But the real reason I had to chime in was that Steve Rogers is my favorite superhero. Why? Because unlike other patriotism-themed characters, Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side. This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.
Steve Rogers grew up poor in the Great Depression, the son of a single mother who insisted he stayed in school despite the trend of the time (his father died when he was a child; in some versions, his father is a brave WWI veteran, in others an alcoholic, either or both of which would be appropriate given what happened to WWI veterans in the Great Depression) and then orphaned in his late teens when his mother died of TB. And he came of age in New York City at a time when the New Deal was in full swing, Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor, the American Labor Party was a major force in city politics, labor unions were on the move, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade was organizing to fight fascism in Spain in the name of the Popular Front, and a militant anti-racist movement was growing that equated segregation at home with Nazism abroad that will eventually feed into the “Double V” campaign.
Then he became a fine arts student. To be an artist in New York City in the 1930s was to be surrounded by the “Cultural Front.” We’re talking the WPA Arts and Theater Projects, Diego Rivera painting socialist murals in Rockefeller Center, Orson Welles turning Julius Caesar into an anti-fascist play and running an all-black Macbeth and “The Cradle Will Rock,” Paul Robeson was a major star, and so on. You couldn’t really be an artist and have escaped left-wing politics. And if a poor kid like Steve Rogers was going to college as a fine arts student, odds are very good that he was going to the City College of New York at a time when an 80% Jewish student body is organizing student trade unions, anti-fascist rallies, and the “New York Intellectuals” were busily debating Trotskyism vs. Stalinism vs. Norman Thomas Socialism vs. the New Deal in the dining halls and study carrels.
gotta love a well-researched takedown of such lazy, hoary tropes as “Captain America is a monolithic aryan crypto-fascist”
a coworker had this belt for a generic hippie cosplay, but once i paint it gold and get some bullet bracers i will totally be down for comic-verse black widow!
"i don’t like the new ms. marvel"
"but i’m not islamophobic"
let me tell you something buddy at this point in time the only information we have about her is that she’s muslim if you dislike her already i have some news for you
OR YOU KNOW they could be more fond of the original you know. Its not that shes muslim its that shes replacing a character they were fond of already with someone who’s almost completely different. Its like if the completley revamped say, the Doctor as a young hispanic girl who isn’t as capable and/or emotionably stable as the original.
look the dumb comments started who wants to take this one
I’ll take this one
Carol isn’t being replaced at all
Carol has moved on from the identity of Ms. Marvel, and that change has clearly been beneficial for her as a person and as a hero
If you want Carol, she’s still here, and being featured more prominently than ever. She was amazing as Ms. Marvel, and she’s amazing as Captain Marvel, and if you have a problem with her as Captain Marvel, that’s really your own bullshit
in letting a new young woman be inspired by Carol and take up her old mantle, Marvel is respecting Carol’s identity as a feminist hero—as a character who was created to embody women’s liberation. This female legacy is a beautiful thing, and there’s no excuse for shitting on it
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Are you excited about the new Ms. Marvel? Telling Tumblr is great. Telling your retailer is even better. You know what else you can do? TELL MARVEL by writing to them directly — even just to say you like the direction they’re going.
(Here’s the thing: folks who are not happy about this will are far more likely to pick up a pen, so… get to it.)
As an aside—and this is addressed to anyone and not just with regard to my books—if there’s a book you’re particularly enjoying, yes, it is kind and generous of you to let the creators know. It’s ALSO kind and generous of you to let the PUBLISHER and (if you shop this way) your local comic shop know. Mail/tweets from readers always make an impression.
I’ve filled this list in the best I can without spending a ton of time on it. If anybody wants to do more research, I’ll repost.
Marvel Entertainment, LLC
135 W. 50th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10020
Contact Oni Press
1305 SE Martin Luther King Blvd., Ste. A
Portland, OR 97214
Contact Dark Horse
Dark Horse Comics
10956 SE Main Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(Feel free to add other publishers, too. )
…And if you’re open to your letter being used in a letter column, mark it OKAY TO PRINT.
[For the Marvel Avengers office, you can also reach the boss through his Tumblr. It would be nice if he got some NOT SUPER SHITTY asks every once in a while.]
Hey guys? Please take a moment to tweet, email, write, fax, whatever you can do and thank Marvel for their continuing efforts to diversify their stable of heroes. The interns and staffers who handle their mail and PR are going to be swamped by, shall we say, the less pleasant parts of fandom and humanity in general, and I’d really like to counterbalance that a bit.
We’re all so quick to say when things are wrong, myself included. Let’s take a moment to remember that everyone likes to hear when they’re trying to do the right thing. That every voice saying, “Give me a comic, give me a shirt, give me a movie, give me a CHANCE,” is important, if we want to drown out the ones saying, “They’re buying the straight, white, male characters you have now, so why should you bother?”
Everyone needs a hero. And we have a chance here. That three women will carry, or have carried the Marvel name. Three very different women. Monica, Carol, and Kamala. Imagine the movie that could be.