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Stalwart And Steady And True
November 1, 2013 1:57 PM   Subscribe

The anti-Communist Captain America was ret-conned into being a crazed history graduate student named William Burnside who had himself surgically altered and then dosed with a flawed version of the Super-Serum, which drove him insane to the point where he saw communist sympathizers everywhere. The subtext isn’t particularly thick here: the “Commie-Smasher” was a paranoid wannabe, whereas the real Captain America is the “living legend of WWII” waiting in suspended animation during the Second Red Scare, who emerges back onto the scene with the arrival of the New Frontier and the Great Society. - Why Captain America Is the Progressive-Era Superhero We Need.
posted by The Whelk (80 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
/sets "Hitler Punching" to 11.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The larger point here is that unlike other patriotic superheroes (like Superman, for example), Captain America is meant to represent the America of the Four Freedoms, the Atlantic Charter, and the Second Bill of Rights – a particular progressive ideal.

Morrison would heavily disagree here, I think.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read a lot of Captain America fanfic, (argh, did I just admit that?) and sometimes the authors twist themselves in knots trying to make Steve come to terms with the strange new world he's in, as though he must automatically be your bigoted grandpa because of when he was born. This article does a good job of articulating why he probably had actually met a homosexual before he found himself getting all hot and bothered over Tony Stark.
posted by Biblio at 2:16 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Captain America is the better angel of our progressive nature, he should always be written like he's a WPA mural of workers banding together and gazing into the glorious tomorrow.
posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on November 1, 2013 [35 favorites]


There are a few errors of continuity here -- Steve didn't become a fine arts student, he just wanted to become one but was too poor to actually take lessons or attend art school -- and the Red Skull is an American industrialist with a secret identity and mask and everything, not a guy with a literal skull for a face as in the movies or the 1980s through 2000s.

I noted in a relevant conversation below that the 1940s Rogers is deeply, deliberately generic. All the "poor Brooklyn would-be art student" background stuff? That's from the 1980s, and happens after a failed attempt to make Steve the scion of a wealthy Maryland family with ties to the State department.

So the New Deal/progressive Captain America exists a little in his first few issues, largely vanishes for the duration and gets inverted for the 1950s, and finally starts to reemerges in the later 1960s before being codified bit-by-bit by a few definitive creative runs in the 1970s and 1980s. There have been reversions, too; not only Mark Millar's version, but also Dan Jurgens's take in the early 2000s and to a lesser extent Brian Bendis's more militant, stolidly establishment Cap in his various Avengers series.
posted by kewb at 2:23 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


( also some fics have his annoying habit of writing him like he's Kenneth Parcell, which is also ugh)
posted by The Whelk at 2:24 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah yes... Makes me happy to look at it every time.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


not a guy with a literal skull for a face as in the movies or the 1980s through 2000s.

Well, yeah, but that was after the Skull's original body had died and he had taken over a clone of Steve Rogers, only to almost choke to death on his own red dust...
posted by MartinWisse at 2:27 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Makes me happy to look at it every time.

Even better.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:32 PM on November 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


(reiterating info from a comment section below; apologies to those who read this twice.)

The 1941 Skull is American industrialist John Maxon, who deliberately sells defective planes to the army so that they crash and kill soldiers because he's a Nazi sympathizer. In addition to suggesting a basic distrust of big business -- fascism embraced industrialism and uses a weird fusion of private ownership and a command/war economy -- the character seems a likely dig at Henry Ford in particular.
posted by kewb at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even better.

That is simply superb.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2013


What's a bit of political fun here is that right around the same time Marvel set up Steve's history as an artist from NYC and such -- late seventies/early eighties -- is also around the same time they figured out his niche in the Marvel Universe: moral exemplar.

Steve's core appeal as a superhero now is not "Hitler-punching," as great as that is. His appeal was that he personified the dream Right Makes Might. No matter the odds, no matter what, Captain America would win, and he won because he was noble. Fifty thousand lava men versus Cap? Cap will win. Galactus shows up, and the only thing standing between Earth becoming a tasty meal is Captain America? Bet on Cap.

Sooooo...he's a Depression-era, New Deal-believing New York City artist...and also the most morally upright man in the world? That there's a bit of a political statement. (Then there was the time he got into a fistfight with President Reagan in the Oval Office after Reagan had been turned into a snake-man, because comics don't do subtlety.)

I haven't followed comics for six or seven years, but I get the impression he's not quite like that anymore. Pity.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:40 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


All the "poor Brooklyn would-be art student" background stuff? That's from the 1980s, and happens after a failed attempt to make Steve the scion of a wealthy Maryland family with ties to the State department.

The latter was always a continuity error though, some writer too lazy to look up Cap' real history, ably retconned by Stern and Byrne a little later.

Cap as a Roosevelt Democrat isn't just an eighties invention, but something that was present almost from the start after his revival, though of course in the sixties it was still possible for Cap to be a SHIELD agent without being cynical about it. Point is that this view of Captain America was always present at least in potential and that for four decades after his revival it dominated.

And yes, there have been modern rejections of that view, but these don't work, turning himinto just a generic action hero. Mark Millar's take was especially vile and must've set quite a lot of first printing Squadron Supreme trades to spinning around rapidly.

In general of course Marvel lost its way after 9-11, buying into that whole Bushian the security state knows best, when the foundation of the Marvel Universe always was rebellion from Fantastic Four #1 onwards.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:41 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Biblio: "This article does a good job of articulating why he probably had actually met a homosexual before he found himself getting all hot and bothered over Tony Stark."

The Bucky Barnes of the movie, as far as I can tell as a non-Cap expert, is a sort of synthesis of comics Bucky (who's younger than Steve, and didn't meet him until after he became Cap) and the character Arnie Roth, Steve's best friend and protector who, when he meets Cap again after the war, is in a well-established relationship with another man. From a streamlining perspective I get why Arnie was written out, but from a representational perspective it's a bit disappointing.
posted by bettafish at 2:43 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh here there, best part of Civil War.
posted by Oktober at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Nice tags.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2013


I was upset last Halloween, talking around in my authenitc 1941 field officer uniform with SSR collar pins, and everyone saying " Wow, great Bucky Barnes!"
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


You would have used your robot-arm for good!
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm saying that a shared-universe character isn't really going to have a platonic essence and sometimes doesn't even have a consistently established characterization. But yes, Cap was, for several generations of writers, an exemplar of a particular notion of American political virtue, and that's how most of us like him best.

I also agree that Marvel's weird adoption of security state politics is quite disappointing, especially since their comics often feel like they're still set in 2003 despite the efforts to marketize Obama around the time of his first inauguration.
posted by kewb at 2:51 PM on November 1, 2013


there is something beautiful about that s:1e:1 cover

The strong American chin. The proud Grecco-roman statue that ol cap has been painted onto. The old cartoony short-hand of pow-to-dust trailing cap't's fist. A complete story!

The fact that this version of American aggression relies on the competent defense of the shield to deliver a crushing blow at the heart of evil.

The invitation of Bucky, the tousled-haired avatar invited along for the ride in the first issue.

The jaw line again.....


sigh
posted by es_de_bah at 2:51 PM on November 1, 2013


Of all things, Superior Spider-Man kind of parodies the security state. Dark Reign did too, but had a really dumb premise, basically amounting to "Charles Manson is released from jail and put in charge."
posted by kewb at 2:52 PM on November 1, 2013


There was a tremendous political Cap story in the early aughts. A mysterious bad guy is supplying both SHIELD and various terrorist groups with advanced tech, and the bad guy is out to destroy Cap. Eventually he and Cap conflict directly, in Dresden. In a bombed-out building. (The bomb was set by the villain, but still.)

The villain let fly with the best villain monologue a Cap villain in the modern era could have. To quote as best I can from memory: "Captain, when I was a boy, my family's farm was attacked by men armed with American weapons and American backing. They killed my family and I survived only by hiding in a ditch. They burned the farm and left nothing alive. A minor moment in a civil war.

"I will surrender everything immediately, every name, every contact, every bit of technology, if you can tell me this, Captain. Who am I? Where am I from? What war created me?"

Yowza.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:52 PM on November 1, 2013 [73 favorites]


Ah yes... Makes me happy to look at it every time.

I was so sure you were going to link to this.
posted by trunk muffins at 2:54 PM on November 1, 2013


Jerkwater, you old fool. I don't have enough thumbs to up.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:55 PM on November 1, 2013


On a side note, and with props to trunk muffins, the whole time I read this, I could only think of my teenage self growing up in the IMAGE-MEFFER early 90s and reading a Wizard interview with Liefield, getting ready to "revamp" ol Cap.

He said, "The problem with Captain America is that he's your dad, and no one thinks his dad is cool."

God help us all, he was right.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:58 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The problem with Captain America is that he's your dad, and no one thinks his dad is cool."

The appeal of Captain America is that it starts with the premise, "What if being good was more awesome than being cool?"
posted by straight at 3:04 PM on November 1, 2013 [41 favorites]


Curiously, here is a National Review article about the storyline Harvey Jerwater mentioned.
posted by johnasdf at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been reading comics for 25 years now, but I wasn't a big fan as a child...I really took up the hobby in my early twenties, during the sudden rise to prominence brought on by writers by Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison.

Of that bunch, Frank Miller did some work for Marvel, but his biggest titles were from DC. Moore, Gaiman, and Morrison were almost exclusively DC writers. And so I was a DC reader.

In recent years, my loyalty has pretty much switched...a lot of DC's editorial blunders in the wake of the Nu 52 have offended me to the point where I don't just don't want to give them money. Marvel's online "Unlimited" service is awesome for me, they've got a lot better female characters, they've got Matt Fraction writing "Hawkeye". It's not a fair contest at all, is how it seems to me.

And even in the extrusion of comic books into other media, I just like the way Marvel is going better. Whereas DC gives us a Batman movie that's almost entirely devoid of fun and a Superman who kills his opponent, Marvel gives us big interlocking movies and tv shows with lots of laughs and action and, I'm given to understand, eventually a talking racoon. In video games I get a Batman game that I'm not willing to put in front of my nine year old daugher, and on the hand "LEGO Marvel Superheroes", which is like pure candy.

All of this is a long roundabout way of explaining how I ended up in a position to notice something about Captain America, that for all I know maybe people have already commented on a bazillion times before, but that I still find kind of fascinating.

Captain American is basically the moral center of the Marvel universe the same way Superman is the moral center of the DC universe. But whereas Superman is also the most powerful character in the DC universe, Cap isn't at all close to the most power guy over at Marvel. He's not even the most powerful guy on his own team. His biggest, most unique power, is his moral authority.

That's theoretically true of Superman, but over there in DC land things get arranged so that the moral center is also the power center par excellence. I think it says a lot about the more complex nature of Marvel's narratives that while they still have a Boy Scout all in blue, his most notable characteristic in the move that they made about him is a willingness to keep on taking punches that actually hurt.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2013 [45 favorites]


The appeal of Captain America is that it starts with the premise, "What if being good was more awesome than being cool?"

Way shorter than mine, but exactly what I meant. D'oh!
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:09 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Frank Miller did some work for Marvel, but his biggest titles were from DC.

I will fight you to the death, armed only with a Daredevil omnibus.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:09 PM on November 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh here there, best part of Civil War.

The only good part of Civil War was (MeFi's own) mightygodking's parody.
posted by straight at 3:10 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The villain let fly with the best villain monologue a Cap villain in the modern era could have. To quote as best I can from memory: "Captain, when I was a boy, my family's farm was attacked by men armed with American weapons and American backing. They killed my family and I survived only by hiding in a ditch. They burned the farm and left nothing alive. A minor moment in a civil war.

"I will surrender everything immediately, every name, every contact, every bit of technology, if you can tell me this, Captain. Who am I? Where am I from? What war created me?"


This is "The New Deal," in the first six issues of the 2002 series by John Rey Neiber and John Cassaday.

Sadly, they let Cap get away with responding "We’ve changed. We’ve learned…My people never knew. We know now. And those days are over" and then beating the guy up. As the National Review -- ugh! -- notes, this is a weak defense...but the story still has Cap win the fight and stop the nefarious plot, which had earlier involved taking a church full of nice Midwestern folks hostage or something equally stereotypical. I remeber it more as a failed, if ambitious attempt at 9/11 realism than as a successful political statement a la any number of Engelhart, Gruenwald, and Waid classics.
posted by kewb at 3:12 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will fight you to the death, armed only with a Daredevil omnibus.

Dourdevil
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Modern Marvel's view of Captain America.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, he gets Wizard of Oz references!
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on November 1, 2013


Here's an interesting and to my eyes balanced critique of that "New Deal"/9-11 arc. (Pages missing, but the gist is all there, including a discussion of the NR's reaction.)
posted by kewb at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2013


Some of us write fits about Steve or spent an a insane amount of money getting our hair dyed to match his.
posted by The Whelk at 3:52 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will fight you to the death, armed only with a Daredevil omnibus.

I was scrupulously careful not to say "his best titles" exactly because I anticipated somebody getting bent out of shape about Daredevil. If you're gonna fight me with that omnibus, be aware that I'll be defending myself with a copy of "Elektra: Assassin", which I think is the best thing Miller ever did.

But when all those newspaper articles about how "comics aren't just for kids any more" were being published about three times a week, they always mentioned "Dark Night Returns", and they never mentioned "Daredevil". I'll stand by my "biggest" assessment.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:53 PM on November 1, 2013


Oh here there, best part of Civil War.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences.

When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river and tell the whole world --

"France, move them."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:03 PM on November 1, 2013


(and sometimes you ...dress like him)
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Captain America can be old-timey and still not racist/homophobic/whatever. What's so unrealistic about him being a good guy? Captain America is the quintessential Lawful Good hero.

I mean, hell, even Barry Goldwater was one of the founders of the Arizona NAACP.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:19 PM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are a whole bunch of JM DeMatteis Cap comics from the early '90s that I am now super confused about re. the Red Skull.
posted by Shepherd at 4:26 PM on November 1, 2013


There are a whole bunch of JM DeMatteis Cap comics from the early '90s that I am now super confused about re. the Red Skull.

Early-to-mid 1980s, actually, and I can clear things up a bit. In his very first story in 1941, the Skull is presented as a turncoat American businessman, George Maxon. In subsequent 1940s appearances, he's. a cipher, just a Nazi villain who never takes off his mask. In the 50s, he switches over to being a sinister Communist instead.

Then, in the 1960s, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revive the Skull as a guy who, like Cap, has been sleeping in suspended animation since the end of the Second World War. Within an issue or two, they reveal that "George" Maxon was just an impostor agwent of the real Skull, who reveals an origin involving being a nobody in Weimar Germany, a poor, embittered wretch growing up skinny and weak on the streets of Berlin until he has a chance encounter with Hitler, who sees in the hateful nobody's face the potential to make him into a living symbol of Nazism -- the Red Skull! The 50s Skull is subsequently retconned as a fake, a Communist agent appropriating the imagery and fighting a retconned and equally fake 50s Cap.

Then, in the 1980s, DeMatteis expands on the 1960s origin of the Skull, giving him a specific backstory but keeping the "average nobody" idea by naming him "Johann Schmidt," i.e., John Smith. That's the Skull as we have him today.
posted by kewb at 4:40 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That DeMatteis run was so very good.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:00 PM on November 1, 2013


Oh God, that Millar panel. The aughts were a terrible time, weren't they?
posted by Think_Long at 5:01 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite Moral Cap moment was around issue 340 or something, when the council in charge of the Captain America project and name demand he do some politically charged stuff, and he basically just says "You want the uniform back? Here, take it, doesn't mean shit anyway." And he gets a sweet black uniform and keeps on being awesome and they hand the uniform to a roided-up psycho. Love that whole situation.

I happened to like Civil War, but I didn't like the idea of Cap as essentially a guerrilla fighter.

But yeah, I agree with Ipsifendus's observation pretty much all the way.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:04 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


To add to kewb's statement (which I was working on one similar to when posted), the 1980s story of the Skull, in Captain America 200, included him poisoning Cap so that they would die together in a fight.

Except that he also had cloned the Captain, and managed to also add in the changes from the Super-Soldier serum, as discovered years later, when he tried to destroy Captain America again. At the end of that, he was hit with his own poison, giving him for-real the Red Skull face.

In one of his last major appearances before the Civil War, he managed to get one of his identities named Secretary of Defense, then had a release of an bioweapon that was supposed to just kill non-whites (did not work, killed everyone) and then declared in the fight, "I understand you now, Captain! I understand your country! I LOVE AMERICA!"

And Captain America, angry at this, punches the HELL out of him, yelling "Don't you DARE salute that flag!"

That's the Captain America that rejects all the things the Skull would be for, the racism and the mass murder. The one who, if he was awake during the rest of the 20th Century instead of in ice, might have been able to set things right.

(He was nominated by a political party as president once... and declined it because he believed that he wasn't the right man to be a president.)
posted by mephron at 5:06 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mephron, the real red-skull face was in issue 350. Man, that was a fucking fantastic comic.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:07 PM on November 1, 2013


So glad he called out Millar's ridiculous bro-fascism. Can't stand that guy.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:14 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh God, that Millar panel. The aughts were a terrible time, weren't they?

To be fair, ALL of the characters in The Ultimates were complete jerkbags, not just Cap. I think the way that the Marvel Studios has managed to extricate the inarguably appealing "widescreen" qualities of Millar's comics (a style which he arguably stole wholesale from Warren Ellis's work on The Authority, BTW) without also making the characters into insufferable Michael Bayesque assholes is no small achievement in Hollywood cinema.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:15 PM on November 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad we have another comics thread now, the old one was cooling down. There should just be a new one posted once a week for conversational continuity purposes.
posted by Think_Long at 5:21 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


great essay.
posted by mwhybark at 6:11 PM on November 1, 2013


I already said just about everything I have to say about Cap (at least at this time) in that LGM thread, so as long as we're citing MeFi's own mightygodking, I'll repost this link, which is his response to the Sally Floyd thing. (And, really, to the whole superhero registration thing.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:38 PM on November 1, 2013


Millar has gone out of his way to show that he does not understand Cap at all. (Or, really, much of any of the Marvel characters, but he really put his back into it regarding Cap) It's actually a bigger crime to let that guy near comic books than Liefeld, and we all know that's sayin' something.

Civil War was a crock from the beginning, and it is quite obvious that even Millar himself cannot track his own storyline. The only really good stuff to come out of it was the aforementioned mightygodking re-write, for which we all owe him a great debt.

The New Deal (post-9/11) was wonderful. Possibly my favorite Cap ever.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:21 PM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read a lot of Captain America fanfic, (argh, did I just admit that?) and sometimes the authors twist themselves in knots trying to make Steve come to terms with the strange new world he's in, as though he must automatically be your bigoted grandpa because of when he was born.

Sometimes I yell, "Cap is from the 30s not the 50s AND THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE!!!!" at the screen.

Not embarrassed to admit that at all.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:35 PM on November 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Totally, I imagine the Brooklyn of 1930 to be very different from the Brooklyn of 2013.

He's an artistic street kid from a single parent home, not your Esinerhower Grandpa. my inner Steve Rogers is way more union rabble rouser than zealot.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on November 1, 2013


As a kid growing up in the 1950s, you pretty much picked your hero stream as either Superman or similar comic book characters, or cowboys and Indians (with cops, robbers and firemen and maybe pilots as acceptable modern realistic cowboy substitutes). As a confirmed cowboy wannabe by age 5, I started building my kit, with the help of my parents and grandparents, which eventually included full cowboy outfits, including hats, boots, chaps, vests, Western shirts, gunbelts, guns, and even spurs. I think I always felt a little sorry for kids who got into Superman and comic book characters, because there was just so much more to do, to learn and to be on the realism track, and because their outfits and paraphernalia were just crap, compared to cowboy stuff.

As an example of activities that kind of grew out of the cowboy hero play track, growing up in Nebraska and Kansas, I amassed a pretty good Indian arrowhead collection, studying Indians. And as I got older, I graduated smoothly from cap guns, to BB guns, to real guns and hunting, and I learned to ride horses, and even rope a little bit. Had I wanted to, and not gotten into football and other high school sports, I might have gone on to rodeo, or do American Royal parade circuit events as a mounted unit rider. Some of my high school pals were still essentially playing very advanced games of cowboys-and-Indians well into college, with their participation as re-enactors in annual historical celebrations of events like Cantrell's Raid on Lawrence, and Pony Express rides from St. Joesph, MO to Liberal, KS.

The West and Westerns were a powerful mythology, but one that largely by-passed comic books, in favor of movies, rodeos, parades and live shows. But if Captain America had ever time-traveled back to the actual Civil War, and put on a vest and chaps while slinging a Colt revolver and Sharps rifle off a horse, I might have paid more attention, even in comic book form. But, he never, to my knowledge, did.
posted by paulsc at 1:20 AM on November 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


But if Captain America had ever time-traveled back to the actual Civil War, and put on a vest and chaps while slinging a Colt revolver and Sharps rifle off a horse, I might have paid more attention, even in comic book form. But, he never, to my knowledge, did.

You mean something like this?

Or maybe this?
posted by kewb at 5:47 AM on November 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


He's an artistic street kid from a single parent home, not your Esinerhower Grandpa. my inner Steve Rogers is way more union rabble rouser than zealot.

This is a great point. Have they ever done a comparison like this in the comics - a comparison in which Captain America has to deal with how different he is even from your stereotypical person from the 50s?

That said, even though I know you're not attacking him personally, President Eisenhower was a much cooler dude than your stereotypical villain from the 50s. He was far from perfect, but he was far from an extreme conservative. He was emphatically moderate, often fighting the good fight, quietly and behind the scenes. There's a reason why Joe McCarthy and the segregationists focussed so many of their attacks on the Eisenhower administration.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:06 AM on November 2, 2013


> "You mean something like this? Or maybe this?"

And of course this.
posted by kyrademon at 6:41 AM on November 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, no dig on Ike intended, if for nothing else then the Military Industrial complex speech, just using a shorthand for the 50s, McCarthy might valve been better.

I did spent an absurd amount of time trying to figure out how someone who mainly grew up in working class, depression era Brooklyn would react to the current day however. ( Biggest take away? Food. Nothing tastes right anymore and there is an absurd amount if things he doesn't even register as food and where's violet gum? )
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 AM on November 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You mean something like this?

Or maybe this?"

posted by kewb at 8:47 AM on November 2

Eh, that first link is just laughably absurd, by cowboy reckoning. Wearing a mask, with an identifying costume, out of pride??? Not to mention the Western absurdity of favoring a shield over a gun. The Lone Ranger wore a mask, out of necessity to confuse the killers of his fellow dead Rangers, which Rangers they had really killed, and which had been left alive, so that the Ranger's retribution on them would be coming from all of the Rangers. Furthermore, the Lone Ranger only gave out identifying silver bullets to those who he thought he could trust, or needed to send messages, or do him other services. The silver bullets were as much memoria for his mission and his dead Ranger compatriots, as payments for favors rendered him, or personal mementos, and were meant to remind recipients not just of a Lone Ranger, but of Justice and their part in making a better West.

But that second link definitely has some cowboy plausibility, if only through Indian medicine fantasy. Congrats for digging it up.

"... And of course this."
posted by kyrademon at 9:41 AM on November 2

Ouch.
posted by paulsc at 4:58 PM on November 2, 2013


In other news: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will crossover with Thor 2
posted by homunculus at 5:40 PM on November 2, 2013


I did spent an absurd amount of time trying to figure out how someone who mainly grew up in working class, depression era Brooklyn would react to the current day however.

You know we're not talking about the mists of pre-history here, right? I mean, granted that he didn't spend the intervening decades in suspended animation, that's a pretty accurate description of my great uncle, and his main challenge in adapting to modern times is that sometimes he can't remember which one is his Apple Store password and which one is for the Kindle Store.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:54 AM on November 3, 2013


presumably he didn't have to catch up with 70 years all at once.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on November 3, 2013


He's a fictional character. Within reason, we can make him as progressive as we want, just as we can also make him as techno-klutzy as we want.

It's interesting how the conservative 50s had steamrolled over what previous generations had defined as American. It would be great if they could explore that idea with Cap, who would have never met McCarthy as a Senator, and who would have known the Soviets only as a fearsome ally.

(Also: what if Cap had known McCarthy, but only as "Tail-Gunner Joe", before McCarthy had lied about his war record? DUN DUN DUNNNN!)
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, I almost forgot. Is this a good place to rec Steve Rogers' American Captain? Yes, I think it is. And yes, if you're thinking that sounds like an in-character diary comic along the lines of American Splendor or American Elf, you're right. (Warning for depiction of PTSD.)
posted by bettafish at 9:43 AM on November 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think any version of Steve Rogers where he has passionate, well-informed opinions on art, art history and capitalism is the best version.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "Is this a good place to rec Steve Rogers' American Captain?"

This by itself makes the entire thread worthwhile. That's AMAZING.
posted by kyrademon at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2013


Wait, I almost forgot. Is this a good place to rec Steve Rogers' American Captain?

Do you want to read a well-written comic about Steve Rodgers and Pepper Potts having a very awkward and defensive conversation about relationships and navigating gendered cultural expectations? Of course you do. So here's a link that starts at the beginning of the story. It's great; thank you, bettafish.
posted by straight at 3:17 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by homunculus at 5:41 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, homunculus, thanks. I didn't notice there were more. Like this amazing conversation between Steve and Pepper about art.

The Pepper / Steve relationship in these comics might be the best comic book fanfic I've ever read.
posted by straight at 9:04 PM on November 4, 2013


I'm actually super annoyed that Canon!Steve doesn't get to have these kinds of conversations cause HE'S THE PERFECT CHARACTER TO HAVE THEM.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on November 4, 2013


To be fair, I haven't read yours yet, The Whelk, and I'll wager it's pretty good too.
posted by straight at 9:37 PM on November 4, 2013


in retrospect I should've given him more art nerd fixations cause they sound so perfect coming out of his mouth in the tumblr
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on November 4, 2013


In other Marvel Universe news: Ms. Marvel and the Rise of the Muslim Superhero in America
posted by homunculus at 4:18 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy living fuck: Marvel announced that they will be producing four original series for Netflix, focusing on the characters of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. They’ll get thirteen hours apiece, screening through Netflix and, in a slightly Avengers-like fashion, culminate in a grand crossover, The Defenders.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:46 AM on November 7, 2013


I'm kinda disappointed that those shows are going to be live action.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:50 AM on November 7, 2013


We better get to see Squirrel Girl, or I will be very pouty. I may even write letters.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:42 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


LUKE CAGE AND IRON FIST.

HEROES FOR FUCKING HIRE, BITCHES.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:04 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


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