Ever think of Marvel and think, “Huh, you know how they can be apolitical? By using Captain America, the super-soldier who punches Nazis”? No? Well, good for you! You’d be in the majority. It seems, however, that Marvel is trying to take a neutral stance and thinks that their Nazi-fighting good boy from Brooklyn is the way to do it—truly, a mistake.
In a new comic meant to honor the publisher’s history, Marvel Comics #1000 contained an essay by comics writer Mark Waid that talked about the state of America and what it means for a symbol like Captain America. The problem is that the essay was dropped from the issue, replaced by one less critical of America, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter based on early versions sent to retailers, with the final retail version on sale tomorrow.
(Waid has since told Newsarama, “The only comment I’ll offer is that the abridged version that’s being circulated by news outlets severely mischaracterizes what was actually written,” so we’ll certainly be interested to see the final version of the essay. You can already read the original in full.)
Here’s the thing: Captain America never has been and never will be apolitical. Sorry! Jack Kirby and Joe Simon literally made Captain America as a symbol for resistance against bigotry, racism, and hatred, so … he’s not apolitical in nature. As io9 points out, this isn’t the first time that Marvel has censored a writer to remain an apolitical body.
The situation with the Marvel Comics #1000 essay appears to be another example of Marvel Comics censoring its creators in an attempt to be apolitical, to the detriment of the company and its audience. You may recall EiC Cebulski going on record on the subject almost one year to the day: “We can’t get too deep into the politics,” he said of Marvel storylines.
(This is all also strikingly similar to another recent incident.)
What’s funny about the idea of not going “too deep into the politics” is that Captain America: Civil War is a real movie based on a real comic run that exists and is, if you recall, very political in its themes of security vs. freedom, especially in the 2006-7 timeframe it was released.
What’s interesting about this “apolitical” approach is that it’s happening now, after both Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are dead. These two created these characters with a message, tackling the issues in the world around them through heroes and their approach to a situation. Take away Captain America fighting against the injustice in America, and what do you have? A kid from Brooklyn who wants to punch things.
If you put Captain America in this current political landscape—as you should, because that’s why he was created—he’d hate that Nazis were being “protected” because of their right to free speech, and I’m pretty sure that Steve Rogers would march his American Ass to the White House and have a few words with Donald Trump over how he treats women, people of color, and anyone who isn’t rich and white.
So, while Marvel seems to think an apolitical approach is best, that’s definitely not the case. You have heroes who have political backgrounds who take a stand against injustice, and trying to turn them into something that is “apolitical” is a disservice to the characters and their creators.
(via io9, image: Marvel Entertainment)
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