Marvel Missteps.

Somebody has to have one of those shields, and not be crummy today.

Today I had the day off, what with it being Memorial Day. For those of us that get confused between this holiday and Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. A pretty big deal.

Marvel Comics took a whole lot of heat today, as a r4sult of their current “Secret Empire” plot line. To be completely fair, they kind of walked right into it.

You see, for Memorial Day, Marvel posted a featuring an image of Captain America. The tweet tastefully read: “Thank you to all the fallen heroes.” Seems pretty straightforward, and pretty much what you would expect Marvel Comics to do. Some thought that, in light of Captain America being revealed as a sleeper agent of the Nazi-associated Hydra, that this was a little insensitive. A “tweetstorm” directed toward @Marvel ensued.

This is just the latest in media problems that Marvel has had as a result of the “Secret Empire” plotline, which has been pretty continuously problematic. Sales are down, and the company keeps managing to anger a pretty vocal and loyal fan base. Arguably, the best solution for Marvel is to get through the story arc as quickly as possible.

Some fans in the tweetstorm suggested that the post be taken down, others suggested that they had used the Sam Wilson character, who is sharing the name of “Captain America” and is not associated with fascism and betrayal. Given that Sam Wilson is also African-American, I think that would have been a bold and very good way to go in the initial tweet…sort of representing the diversity of American heroes. We didn’t get that, we got traditional Steve Rogers Cap, standing in front of a flag.

As a result, I wanted today’s sketch to be more positive. I’ve had a nice day today, and met up with a few friends, and had a generally quiet time. Arguably, people have given their lives for me to have that privilege, and the freedoms that I enjoy on a daily basis. I wanted something that was positive, and friendly, and suggested that kind of quiet gratitude.

I’m never going to be a very good patriot. I do, however, think that the basic rights and values that the U.S. has been struggling to make real for everyone are pretty important, and pretty important to protect. Heck, a big part of my day job is attempting to teach my students the inherent value of their free speech rights, and what kind of legitimate power freedom of speech gives you. I think that I stand up for those things pretty decently, and certainly respect the people who are “dyed in the wool” patriots, and willing to go to war to protect the values and freedoms that I think are important.

So…it felt okay to have Cap wearing a dinged up old Captain America shield. There have actually been a few, so it’s not like she couldn’t have scrounged it up. It felt more okay for her to be sharing a drink with an aging veteran…I think we all lose sight of the fact that there are real people that had to do heroic things, as we go about our day to day activities.

I’m going to edit a bit, and hope that maybe I’m making Marvel’s point better than they did. “Thank you to all of our heroes.”

That’s what the company MEANT, True Believers.

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