Greetings, True Believers! It is I, your magnanimous leader, back once again to lay some knowledge on you from beyond the computer screen.
Ok. We all know what I have to talk about this week. Hail Hydra. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read “Steve Rogers: Captain America #1.” There will be a little
So Cap threw his partner out of a plane and said “Hail Hydra,” while the flashback story said his mom was approached by Hydra in the 1930s, suggesting that he has been Hydra all along. Everyone has lost their minds over the idea that Cap would be Hydra, many of whom who write about it thinking that it is permanent. We all know its not permanent any more than Batman was dead or Spidey was Doc Ock. It will be alternate memories or time travel or something. In five issues, we will be onto something else and it won’t be a big issue. But here’s the thing – the creators did it.
Some things can never be unsaid and some lines shouldn;’t be crossed. If Batman just shot Joker in the head one day because he had false memories or whatever the excuse may be, it would not be okay. If Peter Parker chose to let a crime happen because he was too tired or busy, it would not be okay. There are foundational aspects of each character that cannot be fudged, even temporarily.
My point is that the creators of these characters are sacrificing their integrity by doing things like this just to sell the next issue. Characters in stories become part of our culture, and part of our lives. Many people, myself included, hold these characters as sacred. They are role models and heroes and friends when you have none.
Personally, I give more creedence to Spider-Man as a role model than most humans, living or dead. I am a reporter in large part because of Spidey and the Daily Bugle. I have taken life lessons from these comics and they shape the way I see the world, in the same way others take lessons from their religious texts.
And I know I am not the only one to hold them in such reverence. I understand that this is a big weight for those responsible for creating the future of the characters, but they are inheriting a legacy from those who came before, those who safeguarded and molded these characters into role models for kids and adults.
And it’s not a huge list of things to watch out for. We can abide a bad story line or two, we can handle the deaths and rebirths and elseworlds. But there are certain lines each character should not cross. Cap did, and fans are outraged because, for some, it’s like seeing John the Baptist beat someone up.
I read an opinion piece about the Hail Hydra fiasco, specifically that people are so divisive over the issue and it is being handled terribly online, with death threats and horrible things being said. The piece ended by stating, “Behave in a way that would make Steve Rogers proud.” I agree with the article – expressing hate and death threats is wrong and there is never an excuse for that. But the “make Cap proud” line really touched me. If Cap saw something was wrong, he would speak out against it and not just “get over it.” This lack of respect for these characters we hold so dear is really upsetting me and it’s not right to sacrifice their integrity for sales.
And so, without any threats or hate, I express my disappointment in Marvel Comics and what they have become. Stan Lee, in the 1960s, was tired of having to write comics for sales only so he did one issue the way he wanted to do it. It was The Fantastic Four, and Marvel was born.
Comics now are returning to a “for sales only” mindset and it’s not right. Literally, there was an issue of Previews plugging a Falcon cameo in Astonishing Ant-Man #3, that read, “Please buy our book, movie-watcher people!” Marvel is not what it used to be and I feel betrayed and dissatisfied with what they have become.
Normally, I would lay back and say, “Whatever, what are you gonna do?” But this has come too far now. It is time to speak back to Marvel, in a civil way befitting the respect held for their creations, and tell them that this is not okay. Write to the creative team and tell them what you think.
Write to the Marvel Heroes office at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, True Believers, Fight On!