Thursday, February 11, 2010

Captain 'Merica

Marvel's E-I-C Joe Quesada recently apologized for a panel of art in Captain America #602 which depicted an anti-tax protest with a sign reading "Teabag the libs before they teabag you!" The apology came on the heels of Fox News picking up the story with commentators describing it as "a chorus of critics who noticed the apparent jab at the Tea Party movement and who accused Marvel of making supervillains out of patriotic Americans.”

I really wanted to take some time to state the obvious. The sign is inappropriate and should have never made final print. This has nothing to do with politics but because the sign refers to a sexual act. I think the mistake is more or less an innocent one and shouldn't cost anyone their job. Marvel did the right thing by issuing an apology and scrubbing the art for all future editions.

Fox News has absolutely no grounds to object to the comic. Their stating that Tea Party Activists are being made into supervillians is laughable. The activists in the issue represented a political climate and were not the antagonist of the issue. The hypocricy here is that the sign in question was taken from an actual Tea Party protest! Fox News is actually chiding Marvel for accurately portraying an anti-tax protest.

Fox News also noted the Falcon's (an african-american character) dialogue where he told Captain America he would not be able to infiltrate a crowd of "angry white folks". Is this a disingenuous portrayal of an anti-tax party and, as Fox News describes them, the "patriotic Americans" that attend them?

What I suspect is the root of this problem is actually Fox News' view of who comic books are written for. I believe that the anger Fox News generated by this issue of Captain America is because they still believe comics are written for children and they fear kids will be indoctrinated by whatever liberal ideology they think is in them. Comics are not written just for children anymore. Fox News is guilty of ignorance of the medium as a whole, an ignorance shared by unfortunately much of this country. Until comic books are viewed as a quality story telling medium and not just a genre for kids, the industry will be hamstrung by those that don't understand it.