Captain America for President?
This being an election year for the United States makes for an interesting (and often ugly) campaign of pop culture manifestations that take on one stance or another, if even mocking the process altogether. Comics haven't escaped that tradition as they often reflect the views and commentary of the creators working in the industry and Marvel certainly fits that bill (anyone remember this?). Now, just in time for election year, Marvel's Ultimate Comics The Ultimates is swearing in Steve Rogers/Captain America as President in their currently running storyline. So, how does it happen?
“We wanted to dramatize an extreme version of what we see in America today,” Ultimates writer Sam Humphries says. “In the face of all [this] divisiveness, what do we have in common? What does it mean to be an American? What can we agree on? And what makes America the place that it is?”
“This is a United States that’s being torn asunder by special interest groups — by opportunists looking to divide and conquer,” Marvel Entertainment Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso told The Washington Post. “This is a metaphor for what goes on in real life, but on steroids.”
“Are we going to see 12 issues of Captain America behind a desk? No, that’s not exciting to anyone,” Humphries says. “Captain America is not going to behave like any other president behaves. He takes the oath of office and barely takes a breath as he goes to hot spots. . . . Cap is out there because he’s so concerned about the state of the Union that he doesn’t have time to think about the State of the Union,” says Alonso.
“It's a fantasy world where everything outside the window is amped up — not to 10, not to 11, but 30,” series editor Mark Paniccia says. As for the politics, the editor notes: “People will make connections where they want to make connections.”
So, will Marvel be "choosing a side" per se in the real world of politics? “...we avoid taking a party stand,” says Alonso. “There are essential truths about leadership and dignity, and we certainly have an opinion on that. Cap’s ultimate statement about the presidency is elegant. . . . What America wants and what America needs may not be the same thing.”
Comparing the four current candidates running for office (Obama/Biden, Romney/Paul), Alonso says, “All four candidates would lay claim to what Cap thinks the presidency is and should be. The candidates, in some shape or form, all aspire to be like Cap and what he stands for.”
And which President does Cap most emulate to the creators? “He is Abraham Lincoln,” writer Humphries says of Cap, “if Lincoln had had access to a jet plane and a devastating right hook.”
I've read every single issue of The Ultimates and the series has been at its lowest. I've continued to buy the books because up until now they've proven to be great, but the last year has seen a dramatic shift into nonsensical territory, so I'm hoping that my perseverence will pay off with this new, compelling/gimmicky move. The Ultimate universe is a "mirror" universe for Marvel, where the company can make much bolder decisions and take characters in directions we've never seen before. Some may remember the introduction of the first black Spider-Man, Miles Morales, that took place in the Ultimate universe about a year ago.
Marvel's Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #15 and #16 hit stands September 19 and September 26. Cap will next be seen on the big screen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER on April 4, 2014.
|Extra Tidbit:||What superhero would YOU want to see take the oval office?|