lady calls him from Arizona. Her son has been aiding people crossing the border, yada yada, he’s obviously not engaged in technically criminal activity, yada yada, Sons of the Serpent (essentially Marvel’s KKK stand-in) took him.
So off Cap goes to Arizona, but first makes a crowdfunding stop-off in Harlem so he can buy his ticket for coach. Back in the desert, a group of presumably illegal immigrants are crossing the border, and the Sons of the Serpent arrive.
Some lines from the Serpents: “By invading this sovereign land, you defy the laws of God, nature, and the United States Constitution… until the mighty wall is built, you come here for employment that is rightfully ours! And if denied it, you seek welfare paid for by our tax dollars! … look who it is, y’all! Captain Socialism … apologizing for our country’s greatness that you have time to come down here and flout still more of our laws…”
Seriously, this is what the villains are espousing. It’s a lot of conservative buzzwords given a murderous edge, and that’s that. Together with the overall tone and narration of the issue, conservatives have every right to be angry.
Going back to Captain America’s earlier observation that “this country is a divided as it’s ever been,” we agree. Mainly because one side of the argument unilaterally paints the other side as racist, murderous monsters who are “spouting intolerance and fear” and “drowning out common sense.”