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Thursday, August 29, 2019 

Marvel removes troubling political essay by Mark Waid from 1000 special

Shortly after the news they wouldn't be carrying an essay by cartoonist Art Spiegelman due to its politically charged leftist nature, now the Hollywood Reporter's announced a similar one written by Mark Waid won't be included in their upcoming special's history essays either:
Less than two weeks after Maus author Art Spiegelman said that Marvel had refused an essay because of a critical reference to President Donald Trump, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that an essay in Marvel Comics No. 1000 that described America as “deeply flawed” and called for people to take to the streets has similarly been removed after appearing in early preview copies.

The essay, written by Mark Waid, accompanied a full-page image of Captain America by John Cassaday and Laura Martin and was intended to tie in with the 1944 release of the first Captain America movie serial. In the piece, Waid wrote about the imperfections of the current American political system.
Here's the full essay, as provided by the trade journal:
I’m asked how it’s possible to love a country that’s deeply flawed.

It’s hard sometimes. The system isn’t just. We’ve treated some of our own abominably.

Worse, we’ve perpetuated the myth that any American can become anything, can achieve anything, through sheer force of will. And that’s not always true. This isn’t the land of opportunity for everyone. The American ideals aren’t always shared fairly.

Yet without them, we have nothing.

With nothing, cynicism becomes reality. With nothing, for the privileged and the disenfranchised both, our way of life ceases to exist. We must always remember that America, as imperfect as it is, has something. It has ideals that give it structure.

When the structure works, we get schools. We get roads and hospitals. We get a social safety net. More importantly, when we have structure, we have a foundation upon which to rebuild the American Dream — that equal opportunity can be available to absolutely everyone.

America’s systems are flawed, but they’re our only mechanism with which to remedy inequality on a meaningful scale. Yes, it’s hard and bloody work. But history has shown us that we can, bit by bit, right that system when enough of us get angry. When enough of us take to the streets and force those in power to listen. When enough of us call for revolution and say, “Injustice will not stand.”

That’s what you can love about America.
It sounds like the kind of statement a leftist would make in this very era of the Trump administration; to people like Waid, such politicians are so illegitimate, they believe an uprising is acceptable in almost all instances. Just plain stupid, and certainly if he won't admit the left is treating the right abominably. It's now been replaced by a simpler one in the special:
...In the final version of Marvel Comics No. 1000, in stores Wednesday, the essay has been replaced by a less critical piece, also credited to Waid, that is more directly tied to Captain America, and notably less critical of the U.S., talking about the way in which Captain America’s mask is worn as a reminder that Captain America is representative of an ideal, not a person.

“It’s a commitment to fight every day for justice, for acceptance and equality, and for the rights of everyone in this nation. At its best, this is a good country filled with people who recognize that those — not hatred, not bigotry, not exclusion — are the values of true patriotism,” the new essay explains in the closest it comes to any kind of political or social criticism.
So unlike Spiegelman, he was at least willing to write something on a less fishy, politically charged scale. But, could any criticism be leveled against Waid on the assumption he cares more about the costume than the character? Considering the terrible abuse Steve Rogers suffered for nearly 2 decades already, which more recently culminated in his being forced out of the role so the Falcon could take it up in politically charged stories, and for the sake of turning Steve into a nazi-style Hydra worshiper, there are some valid points one could make that Waid's not doing much to defend a character Kirby and Simon did hard work to introduce in their time, and whom Waid himself first scripted as far back as 1998, and that time was actually pretty good, in sharp contrast to the more recent work he did on the same character, which followed up on that humiliating Hydra story by Nick Spencer in the Secret Empire crossover instead of leaving it in the past and the trash bin where it belongs. So what good does Waid think he's actually doing by not defending Steve Rogers as a fictional character representing the best of ideals as much as the costume does?

Newsarama reported Waid's trying to downplay the whole issue:
Mark Waid says that the text of his essay which was removed from Marvel Comics #1000 has been "mischaracterized" by some press.

"The only comment I'll offer is that the abridged version that's being circulated by news outlets severely mischaracterizes what was actually written," Waid replied when reached for comment by Newsarama.
Which is only his way of trying to worm his way out of the controversy he could've avoided by ceasing his political obsessions.

The ultra-leftist IO9/Gizmodo, if anyplace, attacked Marvel over the decision, in a biased item written by SJWs Beth Elderkin, Jill Pantozzi and James Whitbrook. The headline reads as "Marvel Comics Is Doubling Down on Its Misguided Crusade to Remain ‘Apolitical’". Then, it says:
Marvel Comics continues to drum up controversy.
So when they went out of their way to make Captain America a Hydra-Nazi, that wasn't drumming up controversy, but when they do try to avoid it by remaining apolitical, they are? The tedious triumvirate's bias is glaring through the seams.
The original Waid essay sounded highly critical of the American political system, saying “this isn’t the land of opportunity for everyone” and calling for people to take action and “force those in power to listen.” io9 has also seen evidence of the alterations to Marvel Comics #1000.

Marvel Comics Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski did not respond to io9's request for comment, but someone close to Marvel told us the reason Waid’s essay was changed was that the anniversary collection was designed to be a celebration of the publisher’s history. They added that the team thought Waid’s original essay felt out of place—while mentioning that the first draft of the collection wasn’t for publication—and that each essay is meant to be from a Marvel character’s point of view. They didn’t comment on whether the essay’s political message factored into the decision.
I get this strange feeling they didn't get a comment from anybody at Marvel - or at least not something we don't already know - and just want to make themselves sound oh-so important about it. When you make politically charged statements, that takes away from the celebration value and makes it more of a lamentation.
This alteration comes just two weeks after Pulitzer Prize-winning comics creator Art Spiegelman pulled his introduction to a comics collection because Marvel wanted him to take out an indirect, albeit pointed, Donald Trump reference (when asked, the source close to Marvel said they they didn’t feel there was a connection between the two incidents).[...]
Ah, there's something fishy on their part. So I guess they're hinting they believe there's a valid point to comparing Trump to the Red Skull? Ugh. Just sickening.
The situation with the Marvel Comics #1000 essay appears to be another example of Marvel Comics censoring its creators in an attempt to be apolitical, to the detriment of the company and its audience. You may recall EiC Cebulski going on record on the subject almost one year to the day: “We can’t get too deep into the politics,” he said of Marvel storylines.

Trying to remain “apolitical” is an effort in futility in 2019. Art is inherently political. Saying you’re “not political” serves to uphold the status quo and hold back diverse voices who might open up the audience’s perspective to other points of view. Like, for example, how America isn’t perfect, and how fighting injustice is the American Way. Insulating your audience from the larger problems of the world, instead choosing to gloss over it all with vague messages about Captain America’s mask as a symbol, doesn’t do anyone any favors—especially in a world where the creatives behind Captain America, whether it’s Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson, are using Captain America’s status as a symbol of what America should be to actually question the nobility and ideals of what the nation and its people have become.
Art is political because they want it to be. What they don't acknowledge is how today's leftist writers are far less subtle about their visions in their writings, and have become so alarmingly nasty and heavy handed about it, that contrary to their claim, the audience has become alienated, and it's vital to note even those who agree with far-left messages aren't buying and reading their books. Besides, what have these hack writers done to inform the audience themselves? Back at the time artist Ardian Syaf injected stealth Islamic antisemitism into the pages of an X-book, they refused to condemn his acts and even minimized the seriousness of his antics. Has this dumb site ever written serious condemnations of Islamic terrorism? If not, they're in no position to complain about insulation they've been perpetuating themselves. It's also shameful how they accuse Marvel of censoring its leftist creators when they've never made the same case for conservative ones, and they clearly dislike the ideals the USA was built on, if they believe patriotism, independence, self-defense and thinking for yourself are to be questioned. They're basically saying they believe the ideals Captain America/Steve Rogers represents are to be questioned, and putting Kirby/Simon on trial in the process.
The source close to Marvel said they didn’t agree with the idea that Marvel Comics is shying away from discussing political issues in its comics, citing the recent Captain America series by Ta-Nahisi Coates, and said they believe the work speaks for itself.
Alas, they are indeed still publishing leftist propaganda, as the above makes clear. It's just that there's a certain difference between Coates' propaganda and the 1000 special, which appears to be aimed at a more general audience, rather than the niche audience Marvel's pandering to. No doubt, they must be worried about all the Fox and Breitbart journalists who'll probably pick up this special, along with more sensible minded family groups, and that's why they decided to concoct a split-personality approach. Give the general public something to admire in a mere one-shot special, but deny them the official brand-new Cap tales. At least, that's my assumption of what's going on here.
Whether Marvel’s higher-ups want to admit it publicly or not, Captain America is inherently a political figure. The character is clad in armor in the colors of the stars and stripes, and was explicitly created not just to become a supersoldier in America’s name in a time of global conflict, but because the man being transformed deeply held the nation’s best ideals in his moral core. You cannot have your creative cake and eat it too, and say that Captain America can exist without also acknowledging the character’s place as a commentary on American politics and values at large.

The fact that Marvel Entertainment CEO and chairman Ike Perlmutter is a longtime Trump supporter (and donor) and reportedly a power player behind the scenes at the Department of Veterans Affairs is, we’re sure, just a coincidence.
And I'm sure it's a mere coincidence they never protested any of the shoddy abuse Joe Quesada magnified to a T when he became EIC of Marvel, or when Axel Alonso did, or asked why Perlmutter allowed this. I'm sure if he wanted to, he could've prevented at least some of it. Did they ever condemn Quesada for taking out his personal issues on Mary Jane Watson and Spider-Man? If not, then what's their point? Seriously. I notice they also wrote earlier about the 2nd Civil War crossover, along with crafting Secret Empire, and they call that an allusion to Trump's MAGA campaign. And it doesn't sound like they had any issue with turning Steve Rogers into an evil Hydra-nazi. I think that says all we need to know about what these horrible IO9 writers really think of Captain America as a creation, ditto his co-creators, Kirby/Simon.

One more item I want to look at here is Fox News' coverage, which has an eyebrow raising note on who edited this special:
The remainder of the issue is a mix of serious and humorous stories, like the page devoted to 1944 in which Captain America explains why he fights, Dr. Strange's struggle to keep his magic cape smelling fresh (1951), the introduction of Groot (1960) and a page devoted to Iron Man's suit for 2008, the year Marvel's blockbuster film franchise launched.

"I definitely wanted this to be a range of experiences and not have it be an 80-page chucklefest" nor "an 80-page downer," said Tom Brevoot, the issue's editor.

Brevoot said he gave the issue's dozens of creators general guidance, but also the freedom to explore a character or storyline in a single page. Many of the pages adopt what Brevoot called a "confessional" approach where a character is speaking to an interviewer. The page for 2017 features superheroes' answers to "What do you regret," or another in which Deadpool takes a little too long to answer one of the issue's recurring questions, "Why do you do what you do?"
Wow. Brevoort, the same guy who years earlier was writing some of the most revolting leftist politics possible, suddenly doesn't believe it's a good idea to go extremely political (strange they forgot the 2nd letter R in his last name). But then, why'd he spend many years doing downers in the superhero titles proper he was editing? He has been doing this at least as far back as the mid-2000s, and look where they wound up since. Of recent, since Cebulski became EIC, their PR approach has changed on social media, for example, yet they remain as extreme left as ever, and the 1000 special doesn't change anything. It's my belief they decided to avoid overt politics in the one-shot special because may be allegedly aiming this at a more general audience, even as back in the ongoing series and miniseries proper, they've shoved their politics down the audience's throats as much as any jarringly violent elements that became far too common in mainstream comics since the turn of the century.

And since they destroyed all coherency and rationale in their superhero comics, that's why I don't think anybody should waste their time and money with this 1000 special. It won't change the fact they remain over 90 percent with solidly bad writing and even some of the artwork, nor that these modern messes are not comics you'd want your children to read.

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If the people in charge of Marvel now had been in control back in 1941, they would have never allowed Captain America to be published. A superhero punching Hitler, a foreign head of state, in the jaw? Way too controversial, at a time when we were still maintaining diplomatic relations with Germany, too likely to attract hostility from the pro-German Bund and the isolationists trumpeting "America First!" Steve Rogers would never have seen the light of day. But Marvel was being published by one guy then, not by a committee responsible to shareholders the way Marvel is now, and he went with what he believed in.

Waid's essay wasn't partucularly left wing, just anti-trump. A lot of conservative right wingers don't like him or his policies. And a lot of old-line left wingers like him because of his pro Russia stance.

"Back at the time artist Ardian Syaf injected stealth Islamic antisemitism into the pages of an X-book, they refused to condemn his acts and even minimized the seriousness of his antics."

This is not what happened. They fired him from the book immediately and he has not worked for them since. According to the statement made to the press by Marvel at the time, ""The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings.... These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken."

And Marvel's staff is not whom I was talking about. Rather, I was referring to the IO9/Gizmodo writers, and linked back to an item making the point. At least we know this is an industry insider taking everything out of context, and doesn't want to admit the press can be truly awful.

Thank you for the clarification, Avi. The item making the point, though, does not link to the Gizmodo article, though. And the Gizmodo article does not seem to whitewash Syaf. It focusses on the context of Indonesian politics, but it is not particularly sympathetic to him and includes the fact that he is not apologetic at all about what he did.


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