It was last week that Marvel Comics stated that they would be revealing some huge twists leading up to Civil War II. And then, just as news broke on the big twist that DC Comics was putting in the first issue of their DC Universe: Rebirth, Marvel raised the stakes and teased that the surprise at the end of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 would be enormous.
Fan speculation fueled by Tumblr-driven, ‘ship’-crazed fandom hopped aboard the newly created #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend hashtag and people started speculating that Marvel was going to “turn” Captain America gay and all of their “Stony” or “Stucky” or “Stalcon” or whatever you call Steve Rogers and The Vision fantasies suddenly dominated the conversation. All of this – mind you – without a single inkling that Marvel was heading in that direction.
So when it was revealed on the last page of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1, written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Jesus Sais, that — SPOILER ALERT (in case you’ve been under a rock the past 24 hours) — Captain America appears to be a Hydra agent… well, people lost their minds.
Not all people, of course. Just the ones who seem to forget that this is exactly the sort of thing that happens in comics pretty much every single month.
Let me tell you all a story about a comic book from back in December 2012. Dan Slott (along with Humberto Ramos and the rest of the creative team) published a book called Amazing Spider-Man #700, in which — SPOILER ALERT (in case that was a really big rock and you’ve been under there a while) — Peter Parker has his body switched with Doctor Octopus and then died, which meant Parker was dead and Otto Octavius was running around in his body as Spider-Man. And it launched a new series called The Superior Spider-Man which follow “Sp-Ock” as readers called this new octopus in Spider-Man clothing.
The internet lost their collective mind back then as well. Critics and enraged fans were pathetically unsuccessful with pointless petitions for Slott to be fired (or demanding that Peter not die). There were death threats made against Slott. There were calls for boycotts. People were stunned that Slott could have destroyed Peter Parker’s legacy and for this they wanted his head.
And Slott (and his editor Stephen Wacker) doubled down. They said this was permanent. That Parker was dead. That this was the startling status quo. That everything was indeed changed forever, just like Stan Lee and Marvel always promised. The book sold like gangbusters. Superior Spider-Man was a mainstay at the top of the sales charts.
In the end, Peter Parker of course came back to life and took over being Spider-Man once more. And many of the critics who panned the idea eventually lauded Slott for the story and how it unfolded. And while there are still a handful of vocal fans who have never forgiven Slott, his success with the title cannot be questioned.
Which brings us to yesterday when Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 hit the stands. And then the wave of media coverage sent this to the stratosphere.
Nick Spencer has taken the brunt of the abuse this time. There are the idiotic death threats and calls for a boycott on not just this series but also on his other creator owned titles, like Morning Glories. Both of which are dumber than any plot point involving Nazi sleeper agents.
And then there is the #SayNoToHYDRACap hashtag that makes it easy to filter people out of your Twitter feed. That’s at least the one good thing that comes from these outrage-o-ramas. It makes it easy to see who is too annoying to follow on social media.
Much of the hand-wringing and torch-burning comes from people who, at face value, sound like folks who have neither bought or read the issue in question nor have purchased a Captain America comic book in the past 10 years (if ever). The majority of them sound like they’re angry fans of the movies, or fans of ‘shipping’ Captain America and every other straight superhero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but aren’t really interested in reading comics (because…ew. Gross.).
This is causing all of the people who use words like “legit” and “literally” and “can’t even” to exclaim how incensed they at whatever the rage du jour is to brandish their pitchforks and torches, petitioning for Marvel to change a story that they’ve been planning for months (if not a year) before it comes to its conclusion.
OK…I’m looking for volunteers on who can tell them it doesn’t work that way.
Look, no one is saying you cannot be offended. Just that you probably get easily offended.
No one is saying you cannot be angry with the story or not like it. Just that the rest of us are going to let you know how dumb you sound after the rest of the story unfolds.
No one is saying you cannot have an opinion on the character. They are saying that you don’t own them and have no rights to determine what they do. You can just decide what is and isn’t for you tastes and shop accordingly.
If you don’t like a story after the first issue, you absolutely have the right to not want to buy it any more. But what you cannot do is threaten someone’s life over a comic book. You cannot call for someone to be fired because you don’t like the first chapter in a story that will last anywhere from a half-dozen to twenty four issues…AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW IT’S GOING TO END!!!
And you damn well better be ready for people to call you out for it when you do, because if you think that Marvel Comics is going to keep Captain America a Nazi agent supervillain for any extended period of time, and that Nick Spencer didn’t have to explain to his editors what the endgame on this story is and get approval first, then I have a bridge that I can sell you in Brooklyn.
It’s in great condition and only had one superhero girlfriend killed on it, never to return from the dead…
Oh wait…nevermind. #SpiderGwenLives