Saturday, March 17, 2007

Captain America

Cap was my favourite comic book hero when I was a kid- my Dad even made me a shield once- but I haven't read any of his tales in a long, long time. As you know by now, Marvel decided to kill him off as part of their highly political Civil War series. Leftist, liberal politics infests Marvel- and a good deal of other comic book publishers- these days; odd when you think about it. What draws people who see the world through the rose-tinted lenses of moral equivalence to the realm of the black and white and good and evil?

There are a few comic writers left who don't agree with the way that comics are going (Frank Miller for one with his announced Batman vs Al Qaeda). Beau Smith's Busted Knuckles page features guest commentary by Graham Nolan, a comic writer/artist of some renown-

One of the greatest story arcs ever done in comics, IMHO, is the MANGOG saga which appeared in MIGHTY THOR 154-157. A virtual, how-to, on pacing a great dramatic action story. I won’t go into the story for those who haven’t read it, but there is a great scene in which Thor, trying to find Loki runs into a bunch of hippies. They start to bust on Thor because he’s such a “square”, and they don’t care about his needs because they “tuned in, and dropped out”. Thor, being the noble character he is, sympathizes with their free spirit and innocence (ie: ignorance) and gently reprimands them for being misguided. “’Tis not by dropping out-but by plunging into the maelstrom of life---that thou shall find thy wisdom”! He goes on to tell them there are battles to be won and causes to espouse, and that they can “drop out” when death is at their door but as long as life endures they must live to the fullest…”Else, thou be unworthy of the title---MAN!

Can you imagine this scene in ANY mainstream comic today?

Absolutely not- today's crop of comic writers seem to be more interested in putting their own politics into the mouths of their heroes.

Super-heroes are supposed to inspire us past our own fears and limitations and remind us that sometimes we have to take the high road and not do what is easy, but do what is right. Through super-heroes we should see ourselves…only better, not mirror images.

What we have now in current comics is ourselves. We live in a media controlled, me first world of self-absorption and this is now reflected in our heroes who are talking and behaving like frat boys instead of inspiring us though their words and actions.

Nolan's summed up the situation better than I ever could. How did we get from a world where superheroes actually stood for something to the world of today- when the makers of a Superman movie can't even say "Truth, Justice and the American Way"?

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