Spencer: Creating any sort of real societal change can be next to impossible, not only because of the difficulty of enacting new laws or changing old ones, but because of how difficult it can be to convince people of the need for change at all. We all have our opinions and confirmation biases, and many people simply don’t want to believe they’re wrong, even when faced with compelling, truthful evidence. Such is the case for Misty Knight, who may be a bit too devoted to her fellow police to understand the damage they’re causing. Continue reading
Today, Ryan M. and Drew are discussing Steve Rogers: Captain America 12, originally released February 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Ryan M: Empathy and understanding can only be built by listening. That’s why representation is so important. Reinforcing norms of exclusion only bolster the narrative of inequality. An outsider telling your story, however well-meaning, influences the message. The speed and breadth of modern media only add more veils between the truth and the version people hear. In Captain America: Sam Wilson 21, Sam wrests back control of his own story.
I’m an extreme moderate, Mr. Rutledge
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams
Drew: Of all the quotes misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, this might be my favorite. Only, this isn’t a common saying, but a line of dialogue from HBO’s 2008 John Adams miniseries. Either way, it sums up Franklin’s political beliefs beautifully. Moderation feels like a dirty word in our current political climate, but Franklin’s moderating force throughout that series (and, you know, actual history) proved essential in making any real progress in declaring and affirming the United States’ independence from British rule. That lesson feels somehow even more essential today, where moderation stands not just between the poles of the political spectrum, but as a necessary alternative to increasingly insular extremes. Of course, those extremes have happily vilified moderation (or at least, happily left moderates in the crossfire), leaving folks like Sam Wilson with enemies on all sides. It’s been a lonely road for Sam to walk, but issue 16 finds Falcon and Rage joining him in the center. Continue reading
Patrick: Under Nick Spencer’s pen, both Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers have been intensely political figures in their roles as simultaneous Captains America. The underlying ugliness of both of these series echoes the ugliness we see in modern political system, but the nature of the characters narrows Spencer’s perspective a bit. For as much as he’s been free to comment on racism and fascism and nationalism, Spencer’s Captain America series have been relatively quiet on the subject of sexism and misogyny. Of course, that’s an incomplete picture of American politics, especially as we grow closer to having to salute the Pussy-Grabber In Chief. With Captain America Sam Wilson 16, Spencer and artists Angel Unzueta and Szymon Kudranski tackle a the very really threat of slut shaming and doxing and simplify them through the magic of the Marvel Universe. That simplification may undersell the complexity and sheer hopeless around this issue, but it sure as shit is satisfying to see it punished. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Ryan M. are discussing Jessica Jones 1, originally released October 5th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: Befitting her job as a private investigator, mystery is a vital element of the Jessica Jones mythos. It’s probably why my favorite episode of the Netflix series is the one that put the ongoing Kilgrave story on hold to solve an unrelated case of the week, and it’s also why the first issue of the new Jessica Jones relaunch works so well — Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos don’t just build a mystery around Jessica’s newest case, they turn her very life into a mystery that the audience, and perhaps even Jessica herself, need to solve. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Cage! 1, originally released October 5th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Somewhere in my internet wanderings I read an article about the evolution of American cartoon design. In the article (which totally eludes me now despite many internet searches), the author makes the claim that the design of characters in American animation has gradually moved away from the influence of major animation houses over time. Looking at this evolution in pictures, I could see characters going from more detailed to symbolic and abstract in their design. With these ideas still rolling around in my brain, I read Cage! 1 and was delighted by the radical design of the characters and setting. Eschewing traditional styles in favor of his own unique brand, Genndy Tartakovsky has created a comic that is totally unique yet somehow familiar.
Ryan D: Maybe it’s an American thing, but culture and media have trained me to almost always root for the revolution. Revolution is often associated with the fiery passion of change, the usurpation of the dolorous and oppressive status-quo, backed by the free-thinkers and do-gooders. Or maybe it’s the idea being studied in psychology about peoples’ need to root for the underdog. This, however, has not exactly been the case in the current run of Black Panther. Or has it? Issue six takes us a bit deeper into the side of the revolutionaries and the monarchy, and bring some new variables into the mix. Continue reading
Spencer: People have certain aspects of themselves that bind them together into larger groups. Some of those qualities we choose for ourselves — our hobbies, religion, who we marry — but others we have no choice in. Our family, race and nationality, and sexuality bind us to like individuals. That doesn’t mean every member of, say, the same religion or race are alike, nor that they’re all friends, nor that they’ll even agree on anything. What it does mean is that they’ve all got one thing in common that no other group understands, and that makes them part of a community. In Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, writer Nick Spencer explores Sam Wilson and James Rhodes’ community, mining unexpected riches from the concept.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands:
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
-The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America.
Patrick: Have you ever considered how weird it is that the Pledge of Allegiance is a common fixture at the beginning of the school day? From my first day of kindergarten, until the last day of my senior year of high school, I either recited this thing, or stood silently with my hand on my heart while hundreds of other kids recited this thing in unison. Even without that “under God” jammed in there by Eisenhower, the pledge feels more like prayer than anything else — offering oneself up in the service of a singular benevolent entity. Of course, it’s not quite that simple: liberty and justice are pretty nebulous terms, and what they mean can vary hugely depending on your perspective. I think when I was a kid, I would have just as easily swapped out “liberty and justice” for “law and order” and not given it a second thought. But that’s not the country is really about: we’re founded on revolution, on challenging the status quo, on fighting for what we believe in. In Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña’s Sam Wilson: Captain America, Captain America embraces the more revolutionary aspects of his mantle, and while he’s certainly fighting for liberty and justice, he is decidedly anti-establishment. Continue reading
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Fearless Defenders 9, originally released September 11th, 2013.
Taylor: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Bros before hoes, sisters before misters. Men and women are two different species. Such platitudes have been woven into the fabric of society since the dawn of civilization. Given their age, you might find yourself uttering such phrases during awkward conversations in the lunch room at work because you know they will be accepted with little umbrage. However, that doesn’t make these seemingly innocuous phrases any less offensive or misinformed. While men and women are different in many respects, the truth is they share far more similarities than differences. Some might call this a progressive view, but in reality it’s just a logical one. With that being said, you would think Fearless Defenders, a title which seemingly strives to show that female superheroes are just the same as male superheroes, would champion the similarities between the sexes rather than exaggerate them. But is issue nine, which examines this idea, up to the task?