Give Us Back Our Heroes!

“If we’re talking about mainstream comics, I think there have been a lot of real tactical errors made in this century. I can’t really read superhero comics anymore because they’re not about superheroes.”


Darwyn Cooke


When did we surrender all forms of entertainment to the morass of moral relativism?  Can we no longer acknowledge right and wrong?  We live in troubling times and the response from media seems to be surrender.  While people march in the streets for their rights, their jobs and their daily bread our costumed heroes roll around in the mud and stand for nothing at all.  We have so-called leaders, barnstorming around the nation and using the bully pulpit to preach a message of fear and paranoia.  Where is Captain America while all this is going on?  He’s a fucking Nazi.  Thanks, Marvel Comics.  Fuck you.

Why do we even bother with superheroes anymore?  Really, what’s the point?  Why not just draw gladiator battles.  Comic books could just be about guys in tights kicking the shit out of each other.  Some sweat, some blood, some cool powers and some gritted teeth.  To hell with all that namby pamby heroes vs villains horse shit.  There’s no need for moralizing.  No need for something to be upheld or affirmed.  No need for good guys or bad guys.  Who needs heroes?  Heroes are for babies.

That’s what they tell us, these days.  Zack Snyder says it’s impossible to write interesting stories about Superman because he’s just too good.  Clark Kent needs to stop smiling.  He should slouch. Hang his head.  Break a few necks.  Now he’s interesting.  And Batman and that whole “sanctity of human life” thingie? Yeah that’s gotta go.  No one wants to watch him be a hero, anymore.  They want to watch him kill the living shit out of the bad guys!  Dude, Bats looks way cool toting a gun!  Did you see him run over that guy’s head with the Batmobile?!  That’ll teach those security guards to get in the way when Batman is trying to steal shit!  Who needs heroes?  Heroes are for babies.

And now Captain America is a Nazi.  In issue #1 of Steve Rogers: Captain America, we get a retconned history of Captain America that reveals him to have always been a secret member of Hydra.  Ignore for a moment how mind-numbingly stupid this plot twist is and focus instead on the words, “Captain America is a Nazi.”  Say it out loud with me, “

Joe Simon: Somebody owes this guy an apology.
Joe Simon: Somebody owes this guy an apology.

Captain America is a Nazi.”  Don’t try and dodge the subject by saying Hydra isn’t a Nazi organization anymore…it is.  The Red Skull is still the Red Skull and he is still making fascist recruitment speeches.  His goals are still world domination, bigotry, violence and hate.  He’s a fucking Nazi so stop apologizing for Marvel Comics and go read Jessica Plummer’s excellent article (ON STEVE ROGERS #1, ANTISEMITISM, AND PUBLICITY STUNTS).  Do it now, I’ll wait.

Anyway, I didn’t sit down to write about how nauseating this development is.  Jessica Plummer has already done so.  Quite Eloquently, I might add.  No, I’m not here to complain about the pimp-hearted stunt of exploiting the Holocaust to sell some fucking comic books.  I’m here ask, why do the people who control comic books hate superheroes so much?

What is so offensive, so repellent, to these “creative” people about a hero?  What is wrong with someone doing the right thing just because it’s the right thing?    Why can’t we have a Superman that smiles and saves people?  Why can’t we have a Batman that isn’t a raving madman?  Why can’t we have a Captain America who isn’t a fucking Nazi?  Does it make these “creators” feel clever to push idols off of pedestals?  Does it make them feel even more brilliant to plop a turd up there in the idol’s place? Is it nothing but Guy Gardner and Frank Castle from now on?

The powers that be have this notion that no one is interested in reading about heroes anymore.  They think all we want is “Grit” and “dark, realism”.   If that’s true, then why is Ms. Marvel the number one Digital seller?  That’s right, Ms. Marvel….the book with the bright colors and the cheerful protagonist.  Kamala Khan is a likable, well-adjusted kid who found herself gifted with amazing (amazingly goofy) powers one night.  Her first act was to save a life.  Her first thought after that was that she could use those new powers to help her neighborhood.  In short order, she had a bright-colored, yet appropriately modest, costume and she was out fighting the good fight.  In no time at all she was a member of the Avengers.

What is Kamala’s appeal?  It’s simple, really.  She’s a hero.  She risks her neck when she doesn’t have to, to help other people.  Like Clark Kent, she was raised by a rock solid, loving family that taught her to do the right thing…always.  When Kamala saw a chance to make a difference, she was delighted.  It’s hard work and dangerous.  It makes her life crazy.  But that’s who she is, a hero.

Who needs to read about Nazis?
Who needs to read about Nazis?

Kamala didn’t lose an uncle to a mugger.  Her family wasn’t gunned down in Crime Alley.  She just does what she does because she can.  She wants to help.  She wants to because she’s a good person.  Along with She-Hulk and Captain Marvel, she is leading a gentle revolution at The House of Ideas.  Marvel’s female titles are beginning to dominate the market.  Isn’t that odd?  Heroes in bright-colored costumes, who want to help people, heroes who smile once in a while, heroes who aren’t Nazis; doing what they do because they can.  Meanwhile, dorks like me (who don’t know any better) are buying up their titles by the bushel basket.  DC and Marvel need to wise up and save their business models.  Give us back our heroes.  Give us someone to root for.  I don’t have to waste my money on Herr Rogers when I can read the daring exploits of Kamala Khan.

R T Kraken!

Prior to becoming a professional curmudgeon and the Scourge of the Northern seas, R.T. Kraken worked as an artist and a photographer. He has been an avid comic book fan since he was spawned as well as an insufferable know-it-all.
He also sings for the Supra-70s band, RIFLE.
Dig it.

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One Thought to “Give Us Back Our Heroes!”

  1. Hunter S Kittenn

    Tom Brevoort can suck my hairy, patriotic balls.

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