Left-Wing Congressman & Comics Fan Unsurprisingly Receives Favorable Coverage

 

Spectrum News interviewed the California congressman Robert Garcia, the first openly gay U.S. representative with foreign origins elected to Capitol Hill, who is also a comics collector (and was sworn into office using a 1939 Superman issue instead of a Bible), and sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if men like him are just into pop culture stuff like this for the sake of virtue-signaling:

 

Garcia, the first openly gay immigrant member of Congress, was just 5 years old when he arrived with his family from Peru and settled in Southern California. He became a citizen in his 20s, and served as the mayor of Long Beach before his constituents helped send him to represent them in Congress starting in 2023 — when he was sworn in on a copy of Superman #1, from 1939.

Spectrum News joined Garcia on a recent trip to Big Planet Comics on U Street in Washington. His eyes lit up as he walked in the locally-owned shop, which he’s been known to frequent every once in a while when he’s in town for work.

“I think one of the first things that people can understand about comics is, it’s a global industry,” Garcia said. “It’s fiction, it’s reading, it’s an American art form. I’ve always said that there’s nothing more that the American art form of fiction has produced that’s been more impactful globally than comic books.”[…]

“My favorite comic book character, Superman, stands for truth and justice. Those are some of the best values anyone can learn,” he explained. “The very first issue that he appeared in was taking on corporate CEOs and fighting for the little guy. Those are values, as a progressive, that I think are important.”

 

Gee, this is odd. There’s only so many conglomerates today run by the very “progressive” values he speaks of, and modern leftists like him practically appreciate that, so how he doesn’t see a conflict between early depictions of Superman combatting crooked CEOs and his modern beliefs is bewildering as can be. And there’s only so many leftists who won’t stand up for the little guy today, which could include comics writers with creator-owned products. Also note Garcia doesn’t include “the American Way” when he talks about what the Man of Steel stands for, his description of comicdom as an American art form notwithstanding. And have comics really been as globally impactful as he says? Not always, and with woke directions they’ve succumbed to, they’re less so now.

 

Comic book characters, Garcia added, can also help those struggling to feel like they belong.

“Take the X-Men, for example — the X-Men are a group of misfits and mutants and people that have been outcasts, that have strange powers that manifest in strange ways, that really speaks to a lot of people,” he said. The X-Men line has been interpreted over the years as allegorical to several civil rights movements, as its characters seek to find a place, and maybe joy, in a world that can often hate or fear them. “It speaks to the LGBTQ+ community, it speaks to people that feel they’re different. And so the X-Men also teaches values of inclusion and family.”

Comics, he said, are a way for young readers to learn good values and develop a sense of what social justice actually means. “It may not hit us in the face directly when we’re reading this stuff, but it does stick with young people, and it does stick with fans, and I believe a lot of us take on some of these values that we read,” Garcia said.

 

It’s decidedly most peculiar he doesn’t mention Israelis/Jews as somebody who could appreciate the messages such comics are said to convey, even as he does speak of LGBTQ+ ideology more clearly. So where does Mr. Garcia really stand? Unfortunately, given the levels of antisemitic racism seen these days, it’s hugely doubtful many take on the values he speaks of, leading one to wonder what really does stick with younger generations and fans. Assuming there’s many fans of these items left at all.

 

“My first job in high school, all my money was spent on comics. And I would buy, not just the comic that was coming out that week, I would buy a bunch of old comics. I would go through 25 cent bins,” he recalled. “I have a room back home. I mean, all that’s in this room, honestly, is just long boxes of comic books,” with a collection that runs from decades-old classics, like the infamous Batman storyline “Death in the Family” — in which Batman’s sidekick Robin is killed by the Joker — to contemporary classics like “Saga” and “Ex Machina,” by writer Brian K. Vaughan.

[…] As the cashier rang out Garcia’s purchases, his eyes pored over the shelves of the store, roving for new — or classic — titles to pick up. “I have all of these,” he said, pointing out some old-school Batman titles over the register. “I collected these as they came out when I was little.”

Garcia left the store with new books in hand, but he’d have to wait to dive in — probably on his next flight back to California, he said. For now, he had to get back to Capitol Hill and a round votes on the House floor, doing his part — like his favorite caped hero — to pursue truth, justice and a better tomorrow.

 

One can reasonably wonder what’s so great in the long run about a story like Batman’s A Death in the Family, which did suffer the problem of being influenced by audience, rather than the writers and editors deciding. But most important, why did Denny O’Neil and company think it impossible to take any path other than death to Jason Todd, whom the article doesn’t make clear was the victim of the Joker? And why does the paper seem to be using what Tom Taylor used to replace The American Way in his failed Son of Kal-El series? That pretty much sums up all that’s gone wrong with how they approach the topic. All this explains why it’s a shame the politicians interviewed have to be such self-important leftists. If any on the right collected comics like Garcia did, they’d be less admired, sadly enough.

 

Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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