In my mispent youth back in the Sixties I read a lot of comics. My parents would give me and my brother a dollar each as our weekly allowance and at 12 cents a comic we could buy quite a few, even more if we purchased them for a nickel each used at an antiques\junk store in downtown Paris, Illinois. The most sacrificial Lent I have ever made was in 1965 at the age of 8 when I gave up my beloved comic books for Lent! Back then comics were quite safe for kids. On the whole I’d say they were beneficial for me, extending my vocabulary, introducing me to literary genres such as westerns and science fiction and the writing sometimes was of an unexpectedly high level. Some of the artists who drew the comics were of high calibre. Steve Ditko for example, the original artist who drew Spider-Man, had a very effective and memorable style of drawing. I stopped reading comics back around 1972, although I do buy silver age comic compilations for nostalgia and I keep half an eye on the industry as an aspect of popular culture.
I was not surprised to learn that a current story arc in Captain America has the Captain taking on the tea party movement. Comic book artists and writers have skewed heavily to the Left since the Sixties. My first protest letter, my first pre-computer attempt at a blog post, was a letter I wrote to Marvel Comics in pencil in 1969 protesting a story line in which Captain America was turning against US involvement in Vietnam.
In issue 602 of Captain America, the Captain and the Falcon, a black super-hero, see a tea party rally and decide that it poses a danger to, well that is not precisely clear, although I assume it is dangerous to the government. Captain America hits upon the brilliant plan to have the Falcon pose as a black IRS agent and go to a red neck bar and stir things up. (Hmmm, apparently plots and story lines have gone into steep decline since my day!) The hoot about this is that as long as the Republicans had the White House, the comics were filled with paranoid story lines involving evil government plots. With Obama in the White House, it is now evil to protest the government.
This of course has caused a huge amount of controversy. When controversy rears its head the comic book industry has a traditional response: back down faster than a man who has forgotten his wife’s birthday. Continue reading