Marvel Comics has started a bit of hoopla this New Comic Book Day, with the release of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1. In this issue, Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, dons the costume once more and sets out to fight the good fight against the forces of evil. But in the closing pages, a huge twist that will have ramifications for the entire Marvel universe is revealed.
I won’t say what that twist is here, I won’t spoil for you a comic that has just come out. Comic Book Resources goes in depth with the spoiler here, if you’d like to be spoiled.
No, this isn’t about the spoiler specifically, or even the reaction to said spoiler, but rather the reaction… to the reaction of the spoiler. I know. My head hurts, too.
People are outraged by this spoiler. People are boycotting Marvel, people are threatening to burn their entire collections of Captain America comics, people are taking to Twitter and Facebook to voice their disgust. These are not the people I’m talking about.
No, the people I’m talking about are those responding to these fans. The people who are saying things like “it’s just a character!” or “it’s just a comic book, he won’t be a [SPOILER] for much longer!” or “stop overreacting!”
Here’s the thing, this particular twist isn’t the run-of-the-mill story twist. It’s not your cookie cutter plot twist that you see coming from a mile away and know in your heart will be retconned in a few issues. This twist is one that stretches all the way back to the conception of Captain America, it tarnishes the very idea of Captain America and what makes him who he is and always has been. It spits in the face of his Jewish creators in a way that is heartbreakingly sad and honestly very hard to deal with. It’s more than a simple change of personality or costume that fans don’t care for, it’s a change of the very definition of the character itself.
I feel the reaction has been justified. I feel like the people calling out fans as “overreacting” and telling them that “it’ll all be different in the next storyline, anyway! comic stories are retconned every month!” don’t get what Captain America truly symbolizes and what he means to, not just Americans in general, but a very specific cross-section of Americans.
Count me in the camp of people who hate this twist, count me among the masses who feel this is a cheap and dirty ploy to grab some media attention away from DC Comics and their big story changes going on right now (“REBIRTH”).
That said, I am willing to see where the story goes. I’m willing to see how they handle this grievous misstep in character management, this colossal misunderstanding of their own flagship character, and where they go from here. I’m a fan of story, after all.
But don’t fool yourself for one second into thinking that Marvel didn’t just do irreparable damage to one of the most beloved, and culturally important, characters in modern mythology.
Current Proof of Life:
Current Auditory Stimulation:
The world outside my window is a swirl of greens dancing on the wind, people mowing their lawns and walking their dogs, the birds taking wing to the sky and the squirrels skittering across branches. A world in motion, as I sit behind this keyboard and think about life.
It’s been almost two months since my father passed and it feels as though it just happened yesterday. They tell you it gets easier, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t found it slightly easier to cope, but what they don’t tell you is that the pain never leaves. It doesn’t get easier in a way you want it to. The ache doesn’t dull, the memory doesn’t fade, the tears don’t sting any less. It gets easier to pry your focus from it, it gets easier to push it into the back of your mind. But the shadow of it, the sheer weight of it, doesn’t leave you.
I still can’t find the strength to refer to him in the past tense. It feels wrong, it feels like I’m pushing him away if I do.
I haven’t truly slept since it happened, certainly not well. I’ve gotten sleep, but it’s been fractured and not restful. When my sleep is deep enough to dream, the dreams shock me awake. In the last week alone, I’ve woken up crying and unable to breathe on two separate nights. Melatonin has been unsuccessful, as have been over the counter sleep aids.
Saturdays have not been the same. I don’t think they ever will be. I’ve found the trick is to have something to look forward to on Saturdays. Yesterday, it was Chinese food for dinner. Last week, I had ice cream after work. The Saturday before that I saw a movie. It doesn’t change anything, but it takes the edge off.
“How are you?” a concerned friend asked recently. My honest answer was “I alternate between tired and sad these days and the two intersect more than I’d like.” It’s the best way to describe where I am right now.
I will live. I will survive. This very same thing has happened to countless other people, many whom I know personally and care deeply for, I am not a special case. It’s a long journey and it is cold and dark, but I will make it to the other side eventually.