New Captain America is not a hero

Graphic by Samantha Chow
Graphic by Samantha Chow

On May 25, Marvel released their first issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers, a series that is meant to return Steve Rogers to his original vigour since the breakdown of the super serum which made him Captain America.  However, the shocking ending of the issue has left fans in an uproar.

While Captain America may not be the Kryptonian Moses that Kal-El is, there is no denying the importance of what he represents.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the two original writers of Captain America, were Jewish-Americans who created the superhero in March 1941, with the very first issue cover being our favourite star-spangled wonder punching Hitler in the face.

It was a brave and dangerous stand made by Simon and Kirby in a time when the Jewish community had very little support. Even in the comic, Steve Rogers was turned into Captain America through the help of Abraham Erskine, a Jewish scientist fleeing Nazi-Germany.

In every way, Captain America was created by Jewish people.

He was meant to be a sign of hope for Jewish people during the Holocaust, hope that someone would save the Jewish. I know it may sound silly to some, that believing in Captain America is like believing blankets can save you from the monsters under the bed, but in the darkest times, hope and faith are all we have.

Captain America’s very existence was a blatant middle-finger to the Third Reich. His inspiration ran so deep, that it continues to this day and age. Captain America became the poster-child for standing up for what was right, regardless of what others say.  Where there was a war, there was Captain America supporting the perceived right side.

Now imagine they made him a Nazi.

Because that’s exactly what they did. ‘They’ being Nick Spencer, Jesus Saiz and Joe Caramagna. The three writers who took everything Captain America stood for, represented and inspired, and then turned him into little more than a publicity stunt.

If I sound a little angry, then my wrath toward this clickbait move is not being fully expressed. Frankly, I’m disgusted. Because who in the world would every think it’s okay to take one of the darkest times in human history and treat it with enough irreverence to make Captain America, whose roots are so deeply embedded within the Holocaust, into a Nazi?

I am well-versed with the world of comics. All the twists and turns writers throw at readers just to make you question everything you know and I know that Spencer did not make this move with anti-Semitism in mind.

But—there always seems to be a but—there are repercussions to his actions which should have been more seriously considered.

Anti-semitic behaviour isn’t a thing of the past, just as like Laurier students saw in our own community this past year.

Comic book writers are expected to tell stories that are gritty and dark. They constantly push the boundaries and leave fans wondering if they’ve gone too far.

This time, I believe we can say with certainty that they have. A line has been crossed and there is no world where a trick of this gravity would ever be okay.

They have made Captain America into the very thing he was created to stand against. I refuse to believe Simon and Kirby would be proud to see their legacy tainted with Spencer, Saiz and Caramagna riding the backs of the tortured, just for the shock value.

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