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Thursday, October 18, 2007 

A New Captain America

The Quesada continuum is at it again. A while back I wrote a short little piece on Marvel Comics asinine idea that it would be good to kill off Captain America. With the idea that controversy creates increased sales, Steve Rogers was gunned down by his super spy girlfriend on the steps of a New York courthouse. For the benefit of a short up tick in sales by curious people wanting to scoop up collectors’ items, a character that had been created in 1941 was sacrificed.

To be honest, Captain America 25 was sold out all over the country by 1pm the day it came out. Before the doors even opened at the local comic book shops, issue 25 was all over Ebay, sometimes bundled in groups of ten by distributors (who supposedly had no prior knowledge of the event but had the fortune of ordering oodles of extra copies) for all to cash in on the biggest score since the death of Superman back in the early nineties. Every news network, including the cable channels, featured stories of the demise of the comic book legend. The Q-continuum succeeded in creating the necessary buzz and when all was said and done, and the sales numbers were added up, Marvel declared “mission accomplished.” Oh joy.

But the sales numbers are now back to where they were at before the death of Steve Rogers. The brief extra traffic into the local comic book shops was no different than people slowing down to catch a look at that an accident on the side of the road; a sick fascination with death no different than what we see every day on the way to work on the local interstate

Comic books geeks everywhere were sure that this was merely a short term screw up by the Marvel editorial staff. There was always hope that the body lying on the slab was merely that of a shape changing Skrull or even a Life Model Decoy (just a fancy name for a robot). There was a time at Marvel when dead meant dead, but there was always the possibility of an out as long as there was imagination. But the Q-continuum has other ideas and very little in the way of that whole imagination thingy.

Last week the continuum released its newest vision for Captain America. With a new outfit, the living symbol of America now gets to carry guns and knives with an updated costume designed by Alex Ross. No longer carrying only his defensive and iconic shield, this new “captain” has the weaponry to be relevant in the world in which we live today. Marvel editorial staff won’t say who this new Captain America is but they promise that it isn’t a resurrected Steve Rogers. I could only find one sketch released by Marvel where this new “captain” wasn’t clutching a pistol. Again, oh joy.

Yep, in an effort to try to get those one visit customers to come back one more time, they’re at it again. This proven to fail business model, where the faithful readers who month after month, support both Marvel and the local shops, are being throw aside for the sake of buzz which will only provide short term gains at best. Instead of writing great stories of a beloved character that will keep folks coming back for more, the continuum has created a new character for the masses.

Does anyone at Marvel really think that this is a good idea? The New Coke model has been tried over and over with identical results, failure. The idea that if we just get ‘em in the door they’ll want to stay is flawed insofar as that those who are passionate about a character are alienated and shoved aside to make room for, the less or not at all invested, newcomers. By making the local comic book shop unrecognizable to the fans, what does the continuum think these new non-fans are going to be attracted to? How long will Marvel take to write stories that will actually be part of the novice’s canon, one month, six months, a year or two? How long will it take for the stories written for these curious newcomers to become imaginary stories or just part of an alternate reality? Will those who were only marginally invested to begin with, stay when Marvel shoves them aside to make room for more non-fans by throwing out their canon?

Fans want good stories to read. As long as the story is true to character and well written, the true fan will be back month after month shelling out a hard earned $3.99 for a single issue. Killing off your main character is stupid all by itself. Replacing that same character with someone or something that no one can recognize, is so far beyond dim-witted it defies description. The Quesada continuum has decided that they would rather reject and kill the Captain America most of us grew up with for a new character for a few interviews and public attention by the national media and all at the expense of those of us who grew up with Steve Rogers. The Quesada continuum has decided that not only is Steve Rogers disposable, but so are his fans.

I guess at the end of the day it could be worse, Quesada and company could always do something really moronic like change the color of the incredable Hulk from green to red.

Now aren’t you guys and gals glad I can get off topic every now and then….

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This really isn't off topic is it? Clever post.

No, not really...thanks.

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