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Friday, December 10, 2010 

Fantastic Four #335: when the NRA defended superheroes

The above scene is from Fantastic Four #335, December 1989, during the time of the Acts of Vengeance crossover, which came long before Civil War and its superhero registration act (also, the registration act that Congress proposed here was primarily aimed at mutants). And in this older story, most amazingly, a member of the National Rifle Association came to the Congressional hearing on whether to regulate mutants, superheroes and superhumans and their superpowers, and defended the individual's rights to possess the powers they have, explaining the concern that just like they worry about gun control, they're also concerned that, if the proposed law led to a ban on superpowers, it could lead to a similar situation if common citizens were banned from owning guns for self-defense: only criminals would possess guns, and only supervillains would possess superpowers. And while not without its flaws or suggestion of bias towards conservative politicians, this story was a lot more respectable of some of the viewpoints conservatives can have about the right to self-defense, and was far from being as heavy-handed as Civil War was with its hero-forcibly-vs-hero quagmire. (Instead, more appropriately, it was the villains all tripping over each other, as seen amusingly enough later in the courtroom!)

Also, unlike a lot of today's crossovers, Acts of Vengeance was not about killing and demonizing superheroes and their supporting casts, or other dumb actions to get 15 minutes of mainstream press attention.

Can anyone see today's editorial at Marvel - or DC - writing a story as decent as this one that doesn't villify conservatives en masse or even attack self-defense rights, to say nothing of jamming politics down the readers' throats as badly as Civil War did? Come to think of it, can anyone see them paying tribute to Charlton Heston, who was a leading member and president of the NRA for many years? Nope, it's just simply unlikely.

But what this story can tell here is that Civil War's Superhero Registration Act isn't new - it already appeared in 1989-90 and was nowhere near as heavy-handed as politics in mainstream comics have become since the turn of the century. So all Quesada and company did was rehash ideas already used to much better, politer effect in years gone by.

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That was a Walt Simonson issue, right?

Wonder if Walt is a bit conservative/libertarian...

What the guy says probably isn't surprising. The NRA did support the rights of blacks to defend themselves from racists during the civil rights movement.

Comic writers remind me of actors -- they like giving political input instead of entertaining.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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