Friday, February 12, 2010
Speaking of Captain America Controversies -- Hulu Recommentation Friday: CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990)
There has recently been a bit of a row regarding Captain America (see here and here). Some conservatives are irked that the good Captain, and his friend The Falcon, are uncomfortable with a Marvel Universe political movement that bears similarity to the Tea Party movement.
I'd like to inform those conservatives out there who think that this is "new" or a "big deal" that they are wrong. While it could be argued that someone who was frozen in 1945 and who awoke in the late 60s (or early 00s depending on the retcon) might be conservative to the point of being out of touch with most modern Americans, but Marvel has never written the character that way -- nor are they likely to start anytime soon.
If you look at the history of Captain America's career since 1972, you see the following pattern. Captain America quits in disgust over Nixon's behavior. Cap retakes the mantle when Jimmy Carter is elected. Cap is ostracized by the Reagan administration, then fired and replaced by someone more conservative (today's USAgent) during the first Bush Administration. Captain America retakes the mantle during the Clinton Administration. During the Bush Administration, Cap fluctuates between favoring soft or hard power -- depending on the writer and the proximity of 9/11 -- before he is shot and killed after leading a Civil War against government superhero registration policies. Cap is "resurrected" during the Obama administration.
Most of these decisions were made for one of the following reasons. Either there were real world issues that Marvel wanted to engage in their comics to give them depth, or they needed to reassert the value of the Captain America brand and stop having "Nomad" (or "The Captain") wander Route 66. If you're conservative and you wanted Captain America to represent your political philosophy...too bad. He doesn't. He's a comic book character.
It isn't controversial and it isn't new. If you weren't so busy trying to be offended, you might just notice that the stories where Cap quits/is fired/is killed are some of the best runs in the history of the series. They demonstrate the depth of the character and his convictions.
Oh, and since when is pointing out the dangers of "movement" driven populist democracy Un-American? I thought the whole shared powers structure that the Founding Fathers set up was due to concerns with the power of faction and "fear" of majority faction.
WHAT IS CONTROVERSIAL...is that HULU watchers have given the 1980s movie version of CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 stars. 3 stars?! Really?! But it's terrible.