Wednesday, March 07, 2007

RIP, CAP

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.

4 comments:

Pete Juvinall said...

Yeah, I saw that on digg.com (a site I'm beginning to rarely frequent, but that's another story)and thought of you.

I find it interesting that they choose *this* moment to do it. RIP Captain!

Fred Hudson said...

I told my wife this today and she looked at me like I just told her I found out that I've got a sixth toe on my right foot (I really don't so stop asking). I have mixed feelings about this because first of all Cap is just a freakin' comic book character (my wife's logic); second, he's freakin' Captain America. He single handedly brought down the Third Reich (albeit it was in a comic book) and he stood as not just a comic book character but an icon of American democracy. DC tried to off Superman back in the 90's to some pretty big publicity. Soon after all his books went by the wayside until right about the turn of the millennium. I hope the same fate doesn't befall Cap.

I don't know if you picked up Civil War, but I really got into that storyline. Well, until issue seven. Civil War was not a story, but a political statement made by Mark Millar. Just like many of the recent company wide crossovers from the "big two" it was a huge let down. I realize Marvel Entertainment is in the business of selling stories but I'm just a little concerned about what hidden messages they're sending to the world. Captain America dying goes right along with the line in "Superman Returns" where Perry says, "Does he still stand for Truth, Justice and all that stuff (or junk?)?" Is pop culture trying to tell the world that America the nation is no longer relevant? America the idea is what we should be sharing?

I've been a Marvel fan since I started collecting comics but I feel like they're taking pot shots at some of their most beloved characters (i.e. Aunt May gets shot in the most recent ASM; Foggy Nelson was offed in Daredevil by the same writer who just offed Cap; yet, Foggy came back, as all but a handful have done). There is so much more to say but I don't want to take more of your time or anyone else's who might, by happenstance, come upon this comment. I just have to say...

In this world we live in today, Marvel may not need you anymore, but America sure could use you. We'll miss you Steve Rogers.

R.I.P.
Captain America (1941-2007)

man I'm a geek.

Al Hsu said...

Gosh darn it to heck, I was trying to avoid press about this because I knew a major character would die but didn't want to find out who. But I saw it in yesterday's paper (before reading it on this blog). Curse the media. Oh, well. I had kind of suspected when I saw the new issues of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers and Cap isn't in either lineup.

But he'll be back.

Damon said...

when we gonna see some pictures of your sweet Indonesian book. Everyone loves an import!!

Has it been translated into Japanese and if so does it have sweet anime?