I was planning to have something big and landmarkish for my 100th letter. Was thinking I’d start with something like “Which Superhero Team is Actually, Genuinely, Objectively The Best?” and see where rambling on that for a couple pages got me.
I suspect it was going to end up being X-men… The irony of which is only going to get more bitter and complex as we proceed.
Captain America Is A Nazi
And I cannot believe I have to write an explanation of why that’s a bad thing.
I’m not going to recap what’s been going on. It doesn’t deserve a recap. It doesn’t deserve to be read. It doesn’t deserve to exist.
This is Inexcusably Offensive
To put it bluntly, this is EITHER intentional white supremacist propaganda, OR no exaggeration the worst idea in the history of comics. I guess it could be both. The point is, it has to be at least one of them.
Unfortunately, I have to suspect it’s the former. For it to be the latter, you would have to posit that the Author, Nick Spencer, and the Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso, and the CEO, Ike Perlmutter, have good intentions, and I don’t think you can do that. Because with well-intentioned people, when someone points out “What you are doing is extremely offensive to holocaust survivors, please stop,” they STOP DOING THAT THING.
Even if they had them, I don’t think that “having good intentions” gets you off the hook for publishing neo-Nazi propaganda.
And that is exactly what this is. Sure, you could argue that NaziCap is being presented as the bad guy. Sure, the event is probably going to end with him being beaten up. But there are other ways for this to be propaganda, because propaganda isn’t really about the message, it’s about the effect on the audience: a propagandist doesn’t care if he persuades you, only that he makes you do what he wants.
To show you what I mean, let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say there’s a podcast you really like. It’s funny, it talks about things you like hearing about… Lump Dumps, we’ll call it, starring IdTyrannosaur and ShawnCron. And after a while, ShawnCron leaves, gets replaced by a guy called, I dunno, Milton Sexycastle. Even though the hosts are different, you keep listening to Lump Dumps, it’s still fun. And meanwhile ShawnCron is off doing his own thing.
And you find out that “his own thing” includes being a white supremacist.
Immediately, you’re going to be unsure if it’s safe to listen to Lump Dumps anymore, even though ShawnCron no longer has anything to do with it. Because how long was this card in his hand? Were there warning signs you should have seen? Does this imply things about IdTyrranosaur and Milton SexyCastle, if they were ok with working with him? Does this imply something about YOU, if you were ok laughing at his jokes?
Any Resemblance To Persons Living Or Dead Etc
The message this event sends is “we get to hold your culture hostage to our racism.” If you want to laugh at these jokes, you have to be ok with the racial slurs. If you want to read this comic, you have to be ok with the HERO being a Nazi.
“If you want to be a geek, you’d better keep quiet, mind your business, and not make trouble about any ‘minority rights’ or anything, understand?”
I guess this is my chance to stand up against the man. Funny, I always imagined it would feel more cool, and less “I don’t get to like comics anymore.”
So what am I asking you to do, Reader? It’s hard to believe it, but…
I Think I’m Asking You to Boycott Marvel
Because Captain America was created to be a symbol of everything that’s opposed to Nazism—and I don’t care how you retcon it, Hydra and Nazism are the same thing. Because more than fifty years of Marvel continuity has been based on the premise that “Steve Rogers believes it” is the same thing as “It is true,” and that’s not a character you can make become a Nazi and still have your universe hang together.
Because as you read this, LGBT people are being put in concentration camps, and Nick Spencer wants to capitalize on that. Because they say things like “It’s diversity’s fault our sales were bad!” while having the moral center of their universe espouse white supremacist ideology.
Because companies don’t get to do something offensive, then say “It’s not offensive” and have it be not offensive. It doesn’t work like that.
I’m not saying cut off everything. Do what feels right for you. Maybe still go to the movies: Marvel Studios is a separate company. Maybe still buy tangential books—Squirrel Girl, for example, shouldn’t be punished for this, and that way you can shove that lie about diversity in their faces.
But don’t buy Captain America.
Don’t buy anything by Nick Spencer.
Don’t buy Secret Empire.
And tell Disney why.
Here’s Some Contact Info to Do That
Disney Corporate Office Address
Walt Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521
CEO: Robert A. Iger
CFO: James A. Rasulo
COO: Alan N. Braverman
Also Here Is A Form Letter To Get You Started
Feel free to alter, add, delete, whatever as you see fit:
“I am writing to you in connection with the actions of one of your subsidiary companies, Marvel Comics.
The current status of Captain America as a Nazi Agent is unthinkably offensive, as is the callous and apathetic response of the editors and executives of Marvel. As long as it is continuing I cannot in any way purchase any Marvel Comic. For me to resume my patronage the following demands would have to be met: 1, Fire Nick Spencer, the writer. 2, Remove the entire offensive episode from continuity. 3, Some form of public apology from Marvel comics.
The use of Captain America, a character created by two Jewish writers as a rebuke to Nazism, as a mouthpiece for Nazism, White Supremacy, and Fascism, is appallingly offensive. Not only to Jewish readers, not only to survivors of the Holocaust, not only to members of other ethnic, religious, or sexual minorities persecuted by the Nazis, but to every customer with a conscience and basic human empathy. You should be ashamed that this has been allowed to continue as long as it has.
It unfortunately falls to the parent company to address this, as repeated attempts to contact Marvel itself have been met with derision and disregard.”
I don’t know if this accomplishes anything. This letter is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written, and I have no idea if anyone will even notice it. But I can’t do nothing. I can’t pretend this doesn’t matter. I can’t let this happen without my saying, publicly, that it is wrong.
Because Captain America wouldn’t.
Rob MacArthur, The Guy Who Wrote This