Hello, Avengers!

From IGN, comes the cover to May's Avengers #1- and it's a beautiful thing, isn't it?

Two Americas

Long time friends and readers of this blog know that I have an unabashed love of Captain America and, in particular, Ed Brubaker's vision of the character. Brubaker's ongoing run on that comic is one of the greatest long term runs of any individual on any comic ever, because he knows exactly what makes a Captain America story great.

My, admittedly minimal, academic work on comics has focused, so far, mainly on that run because I think the way it deals with who Captain America is and what Captain America means is fascinating. Therefore, I wanted to spend some time dealing with the recent controversy over some signage in Captain America #602, from a couple of weeks ago.

In case you aren't familiar with what's going on, the sign that caused the controversy was the one on the top of the right hand page, which reads "tea bag the libs before they tea bag you". I would like to note that it's interesting that no one has taken issue with the incredibly common yet unfortunately misinformed sign on the left hand page reading "NO GOVT IN MY MEDICARE" because, if anything, that one would seem to be more pointed than the one that has caused all the ruckus. I guess since there are many people who believe (incorrectly) that government and medicare aren't one and the same, however, that one is being left alone.

The fact that this controversy exists at all is also interesting: Brubaker, for his part, has found that "all the really hard core left-wing fans want Cap to be standing out on and giving speeches on the street corner against the George W. Bush administration and all the really right-wing fans want him to be over in the streets of Baghdad, punching out Saddam Hussein." This is not to say that I would have expected anyone outside of the comics world to know about Brubaker's remarks or his opinion that Captain America is above such things as "left-wing" or "right-wing", but only that the writer has clearly thought about issues like this in the past.

Which is what makes him such a damn good Captain America writer. Brubaker makes all of his Cap stories not only about Steve Rogers or Bucky Barnes, but also about the thing that they represent: America. Now, it seems to me that he has tapped into a very old and very specific thread of American thought in writing his Sentinels of Liberty- Brubaker writes Captain America as a (notice the small r) republican hero.

Republicanism is a thread of political thinking that stretches all the way back to Aristotle and places an emphasis on virtue and disinterest rather than self-interest. The project of the American republic has been to reconcile notions of republicanism (which place one's duty to flag and country over one's duty to oneself) with notions of liberalism (again, don't confuse my meaning: I'm talking about modern liberalism here, not American Political Liberalism. Think John Locke, not John Kennedy) and Captain America, as a figure, has in many ways struck that balance.

Now, personally, I believe that Steve Rogers (and now Bucky Barnes) have historically represented virtue and the Constitution over political values- a position that, actually, puts them fundamentally in conflict with movements like the Tea Parties. Still, this is what makes Cap so interesting and so important- who he is and what he means are very different things to very different people and, although I see evidence for a very specific kind of meaning, there is not one right answer. Like it or not Captain America belongs to all of us and, because of that collective ownership, Marvel has made the right decision in removing the offending sign from future editions of the comic- in order for the more important points about virtue to be made, simple politics must be kept out of the equation. It is extremely easy to graft our own opinions about what it means to be an American over the top of Cap, but it must be remembered that, because he wears the flag, he represents all of us.

You know what I'm excited for?

I'm excited for Paul Dini's brand-spanking-new ongoing series: ZATANNA.

That's right, kids. You heard me. The other half of the fishnet brigade (the first half being Canary, of course) is going to be making my life better on a monthly basis. Now of course it makes complete sense that Dini is writing her, he's always had a soft spot for her ever since he was writing her in Batman: The Animated Series. I mean, he even married a woman like Zatanna: Misty Lee, black haired, gorgeous magician and illusionist. Also, like Zatanna, she's stupidly hot. And who said nerds never got the babe?

But regardless, since Dini wrote that incredible Zatanna arc in Detective Comics two years ago I have been praying that she would be given an ongoing. Now, for a few years now there have been whisperings on the world wide web that Dini has been working on a Black Canary/Zatanna graphic novel with the lovely Amanda Conner (something I still dream about, by the way). When I saw that Dini was writing this I was hoping Conner would be doing the art, but no. Sigh... oh wait! The artist is Stephane Roux! Usually a cover artist, Roux will be doing the interiors for Zatanna. Let's check some out, shall we?

Excuse me for a moment, I have to clean up the drool. Man, one word and one word only: Va-va-va-VOOM!

I cannot wait till this hits the shevles

Another Few "Secret"s

A few days ago these images were released by Marvel:

First this one,

Then this one,

Now who has that much flowing capey-stuff?

Sure makes it hard to discern a silhouette out of these images doesn't it?


Well, you can see that it's almost definitely not any of these guys who are going to be on a new Thunderbolts team led by Luke Cage.

Wait, what?

Yeah no joke. New Thunderbolts line-up of former villains (which is what the Thunderbolts was always about anyway) led by former convict Luke Cage, as written by Jeff Parker. Makes sense I guess.

Gorga's Looking Forward to Wednesday 2/10/2o1o!

At the time of this writing I still haven't picked up all the issues from last week I intend to, and I am still reading the comics from 2oo9 for my Year-End review post, and I don't really have money for buying comics, but here I am doing another Looking Forward To... post anyway.

"Spider-Man & the Secret Wars" #3 is the book I was most looking forward to this week. The first issue fits in quite well with the events as originally related in the "Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars" mini-series from 1984. It is pretty light fare, but nearly unique in that it adds material to a really strange and quickly done with moment of Marvel Universe history.

This third issues embellishes the story of the acquisition of the symbiotic Spider-Man costume which was originally seen in "Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars" #8 and had far-reaching consequences that could never have been foreseen by Jim Shooter at the time! So we now get a version of the story with embellishments that connect it with the stories that take place later. Will this 'untold tales series' become canon? That is up to the fans and the scholars, i.e. to all of us!

Batman and Sons!

I may have just discovered the most adorable webcomic ever.

It's a webcomic where the premise is that all of the Robins are children that are adopted by Batman and he is raising them. Oh wait, not just the Robins! Baby Terry McGinnis. That's right. Baby. Terry. McGinnis.

The artist, Black Cat, is wonderful as you can see from the above image. The art is both hilarious, adorable and skillfully done. Also, there are lots of easter eggs about events in comics right now. The Tiny Titans artists would be proud!

I encourage everyone to check it out.

It's Like Marvel Is Thinking About Ways To Get Their Hands On My Money...

... because if they keep making announcements like this, I'm going to go broke:

Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato will be handling a new Avengers title called Secret Avengers. Brubaker is my favorite writer, and so I think I'll be adding this book to my pull list along with the mainline Avengers title teased last week.

Accompanying the announcement was this image- is Spider-Man perhaps going to be a Secret Avenger rather than a regular old one?