Read Mr. Brevoort’s words — “I don’t think, for example, we’d have gone with Holy Terror as a Captain America story” — and then go to any reputable news source and examine the stories coming out of Iraq and Syria right now. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is doing everything within its power to bring about an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, Iraq is imploding, Syria is a terrorist breeding ground and the president of the United States is so desperate for help that he needs Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to help stem the violence.
A relevant publisher would see such glaring national security threats and say: “This is a subject matter that a Captain America comic book must address.” Sadly, that is not the case at Marvel Comics. The character who punched out Hitler won’t take on radical Islamic extremists because that might offend somebody.
Let us turn to one of last week’s most interesting national security headlines. The Daily Beast reported June 14:
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island. The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world [said]: “I’ll see you guys in New York,” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.
Hmmm. This seems like a pretty bad dude. He’s got a huge bank account, an army of men willing to die for him, and his organization has left a trail of dead bodies all across the Middle East. Oh, and he just-so-happens to hate America — but somehow Marvel doesn’t want ask the kind of tough questions “Holy Terror” addressed — in a Captain America comic no less? Pathetic.
When one reads excerpt’s from Frank Miller’s “This Old Cloth,” Mr. Brevoort’s answer becomes even more spineless:
Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated — reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.
For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.
Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don’t all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.
So you’ve got to do what you can to help your country survive. That’s if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.
No black ops for Cap in Syria. No black ops for Cap in Iraq. No black ops for Cap in Afghanistan. No black ops for Cap in Pakistan. But Marvel is all about Captain America taking on the tea party.
These days, Marvel doesn’t push the envelope at all. It puts out a press release every time it does something easy (e.g., the company creates a superhero that allows guys like Mr. Brevoort to chortle on about diversity, as if readers haven’t been bashed over the head with how awesomely-awesome diversity is since they could barely walk). Unfortunately, Marvel has not explored what it means when the desire for diversity allows the world to turn a blind eye to the most illiberal individuals and organizations on the planet.
Here is what I wrote about Holy Terror upon its release:
Holy Terror is at times raw, confusing, and poignant. Sometimes it angers (do you think that might be intentional?). It also makes anyone who reads it wonder why it had to be written in the first place. Fans of Holy Terror know why, and some of us aren’t afraid to talk about it. Critics of the book liken any frank (no pun intended) discussion of Islamic terrorism to an attempt to make it synonymous with Islam as a whole. Again, whose fault is that? Perhaps we should ask Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch film director to whom Frank Miller dedicates the book. Or not…because he’s dead, slain by Islamic radicals.
Tom Brevoort likes the idea of having Frank Miller write Captain America tales — provided he turns in politically correct milquetoast pap. While the world focuses on very real, very evil bad guys, Marvel gives the green light to “Cap vs. Tea Party.” Readers got a heaping helping of weird Bush administration allegories with “Civil War,” but suddenly the burning desire to keep readers politically abreast of real-world headlines cooled just around 2008… How convenient.
If you want a thought-provoking read, tell Marvel to reach out to Frank Miller about writing Captain America. If you like self-congratulatory fare masquerading as ground-breaking diversity, then do nothing; Marvel has mastered that act.
Hat tips: Reader TruthWillWin1 and Hube over at Colossus of Rhodey.