Recently, the conservative Washington Times newspaper ran an article referencing last week’s publication of Captain America’s United States # 1 with the headline “Marvel Celebrates July 4th Weekend By Having Captain America Say The American Dream ‘Isn’t Real’”. Of course, this doesn’t actually happen – or it’s a willful misreading of the comic at best – but it did cause the usual kind of outrage you might expect, including among some people who should know better. Oh and yes, I’m British, but I love America and Americans very much, and I’m currently planning to spend Thanksgiving there this year. It should probably be the first. PIP Pip!
Unlike the newspaper’s headline, Captain America doesn’t say the American Dream isn’t real, but dreams aren’t real. If the journal wants to contradict this statement, we can be in a whole new realm of metaphysics. So what is going on?
Captain America’s United States comic is a reexamination of the character of Captain America, in light of the culmination of Ta-Nahesi Coates‘performed on the series, which ended last month. It is mainly written by Christophe Cantwell, who wowed fans on the Iron Man comic book of the end. The comic in question sees Steve Rogers ruminating on Captain America and his place in the country while brewing an old-fashioned way to clean and polish his shield. The combination of the two is clearly deliberate. And it refers to a famous Frank Miller daredevil 80s comic strip in which Steve Rogers rejected the government of the day in favor of the “American Dream”, thus:
The American dream is classically an ideal that offers the possibility of prosperity, success and social advancement for family and children, through hard work in a society with few barriers, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. As a counterpart, of course, this is seen as an ideal that the country has consistently failed at, whether it be slavery, internment, Jim Crow laws, to the injustices that have seen it. Black Lives Matter paraded in the streets last year, or the observation that only millionaires become president. After all, this is just a dream. But it is the problem of ideals; they’re good at helping you get on the right track – eventually. In this comic, Captain America takes apart the various supporters of the American Dream and how it was used and abused while polishing this shield.
So two dreams for the price of one, and we lie too. Take out the vinegar, salt and baking soda.
Americana refers to artifacts related to the history, geography, folklore, and cultural heritage of the United States of America and are popular around the world, especially relating to the 1940s and 1950s, a time before the movement. for civil rights. And superhero comics, at least traditionally, are part of that Americana.
It’s an isolationist approach. And here’s the thing – Captain America was born, created by Joe simon and Jack kirby in 1939 as a radical opponent of isolationism. In Issue 1, he fought Adolf Hitler, before the United States entered WWII, and still pursued an isolationist approach, supported by the majority of the country. Joe and Jack got hate mail, hate mob, for Captain America Comics # 1. But things changed quickly, and soon Captain America found himself on the right side of history. So what does the American Dream mean to Captain America if it isn’t tied to Americana?
The American dream must therefore apply to everyone – something that is central to how it has been expressed, but for centuries, kept out of the hands of many by the system, expectations, prejudices and the status quo. And when the American dream is not accessible as it should be, then that’s another matter.
So this comic has Captain America preaching an American dream accessible to everyone, in theory at least, for those who try, not just for the few, which is at the heart of what it’s meant to be.
Rather than asking Captain America to say the American Dream isn’t real, he says it should be for everyone. But that wouldn’t make such a good headline for The Washington Times or the other media that follow in its wake. And why is Cap thinking about all of this now? Because in the comics, the Smithsonian wants his shield for an exhibition. It gives Steve Rogers the chance to reflect on American heroes of all stripes without the cape and hood.
While reflecting on how various political groups have used Captain America to promote their ideology, be it proper or robotic, which has happened and has happened in the real world, all the time while Disney is happy to sell Captain America merchandise. And how he is also an easy target.
It’s almost as if his words are reused to fit an agenda, which is exactly what The Washington Times did. Except they chose not to reprint or report on that bit either. This is funny. Anyway, at this point, Cap is attacked, his shield is stolen, launches a chase and a battle through town, and presumably through the series, with all the symbology that comes with it. And as Steve Rogers begins to find out how all kinds of people are currently responding positively to Captain America. When he gets the shield back, maybe that will prompt him to place it in the Smithsonian after all? Because this comic seems to see how the American Dream inspires so many, and in the comic it manifests itself by mirroring the Americana image of Captain America, scavenged by disparate groups in search of their own icon. And for those who think that kind of political talk is too much of a hammer for Captain America, well, he’s used to doing it a lot more, and not just in an inner monologue. Like that. forty years ago;
Or a decade ago, when the President of the United States was revealed to be the head of a major criminal enterprise, The Secret Empire, playing Watergate.
This leads Steve Rogers to abandon his identity as Captain America for a while, unable to feel that he could represent an America like this. It’s not the only time he’s done this, it’s become a trope. Although at the time, no one chose to publish a headline that said “Marvel Makes Captain America Tell America is a Piece of Trash” or “Marvel Says President of the United States is a Criminal in leader who commits suicide, has Captain America resigned “. At different times, I guess, where the comics could tell all kinds of interesting stories and make political arguments without scaring the horses. It’s just strange that the people who grew up with these stories are now mortally offended when something similar and, to be fair, more subtle and nuanced now happens. And look, there will always be something weird about a superhero draped in a flag, but at least Captain America repeatedly acknowledges it and examines the aftermath. Before hitting someone real hard and throwing their shield in a very cool way too …