I have a day off today, and I’ve been reading the news, which now is a daily descent into verbal surrealism. It dawned on me, possibly because I’ve been reading a whole lot of Silver Age Marvel Comics, that we are once again Very Worried About Russia.
I grew up during the Cold War…in fact, I entered college at roughly the same time that the Berlin Wall came down. It has been decades since it seemed rational to think about Russian spies interfering with American politics, elections, or any of the other things that we have heard of as of late. It struck me that somehow, without the Soviet Union being in existence, that we are back to the Old School of an Adversarial Russia.
Comics were much simpler then. You could always fall back on Russians, or heck, Communism in general, as the Bad Guy. Ronald Reagan regularly appeared in comics, and unlike the Republican Party Members of today, he was a positive figure that gave Superman advice. Granted…he was Very Concerned about Communism, but we pretty much just established, so were the superheroes of the time.
The only reason that I’m Very Concerned right now is that it seems to me that to some extent, Russia very much has its hands in attempting to destabilize and polarize American politics, and interfere with our basic right to free speech. Well, that right, and the right to a sane government. Both of those things are important to me, because…I LIVE here. I’d prefer to do so without any more interference on the side of craziness than our own residents can provide.
Hence, as I thought about it, I decided to draw Cap bringing the boot on some giant Communist Super Bear. Pony Torch is in tow, of course, because I really do need practice drawing fire, and also because it strikes me that giant Communist Super Bears would not like small flaming ponies. They seem like natural enemies, in some way.
I imagine that comics will follow suit soon enough, once again given me Russian Bad Guys, painted with a pretty broad, stereotypical brush. If they are giant angry Super Bears, I might be able to accept it for a while, but really…how often can you show a superhero fighting a giant Communist Bear? It seems to me that it would lose its cache quickly.