Captain America vs. The Tea Partiers!

Thursday, February 11, AD 2010

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. 

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9 Responses to Captain America vs. The Tea Partiers!

  • I always loved Catch Me Now I’m Falling by the Kinks. British rockers empathizing with the plight of America in the Carter years. After 911 it seemed all the more poignant.


  • When I started collecting comics they were already expensive and this was the Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller’s) and Watchmen era. So things were edgy. At that age (high school) I was offended by the Leftist-lean and not so much by the libertine representations. Comics, especially superhero comics can be a very good influence in the culture but too many artists are indoctrinated into a leftist mentality. Comics should be apolitical, virtuous and entertaining. I don’t know what they are like these days.

    One of my favorite has always been Spiderman (Ditko did a good job, I especially enjoyed McFarlane). The motto of Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” That is awesome. If you notice in the recent Toby McGuire movies the depiction of Spiderman is of a brash youth, who learns the above lesson and sacrifices so much in his life to help people. At one point he is beaten to a pulp and the people of New York carry him, his arms are extended as if he is on a cross. When he gets invaded by a dark, alien symbiot he turns to a Catholic Church for help. He is also forgiving and empathetic to his nemeses.

    Superheros are based on the ultimate Superhero archetype – Jesus the Christ. A good superhero story always has miraculous powers or human enhancements, a vulnerability, a sacrificial attitude and stands for good as in Truth, Justice and the American Way.


  • When I collected comics, I didn’t read them. Comics belong in plastic sleeves.

  • One cannot be “Captain America” without being “pro- Tea Party”. Stan Lee has tripped off the line.

  • Ironically, not long ago Cap was literally fighting the Feds in the Civil War storyline.. but again.. that was based on leftist reaction to the GWB regime & the Patriot Act, so.. I dunno.


  • Sarah Palin’s Nashville speech was the most significant oration of the 21st century.


  • I can’t recall any leftist sympathies in my mile-high stack of Richie Rich comic books circa-1977.

  • I am sure Cadbury, the perfect butler, was a closet socialist!

  • On one hand, Marvel has a Catholic hero, Nightcrawler, who is one of the mutant “extra men” also known as “X-Men”. Nightcrawler looks like a demon but grew up in a monastery and carries a rosary. On the other hand, Marvel hosted students from the Harvey Milk School in observation of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Day, so it would be prudent to carefully screen materials from Marvel before placing them in the hands of young readers.