I found an entry on Laughing Place from last month discussing Captain America’s 80th anniversary as presented on D23 and Fantastic Worlds conventions, and the news site itself did some very disgusting fluff-coating of Marvel’s descent into offensive leftist politics during the early 2000s, the time when Captain America, much like the rest of the MCU, began to collapse as a result of Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas’ machinations, which set the tone for what would come in later years. First, let’s note a stark contrast to modern conduct:
Co-created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, both of whom were Jewish, CB [Cebulski] and Tom [Brevoort] revealed that both men received death threats from American Nazi sympathizers. New York City’s Mayor Laguardia had to provide police protection to keep the two comic writers safe. They also revealed that unlike today, Joe and Jack wrote and drew the comics, sharing both responsibilities. They also revolutionized the comic industry by changing the shape of the grid and featuring action that was too explosive to be contained inside.
The sharp difference is that in today’s climate rife with anti-Americanism and socialism, neither a mayor like Michael Bloomberg nor the incumbent Bill de Blasio would ever offer such encouragement. Not even Andrew Cuomo, for that matter, as NY governor. Worst, if Kirby/Simon were still alive today and wanted to create a figure like Steve Rogers, it would be rejected from the outset, practically by – but not limited to – an avowed ultra-leftist like Brevoort, and come to think of it, Cebulski too. Certainly their predecessors, like Joe Quesada, Bill Jemas, Axel Alonso, and even Dan Buckley.
If Islamic jihadists threatened Kirby-Simon, you likely wouldn’t hear Cebulski and Brevoort talking about it, even after the scandal Ardian Syaf caused a few years ago shortly before Alonso got fired for his disastrous conduct. After all, this same company now continues to employ Saladin Ahmed despite his conduct, and now, it looks like nobody’s willing to call out Marvel editorial for failure to rein him in. So what was the point of the uproar over Syaf if all of a sudden, Ahmed’s allowed to make similarly offensive statements without public comment? (Incidentally, I think the news about laGuardia’s backing for Kirby-Simon isn’t new, and was known before Brevoort and Cebulski became prominent. If the columnist’s trying to give the latter 2 all the credit, that’s dismaying.)
With that told, let’s turn to what the article says about the Star-Spangled Avenger following the early 2000s, the time when, having needlessly moved Cap to the Marvel Knights imprint, Kirby and Simon’s great creation was sent downhill:
The 2000s have included some of the biggest Captain America stories in the comics’ history, including finding Steve Rogers conflicted after the events of 9/11. An alternate reality series called Truth: Red, White & Black featured a character named Isaiah Bradley, an African American who was a test subject for the Super Soldier Serum before Steve Rogers and became an unacknowledged Captain America. The Winter Soldier also debuted during this era as an initiative to bring back Bucky Barnes. And the Marvel Comics crossover event, Civil War, is still regarded as one of the best in the company’s history.
All this despite the terrible political metaphors, to say nothing of how the Knights imprint take on Cap took a path insulting the memory of 9-11 victims by embracing Trutherist conspiracy theories that, specifically, right-wing governments were to blame, not Islamic jihadism, nor the weakening of security under the Clinton administration. Which the article makes no mention of.
And “alternate reality” is no excuse for a horrible story that was filled to the brim with awful artwork that did more harm than good to its Black cast members, made the US out to look bad in every way during WW2 while ironically letting FDR off the hook for his own racism, and look how they fluff-coat Civil War; the millionth example I’ve found of somebody who doesn’t see anything wrong with company wide crossovers in the long run, not even what CW led to by extension: Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage erased for the sake of political correctness.
Around the time that Marvel Studios released their first film, Captain America died in the comics, leaving The Falcon and Winter Soldier to share his role. This plot is being adapted as the eagerly anticipated Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Speaking of the Winter Soldier, CB and Tom shared that Captain America: Civil War is both of their favorite films in the MCU.
It seems that Captain America will be around for at least another 80 years, with new comics being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and a new Falcon and the Winter Soldier that will determine who carries the shield going forward. It was fun learning all about the history of one of Marvel’s longest running superheroes.
Coming from staffers like Cebulski and Brevoort? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t be shocked if their commentary were at least half dishonest regarding history pre-2000, and actually concealed more than it revealed. When the writer cites the far-left-leaning Coates completely without being objective, you know something’s wrong. Such politics are exactly why it’s unlikely Captain America will be around much longer, now that Marvel’s said to be largely cutting back on their ongoing series, and could soon see an end to publication, just like Spider-Man and other famous creations.
That the CW adaptation for the silver screen is one of Cebulski and Brevoort’s favorites is exactly why I’d rather avoid it. Most press sources were so favorable at the time, it only compounds my decision not to support the film, and I’d strongly advise others not to either. Certainly, things may be changing now that the movie studio’s lurch to social justice themes is more noticeable. But people should’ve been more wary even before, and not been taken in over the past decade.