So, the Internet has blown up over Captain America. If you haven’t read the new Steve Rogers comic book and plan to do so you may want to stop here. I’d wager if you use social media it has been pretty difficult to avoid spoilers though. This particular spoiler has reached Game of Thrones level spoilerage on facebook and Twitter in particular. So, I’ve stalled long enough. We now know that Captain America has been a Hydra double agent from the beginning, and fans are pissed. First off, this is brilliant! The Cap books have been nowhere near the top of Marvel’s sales sheets, well guess what, that has now changed, at least in the short term. You, the fan, got played and it’s great.
I’ve been a fan of Captain America since I’ve been a fan of comic books. So, to discover that he has been a Hydra agent from the beginning definitely displeases me. So, I now have to follow this story through and determine if this revelation is backed up with a great story. The problem with modern fandom is that they have so focused on what they think a character or book or show should be that they’ve forgotten that these are pieces of art crafted by artists, not by them! At the end of the day if the story is great I’ll be sated. If the story is a dramatic failure I’ll be disappointed that a great character, an icon, was wasted on poor storytelling. I didn’t create Cap, and I’m not continuing to create him, so I don’t have a say in how he evolves. I’m just along for the ride. If I don’t like the trip them I’ll jump off and head another direction. I’ve been on and off the Spider-Man ride many times due to what I felt were missteps with that character.
Fans these days use hashtags, online petitions, and sometimes even death threats to try and influence a story. What happened to having cool discussions about the how and why and what will happen next and just appreciating that creators continue to surprise us. Captain America for example has been around for 75 years. There are only so many punches he can throw. We need fresh storytelling and innovative directions for the character to go. Sure some ideas might be able to be recycled for new generations, but truthfully artists should be looking for new paths to take. Literally who do we think we are to tell a painter how to paint just because we are fans of their previous work?
The reality is that the whole Cap controversy in particular is laughable. Does anyone actually believe that Marvel didn’t know the Internet would blow up over this plot twist? In one fell swoop Marvel has reinvigorated interest in a Captain America comic, took over nearly every social media platform, and even gave the artist the ability to paint a new picture with the same red, white, and blue paint that has been used for 75 years. Perhaps the most ridiculous part is that any real comic book fan knows that these arcs aren’t arcs, they’re nearly always circles. Eventually Cap will circle back to the hero we’ve known but it should be a fascinating ride back to the beginning. We went through a year of Doc Ock inside Spidey’s head and oh yeah Steve Rogers was just dead for a while too.
Prince did it right; he just created what he wanted to create and released it how it wanted. Sure, sometimes he infuriated fans with his methods (including me) but he kept us fascinated and he was unaffected by fan ire online. The best way we can protect the things we love the most is to actually ask the artists to become more reclusive and hard to find. Movies, TV, and even comics are already all to often created by committee. The last thing we need is for bitchy little baby fans to start trying to exert some level of control with hashtags and hissy-fits because they think they can paint better than the actual painter.