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Tea Baggers are again up-in-arms at being viciously attacked by those LEFTIES at Marvel Comics who dared to associate their cause with that of - a  band of White Supremacists!

How Dare they! How could they so clearly misunderstand what Tea Bagging is all about?

Keith explains...

This is what the big stink is about.

Just how miffed are the Baggies about this?  This miffed:

Like Dave Weigel I'm a longtime comics collector and fan, so let me take this piece by piece.

This guy complains that Marvel has been "influenced by the left" because of the Character Northstar from Alpha Flight - was one of the first openly gay Characters in Comics.  (As a French Canadian, he was pretty much halfway there already wasn't he?) All kidding aside, Northstar actually came out in order to help bring more awareness to the epidemic of AIDS.
Yeah, Marvel was obviously out to help that "Lefty Conspiracy" to keep people from dying.  This occurred during a time when President Ronald Reagan wouldn't even SAY the word "AIDS" in public.

He actually invokes Frederick Wertham and the "Seduction of the Innocent" in a positive light? A book that alleged that Wonder Woman was a bondage lesbian and Batman was a Gay Pedophile because of close relationship with orphan Dick Grayson?

The hysterical Reefer-Madness element of Wertham's 1954 book actually inspired congressional action with the Senate Subcommitte on Juvenile Deliquency. This frightened the Comics industry so badly that William Gaines publisher of EC Comics called together an emergency meeting of all the various companies to come up with a plan to combat this suppression.

Excerpt of Gaines testimony:

   * Chief Counsel Herbert Beaser: Let me get the limits as far as what you put into your magazine. Is the sole test of what you would put into your magazine whether it sells? Is there any limit you can think of that you would not put in a magazine because you thought a child should not see or read about it?
   * Bill Gaines: No, I wouldn't say that there is any limit for the reason you outlined. My only limits are the bounds of good taste, what I consider good taste.
   * Beaser: Then you think a child cannot in any way, in any way, shape, or manner, be hurt by anything that a child reads or sees?
   * Gaines: I don't believe so.
   * Beaser: There would be no limit actually to what you put in the magazines?
   * Gaines: Only within the bounds of good taste.
   * Beaser: Your own good taste and saleability?
   * Gaines: Yes.
   * Senator Estes Kefauver: Here is your May 22 issue. [Kefauver is mistakenly referring to Crime Suspenstories #22, cover date May] This seems to be a man with a bloody axe holding a woman's head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?
   * Gaines: Yes sir, I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.
   * Kefauver: You have blood coming out of her mouth.
   * Gaines: A little.
   * Kefauver: Here is blood on the axe. I think most adults are shocked by that.

If he thinks that was in "bad taste" he should see some Japanese Manga comics - or any of the Saw Movies.  Not all of this is "kid stuff" simply because it's printed on paper with pictures.

EC itself  was a great risk since the core of their line included various horror comics such as "Tales from the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror" - all of which were morality tales wear a person who has done some type of wrong or evil is karmically punished in inventive ways.  These titles were highly popular and very lucrative allowing EC to also published a set of very intense and hyper-realistic Saving Private Ryan-styled war comics by artist Harvey Kurtzman such as Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales.

As Dave Weigel alludes to in his segment with Keith, instead of coming up with a plan to fight back, Gaines meeting went horribly wrong as all the other publishers decided to create a self-censorship board called the Comics Code Authority, and made a pact with distributors not to sell ANY COMIC that didn't include a Comic Code "Seal of Approval" which could only be gained if the comic didn't include pretty much anything that was part of the basis for most of EC's Line of Books.  

Like the previous (Hollywood) code, the CCA prohibited the presentation of "policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions ... in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority." But it added the requirements that "in every instance good shall triumph over evil" and discouraged "instances of law enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal's activities." Specific restrictions were placed on the portrayal of kidnapping and concealed weapons.

Depictions of "excessive violence" were forbidden, as were "lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations." Vampires, werewolves, ghouls and zombies could not be portrayed. In addition, comics could not use the words "horror" or "terror" in their titles. The use of the word "crime" was subject to numerous restrictions.

Where the previous code had condemned the publication of "sexy, wanton comics," the CCA was much more precise: depictions of "sex perversion", "sexual abnormalities", and "illicit sex relations" as well as seduction, rape, sadism, and masochism were specifically forbidden. In words echoing the Hollywood Production Code, love stories were enjoined to emphasize the "sanctity of marriage" and those portraying scenes of passion were advised to avoid stimulating "lower and baser emotions."

The Wingnut Wetdream Comics Code essentially put EC and Gaines almost entirely out of business with one lone exception - Mad Magazine.

Harvey Kurtzman had to give up his war books, and over the next several decades spent his time doing a low-grade porn comedy strip in Playboy Magazine called "Little Annie Fannie".

From Tales of the Crypt and Frontline Combat to Mad Magazine and Little Annie Fannie - that is the legacy of what Dr. Wertham hath wrought.

But even despite the Comics Code, what the Bag-Boys apparently doesn't know is that Captain America has nearly always leaned toward Liberty and against angry radicalized movements.  

During the 70's the turmoil and disillusionment of the Vietnam War and Watergate led the original Cap (Steve Rogers) to give up being Captain America - (as he wasn't sure what it stood for anymore) - and to become The Nomad.

Later in the 80's Steve again left behind his his Captain America identity after being pressured by government officials to work directly for them. He refused, and took the name "the Captain" and was replaced by an extremely unstable right-wing Super-Patriot named John Walker in the Captain America uniform.

Rogers eventually regained his CA uniform, and Walker became U.S. Agent.  Rogers was eventually killed after a Marvel Civil War over the issue of whether all superheroes should admit their identities and register with the government in the wake of 9-11. Rogers had led the forces of those opposed to registration against other heroes led by former Secretary of Defense Tony Stark (Iron Man):

The current Cap is Roger's former partner Bucky Barnes - but he's not exactly the plucky kid side-kick he used to be. In a plot twist which seems taken directly from the Bond novel "You Only Live Twice", Bucky who had long been thought dead had instead been brainwashed and turned into an Assassin by the Soviet Union.

After being cured and the apparent death of Rogers (who has since been "Reborn") Bucky has become the gun and knife wielding latest version of Cap.

This is the guy the baggers are whining about being too "Lefty"?  The sad part is how fast Marvel Editor in chief Joe Quesada capitulated and apologized for the "Mistake" of linking Tea Partiers to Racism.  He gave in even faster than the industry cow-towed to Wertham's delusions back in the 1950s.

More on this from Raw Story:

It seems there's a new third rail in American politics -- don't mess with the Tea Partiers -- and Marvel Comics has inadvertently grabbed it with both hands. And even though members of the Tea Party movement have extracted a half-hearted apology and a promised retraction from Marvel, their anger has barely abated.

In a recent issue of Captain America, the long-time superhero and his African-American partner The Falcon travel to Idaho to investigate a white supremacist militia group, the Watchdogs, who are long-time villains in the Marvel Universe. On the way, they pass an anti-tax rally where the protesters are holding up signs bearing familiar Tea Party slogans, such as "Stop the Socialists!" and "Tea Bag the Libs Before They Tea Bag You."

This implied mockery of the Tea Partiers quickly aroused a firestorm of indignation on conservative blogs and message boards, made even worse by the implied association between the protesters and the local racist militia.

One particularly angry blogger, Warner Todd Huston, wrote, "So, there you have it, America. Tea Party protesters just 'hate the government,' they are racists, they are all white folks, they are angry, and they associate with secretive white supremacist groups that want to over throw the U.S. government."

Not to worry since Marvel has already apologized, and blamed the offending signs on a naughty inker and claim that they won't be included in future pressings of issue #602 of Captain America.  Yeah those Baggers like nothing but some quick appeasement.

It really isn't all that far-fetched to think that the Bagger movement might, just might find common cause with Anti-Government White Supremacists.  Maybe we should ask Tom "Literacy Test" Tancredo, or better yet, Meghan McCain?

McCain: "Literacy Test"? This is inate racism.

Gene Robinson: People who looked like myself died to help end the use of Literacy Tests and the Poll Tax to block blacks from voting.

Yeah, they do hate government.  They do claim to want a "Revolution" and yeah, they do associate with "angry white folks" who fear and hate black people, minorities and those durn furriners who can barely say the word "Vote" in english.

The problem is that the Tea Party movement does have a clear racist streak - whether it's opposition to Barack Obama because he's black or whether they see him as a Liberal doens't much matter.  Republican and Democratic Liberals on the Left have repeatedly been the champions of minorities and the disenfranchised achieving equal rights and protections - be they women, black, gay, young (SCHIP) or old (Social Security, Medicare).

The Right and Conservatives, regardless of party, have been historically in the way of this progress - they've fought time and time again to dismantle the protections for the vulnerable erected by Liberals be that the EPA or Medicare, they've have used cheap race baiting like James O'Keefe silly Pimp Tricks with ACORN to maintain the status quo power structure.  They argue despite all evidence from the actual troops - that the troops couldn't possibly function with openly gay members.

Very often attacking the "Lefties and Liberals" is merely a way to attack minorities by proxy.  Not everyone on the right is "racist" clearly, but they often find common cause with racists. The distinction between their agendas is paper-thin and should be called out often and loudly.

The fact is that Captain America is the least of their problems with race, but if they want to say that he has a "Liberal Agenda" - go right ahead, he certainly isn't on their side of this issue.


Originally posted to Vyan on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:24 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada said (6+ / 0-)

    Marvel says that it meant no offense in the comic and that 'dig' at the Tea Party was accidentally added late in the production process.

    Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada:

    The book was getting ready to go to the printer, it was on fire already from a deadline standpoint, but the editor on the book noticed that there was a small art correct that needed to get done. On the first page featuring the protestors, the artist on the book drew slogans into the protest signs to give them a sense of reality and to set up the scene. On the following page featuring the protestors again, there were signs, but nothing written in them. From a continuity standpoint, this omission stood out like a sore thumb, but was easily fixable. So, just before the book went to the printer, the editor asked the letterer on the book to just fudge in some quick signs. The letterer in his rush to get the book out of the door but wanting to keep the signs believable, looked on the net and started pulling slogans from actual signs....

    "No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked." La Rochefoucald

    by Void Indigo on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:32:40 AM PST

  •  Well I Think Most Non-comic Books Folks (9+ / 0-)

    might not get a few things. One, many are pretty darn adult in nature and deal with complex issues. Two, often those issues are social issues and things being debated on a national political levels. Many of the comic book titles are not in fact for children, much less written for them.

    In the whole Captain America/Tea Bagger thing it is pretty darn mild. As as a guy noted on Countdown last night, the sign that so upset them is almost word for word the sign he took a pic up at a tea bagger event ....

    BTW:  I've just started Destroyer #4. It is both beautiful and really violent.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:34:39 AM PST

    •  I've had trouble explaining that to people. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nova Land, millwood, leftywright

      There's a reason the manga licensing companies put age ratings on the backs of the volumes. When they say Fullmetal Alchemist is not for eight-year-olds, they mean it! Basara certainly deserves its Older Teen rating.

      Just because a story is told in line drawings doesn't mean it's for kids! Or that it can't discuss serious adult issues - good lord, Fullmetal Alchemist fandom discussions, and research for them, is how I learned most of what I know about war-induced PTSD!

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 08:50:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i think (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Nova Land, millwood, LynneK

    everybody missed it! the dialoge baloon in that scene where falcon says something about" black guys from harlem mixing with the white crowd" is what got their panties in a wad

  •  the anti-comics meme (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, TexasTom, FininWA

    among the right has always been around, even after the comics code. In 1963, when Marvel and DC comics were quite bland and non-controversial, I had loaned my collection to my best friend while my family spent a year overseas. When I returned, his Birchite grandmother had discovered and BURNED both his and my comics, maintaining that they were communist propaganda. At the age of 10 I had no strong political opinions, but from that moment I sure as hell knew which side I was NOT on.

    Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

    by Perry the Imp on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 09:15:32 PM PST

  •  Cap has been political for a long time... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    He fights against fascism and for Truth, Justice, and the American way... (Or at least until he finds flaws in what he is fighting for.)
    Comics are sometimes the perfect vehicle for getting out the angst and pressing issues. I was sort of blown away when Capt.America was shot in the back. However, when it happened I sort of already had an idea it was by Christina Nationalists/Evangelicals without reading the episode.

    Marvel backs off because it probably has to do with sales and they can keep on doing what they are doing. (However, you would think this is the sort of thing that would re-spark interest in comic books.)

    This is a link to one of my paintings in my Toy Car series of a Captain likeness...
    Captain America Toy Car Painting

    Thanks Vyan, for posting this blog/thread...

    •  Cap has been political but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xapulin, Cassandra Waites

      in the 50's it was knee-jerk right-wing for the most part. Cap fought the commies, who were inherently dishonest, treacherous, and evil. Anyone expressing anti-war views was either a subversive trying to undermine the US or a naive dupe of subversives. (In the latter case, the dupes would keep on hindering Cap's efforts to foil the villains' plots, until near the end of the story they discover how wrong they had been to believe commies could ever be trusted or behave decently, would turn against the commies, and would die heroically -- glad for the chance to redeem themselves for their mistaken beliefs earlier in the story.

      This was not just in Cap; it was in virtually the entire Atlas (later to become Marvel) line. Routinely in science fiction and monster stories the villains were the evil commies. When the "Marvel Age" began, many of the early Fantastic Four, Hulk, and Iron Man villains were commies.

      DC was somewhat better, although right-of-center values cropped up in a number of their books too.

      In the mid-60s a new company, Tower, began doing stories about THUNDER -- The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves, a UN group sort of like UNCLE except they had superheroes for agents. Quite a few of the stories featured the agents fighting commie dictators.  A reader wrote in, When are you going to stop using Communists as villains in your stories (since, while it might make sense for strictly US heroes or hero teams such as the FF and the Avengers to fight commies, it made little sense for a UN group to do so since the Soviet Union was a key member of the UN).  The editor replied, completely missing the point, "We'll stop when they do,"

      It was wonderfully thrilling to see comics begin opening up a little and letting more liberal views be expressed in comics in the late 60s and early 70s. Perhaps it was due to older writers realizing the McCarthy era was ending and it was safe to express the occasional liberal sentiment. Perhaps it was due to an influx of younger writers. Or perhaps the companies realized that a lot of the young people whom they wanted to buy their comics might not appreciate the routine depiction of long-haired or bearded folks as lazy misguided good-for nothings.

      When Peter Parker first began attending college (mid-60s) protesters were depicted as lazy bums who were protesting just for the sake of protesting.  By the late 60s, there was a long story about a campus protest in which the protesters turned out to be right in their cause (but wrong in their method -- plus the campus authorities were actually on the right side all along, and if the students had trusted them the villains could have been foiled much more easily, since the villains were manipulating the students to cause disruption which made their job easier...)  By the early 70s there were Marvel and DC comics in which protesters actually were allowed to be thoughtful and sincere (rather than ignorant hotheads) and worthy of respect.

      Stan Lee began the liberalization of Captain America -- which actually felt to me like returning Cap to ideals he always should have had, a respect for the ideals of America rather a blind nationalistic love of America. But it was Steve Englehart who really really developed Cap as a liberty-loving idealist. (Englehart also did the first story in comics to depict a pacifist -- in this case, a returned Vietnam vet -- as heroic rather than a cowardly dupe.)

      Cap actually seems less liberal to me as currently written by Brubaker (which I admit I have not been following that closely) than he has in the past under writers such as Englehart, de Matteis, and Waid.  My feeling is that those writers were much better at depicting Cap as a symbol of and embodiment of the best US ideals than writers who have focused more on Cap as the best fighter around.

      Fighting Nazis, or commies, or other "enemies of freedom", is not pro-America or pro-freedom in itself. And demonizing the villains -- as was routinely done during the 40s and 50s -- seems to me profoundly anti-American.

      It reminds me of those who claim to love America's ideals of liberty so much that they want anyone who criticizes US policies or the US government to be investigated, arrested, or at least beaten up.

      There are plenty of right-wing action heroes for right-wingers to follow. In paperbacks, there are the Executioner, the Destroyer, and numerous others. In the movies, there are plenty of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Norris and Gibson characters. On tv, there's 24. I strongly support the right of fictional characters to hold and express right-wing views (and am a big fan of some comics, such as Steve Ditko's The Question, Shade, and Mr. A,  in which this was done).  What I don't understand is how right-wingers who supposedly support liberty and free speech can get so upset and go into such a rage of right-wing PCness when a fictional character expresses anything which is not right-wing approved.

  •  Joe Quesada caved because it makes money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    The issue has tripled in value in days.

    Unlike the Death of Superman or the Injuring of Batman, there won't be 1 million issues with the "right" inking.

    I bought one.

    But look ... the real unconscious discomfort isn't even about patriot Captain America going after super right wingers.

    The real unconscious discomfort is that Cap has always chased down Nazis and their ilk.  He has always quit when the country got too imperialist.  

    He is the consummate War Generation hero, standing up to fascists wherever they are.

    These guys would rather have the fascist Cap, Super-Patrior.  But he's an anti-hero at best, and a villain most of the time.  He reminds me of Vonnegut's quisling American character from Slaughterhouse Nine and Mother Night.

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