Captain America is dead. Read about it here.
I devoted a chapter of my book to Captain America as a symbol of the journey from idealism through disillusionment to conviction. And while to kill a superhero is not necessarily to end his life, the death of Captain America is unavoidably a statement. He died once before, in the 1940s, as short-sighted comic publishers failed to grasp a vision for the character beyond the immediate jingoism of World War II, but his death this time is an indictment not of comic publishing but of the American experiment: the world, it suggests, has moved beyond America, and America will ultimately be left behind.
It's funny, because before I heard about this development I rewatched Superman Returns, in which Superman, um, returns after a five-year unexplained absence. In the interim, Lois Lane has moved on, giving birth to a child of dubious parentage, entering into a long-term committed romance and authoring the article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman"--for which she wins a Pulitzer prize. Superman isn't dead per se, but in the eyes of Lois, in the eyes of the world, he might as well be.
By the end of the movie, of course, Lois has saved Superman, Superman has saved her; she has saved her son, he has saved her; she has saved her boyfriend, he has saved her. Superman has saved the world, and the world has saved him. Lois sits down to write another article: "Why the World Needs Superman." She's moved from idealism, through disillusionment, to conviction.
It's funny, because I'm also three months into the Year of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who writes on Christianity in the aftermath of the death of Christianity. He is leading me from idealism, through disillusionment, to conviction.
So I'm hopeful that Captain America will be resurrected. The world may not need him today, but tomorrow is another story.
In other news, my book just came out in an Indonesian edition. I can't read it, but it sure looks sweet.