You may have heard already, but Captain America is dead.
I haven’t really cared about comic book character deaths since Superman died when I was a kid, but this is a little different. Marvel killed the character off as part of a protest of the Bush administration’s policies: “Marvel says the comic story line was intentionally written as an allegory to current real-life issues like the Patriot Act, the War on Terror and the September 11 attacks.”
At Hit and Run, Dave Wiegel reflects on how much Marvel’s position has changed in 6 years: “After 9/11, Marvel released a bunch of gung-ho war on terror comix.”
Why the about face? I just remembered a piece posted to 10 Zen Monkeys about Spiderman’s apology to America. Although Captain America is an older character than Spiderman, Spidey’s more of their mascot and their most loved character. He is the perfect medium for the company own apology:
People of New York, I’ve — well, I’ve got a confession to make. I was wrong. I made a mistake. I’ve seen the very concept of justice destroyed.
I’ve seen heroes and bad guys alike — dangerous guys, no mistake, but still born in this country for the most part — denied due process and imprisoned, potentially for the rest of their lives, without a trial, without evidence.
They’re held in inhumane conditions in a place called the negative zone. The negative zone is… Well, it’s a lot like New Jersey. But…with fewer off-ramps.
We all want to be safe. We all want to know we can go to bed at night and have a good chance of waking up without somebody in a costume blowing up the building. But there’s a point where the end doesn’t justify the means, if the means require us to give up not just our identities, but who and what we are as a country.
When does the country we’re living in stop being the country we were born in? Some people say the most important thing in the world is that we should be safe. But I was brought up to belive that some things are worth dying for. If the cost of the silence is the soul of the country… If the cost of tacit support is that we lose the very things that make this nation the greatest in human history — then the price is too high.
I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support this act as it has been created and enforced. I was wrong. And from this day on, I will do everything within my power to oppose the act and anyone attempting to intimidate and arrest those who also oppose the act, in the cause of freedom.