When people think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has reigned supreme in the box office for more than a decade, they either think of Iron Man or Captain America, and Captain America: Civil War, pins the two leaders over… politics, essentially. Politics on a cosmic scale, but politics nonetheless. Steve Rogers, being the uncompromising freedom fighter that he is, stands against the Sokovia Accords backed by Tony Stark. Both have their reasons, and the situation is never exactly resolved since the movie diverts the plot to Bucky’s escape.
Back to reality today in the United States, where there are small, yet scattered, protests all across the country over state-issued stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been several points of controversy that have sparked the protests: claims that hospitals and institutions are skewing COVID-related death numbers, governments are stripping citizens of their rights and keeping them "detained" in their homes, etc.. Overall, there seems to be a disconnect between some people and institutions such as the World Health Organization, the CDC, the UN, etc.
Does Captain America: Civil War, embody that conflict? It’s not new at all, but has the film and/or superhero blockbusters in general inspired movements such as these, believing in global government conspiracies that plan for world domination? Does Captain America, specifically, embody/inspire people to not compromise what they feel is right? Final note: I decided to focus on the movie rather than the comics because the MCU is an international phenomenon, raking in billions at the box office. As a result, I assume these films have been much more prevalent in the global, cultural "psyche" than the comics.
I think that is an interesting way to look at it. It boils down to exactly what you said, "Captain America is a freedom fighter," and that is what is at stake here. Americans freedom to choose where they go and when. Ultimately, it is now up to state governments to handle the issue going forward and it does not seem like Steve Rodgers would approve of their tactics. – sweathers4 years ago
This seems like an odd connection. Is the gist: Do certain Marvel Universe movies have a relationship to how the public responds to COVID-19? – Joseph Cernik3 years ago
Analyze the changes made to the character of Steve Rogers in comic book history, and the recent story line presented in "Captain America: Steve Rogers" issue #1, that Steve Rogers has been a secret Hydra agent all along. Analyze the character’s past actions in comic book history, whether or not this story line gives us whiplash by attempting to create a shocking conundrum, and what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Should take into consideration that Captain America's creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, were Jewish, and he was created during the genocide of World War II as a symbol of hope and to make people care about the atrocities taking place. Hydra is an actual Nazi synonym. – Amanda8 years ago
Definitely agree with Amanda. Captain America's very origins are crucial to why "Hydra Cap" is not only horrible in terms of characterization, but also an atrocity in terms of how disrespectful it is towards Simon and Kirby, what Captain American stands for, and towards what happened to the Jewish people. This may seem like an exaggeration, but Captain America truly was created as a hopeful symbol against the Nazi's and the horrors they committed against the Jewish population. – Mela7 years ago
Could one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes really have been a Nazi all along? Is this just bad writing, a thinly disguised action of antisemitism, or a calculated business move to pull attention away from DC’s Rebirth? What does this mean for the future of both Captain America and Marvel itself? With so many people outraged, is it a move they can truly recover from?
This is a fantastic topic! I think it would be really important to cover all that Captain America has done so far as well, and consider how his actions could have benefited the organization he now 'works for'. I can't wait to read this! – LilyaRider8 years ago
Great topic! When covering this hot topic, don't forget to mention the circumstances within the comic itself, in addition to the business end of things, as well as the history of comic books introducing major storylines only for temporary effect [remember the death of (insert character here)]. Good luck taking on this topic! – Dominique Kollie8 years ago
I’m taking a course on race in pop culture and was recently assigned to read Truth: Red, White, and Black. This alternate mythos of the Captain America story suggests that before Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson there was another Captain America- a black man named Isaiah Bradley. Bradley (and many other African American men) are unwillingly forced into government experimentation to perfect the super serum that will later make Rogers a hero. However, many of these early test subjects died on the table, or suffered from complications later on. Isaiah is the only survivor, and dawns the Captain America costume on a suicide mission behind enemy lines. Though he survives, Isaiah is ultimately mistreated by the American government until Steve Rogers finds out about him and demands a form of justice. Including this title, there have now been two black men do wear the Captain America persona. Should this be getting more attention? Does the popularity of Steve Rogers (as much as I love him) above Sam Wilson and Isaiah Bradley say something about the way we accept our superheroes; especially one as symbolically loaded as Captain America?
I see it as a nod to change. Historically there have been a lot of white men as superheros due to racial pregudice and societal norms. Now thst its changing and theres a growing acceptance for different races, sexualities and religions; comic writers are looking to show that they believe in the changes society has made. – Cojo8 years ago
You raise a good question. There is something essentially American about Steve Rogers, but it is important that the mantle of Captain America represent more than one man or one race. Several other white men have worn the costume as well, including John Walker (U.S. Agent) and Bucky Barnes. It might be more telling that the black cultural experience appears twice, whereas there are no iterations of the character that are Hispanic, Asian, or (native) Indian (unless alternate Universes count). Does the black American experience validate American symbolism in a way that is different from white versions? Questions like this are why I thoroughly enjoyed the real world Sikh Captain (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30941638). – KingSheep8 years ago
As someone who has not heard of Sam Wilson and Isaiah Bradley I find this an interesting topic to raise. This of course emphasizes the good nature of Rogers while raising political issues about the racism of the American government. If there was a movie centered the character of Wilson or Bradley instead of Rogers their popularity might be raised. – melimangoes8 years ago
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you called this an "alternate mythos", meaning someone came up with a different background for the Captain America character. As an author, I strongly dislike when people do this simply to satisfy the current culture's hot topics (In this case, racism). There's so much complaint about whitewashing, and rightfully so because whitewashing can be very damaging, but I have an issue with taking a story and changing its 'white' origin to one of 'ethnic' to satisfy pop culture. – Qiao ChengHua8 years ago
As someone who has not had much exposure to comics, I can see why this alternate story is an interesting way to point towards the "obvious" stereotyping of super heroes. I would disagree with Qiao's argument that the story is being changed from a "white" origin to satisfy pop-culture. I think it is a rightful hypothesis that points to the fact that during WWII the African American soldiers were forced to endure deadly and painful experimentation - for the sake of enhancing the survival rate of their white counterparts. (Just look for an Article recently released by NPR called "Secret World War II Chemical Experiments Tested Troops By Race"). I would argue that the alternate story takes "reality" into effect and tells the story of how it would really be, if during those experimentation's one of the African Americans became "super powerful" and how, or if, Americans would have accepted him as a hero. After all, when Jesse Owens won the Olympic medals in 1936 - he became a test subject. Somehow I think it is important to notice the ease with which we suspend our believe of a white soldier being experimented on and becoming a hero vs. the criticism and reservations we have thinking that a black soldier could ever become a super hero - even though they were actually experimented on and even though they have proven their exemplary abilities time and time again. – pmaschke8 years ago
There’s a steady mix of both praise and outrage at the idea of a black Captain America; but the real issue is not a question of Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson. It’s a question of what diversity means to different fans and what solutions can be reached to ensure the inclusion of everyone invested in comic book culture. Does changing the race of a well known character help this process? Would it be more effective to just create new characters?
Fascinating topic! The most important questions to consider are probably: Does it make a positive impact to move Sam Wilson, a black character, to the forefront by giving him the identity of a more prominent, well known superhero? What kind of implications are there when Sam Wilson abandons his own superhero identity as Falcon in order to take on the persona of a white superhero? Are there negative connotations about the way we value one race of superhero over another? Would a better solution be giving Falcon a more prominent place in comics, with promotion, more issues, etc? Or is this a strategic move to use the large audience that Captain America has in order to depict diversity to a larger audience? – KTPopielarz8 years ago
I think it would absolutely have been better for Sam to stay Falconear and just accumulate more publicity under that persona. That way he wouldn't be tied to a white identity at all – SomeOtherAmazon8 years ago
It's interesting to examine how comic book fans--who have traditionally felt they resided outside of the realm of the mainstream--are adjusting to the new, wider audiences comics are gathering. Also interesting to think about: what are the main goals of the big publishers? Are they trying to gather a more diverse audience? Are they attempting to reflect the diverse audience they already have more accurately? Are they motivated by the bump in sales generated by the buzz and controversy? – allisonparker18 years ago
I really do worry that some of these race and gender changes are just a publicity grab from the publishers. If we don't have solid storytelling to back these characters up then nothing good will actually come of it. Like personally I thought Batgirl of burnside was not good, but it's supposed to be this beacon of social justice in the comic world. It felt like a money grab to me- the villains were lame. We don't get the sense that Barbra is fighting for something bigger like we did in Gail Simone's title. I'm afraid it's the same way with a lot of these race swaps- all flash and no substance. – SomeOtherAmazon8 years ago
Love this topic! I really really would like to see new characters personally, because it would give them a chance to make an entire new backstory and interpret the struggles of African Americans if they wanted, as opposed to, going from a caucasian character to an African American one, it doesn't get a chance to get that backstory if that makes sense. I can't wait to see what happens with this one! – scole8 years ago
It's a shame that the world has to become so PC that we have to change beloved comic book heroes who have been around for decades need to be tweaked because it doesn't coincides with today society. It's like comic book creators cannot come up with original characters or that if they did create new characters, they wouldn't stack up to the tried and true characters of the past. – JustJohn8 years ago