Tag Archives: captain america

Fashion Spotlight: The American Shield, Devil’s Punishment, and Rebel Stitch

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. The American Shield, Devil’s Punishment, and Rebel Stitch from SergioDoe, Fortune-Cake, and TheFlyingPenguin will be for sale on July 25, 2015 only!

The American Shield by SergioDoe

The American Shield

Devil’s Punishment by Fortune-Cake

Devil's Punishment

Rebel Stitch by TheFlyingPenguin

Rebel Stitch

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Redskin Revisionism

1872In the course of an average week, there are over a hundred comics released, each of about twenty pages, and each of those pages with between one and six panels.  This makes for several thousand panels in the course of any week which are released.  In the middle of that whole mix one panel was printed this week, and it might have been noticed and it might not have.  In fact its place might have been there simply for historical accuracy, or it might have been a bit of a jab at an ongoing controversy.  The panel was from the new comic series 1872, part of the massive crossover that is Secret Wars.  This story is set in the year 1872 in the Old West, with Steve Rogers more or less becoming Wyatt Earp and Tony Stark becoming Doc Holliday.  Part of the background of this story is that it involves a tycoon diverting water away from a small town for his mine, and the town struggles in the middle of a desert to find a way to live.  Among those struggling is a Native American, who plans to blow up the dam controlling the water and thus giving water back to the area.  He is caught in the act of sabotage and strung up in a noose ready to die, before Sheriff Rogers intervenes.  While the story is interesting for its recasting of the characters into different roles, the panel in question comes from the execution scene involving the native.  As the executioner hits the horse upon which he sits to tighten the slack on the rope, he utters a phrase which is one which is charged with so much debate in modern culture – Redskin.

There is one specific reference to this word which causes so many issues and that is the name for the Washington team in the NFL, the Redskins.  Many have had issues with the team name before, stating that it is offensive, much along the same lines as people are troubled by the Cleveland Indians.  Other teams have addressed racism claims in different ways, but the Redskins approach is perhaps the only one which says that it is using the team name out of respect for the brave Indian fighters known as Redskins and not as a racial slur.  Despite this claim, it is evident that the team has struggled with racism throughout its history, though its defense (or more accurately non-defense) this has been primarily targeted at black people, not at Native Americans.  The team’s original owner George Preston Marshall was the last holdout in terms of racial assimilation in the NFL, having held out for almost twenty years after other teams had been drafting and playing black players, and only did so after being forced to do so b y the federal government.

redskin002The claim and partial defense of the Redskins is that their name is not offensive, but rather is meant as a token of respect, that there were brave warriors from the past that used the name.  While this itself is up to debate, it is only an attempt to try to slice up a small piece of history and to leave the bigotry behind.  This panel exemplifies that perfectly.  At someone’s execution, one wouldn’t talk about the highlights of their life, or to describe their status as a brave warrior, instead one would probably shout all kinds of obscenities at them, including in this case the use of the term Redskin.  There have been other examples of the same, and even closer to the historical source.  For instance, the comic Western Fighters used the term on its twenty fourth issue in the early 1950.  At this time there was far less concern for racism in pop culture, as it was before the civil rights movement, and thus the truer use of the term was more apparent.

Thus while the Redskins say that it is used out of respect, it is actually a lot of historical revisionism, framing an offensive word in a way that makes it look like it is not offensive.  From a legal standpoint they might have the right to use the name (though this is also being slowly eroded), but their moral stance that this is done out of respect for an obscure group of warriors has no ground to stand on.  It is racism and it is racist, and there should be no history to hide behind on this subject, and that was highlighted this week by a single panel in a single comic.

Review: 1872 #1

1872For the most part Secret Wars has been a retrospective look back at some of the biggest crossovers which ever occurred in the Marvel universe.  While it has focused on a lot of these kinds of stories it has also branched out a bit from time to time.  Some of the minor focuses have been to recast heroes or to shine a light on some villains, most of whom have been working in some kind of confine of the Secret Wars world.  In the case of 1872 though we get something completely different from what we have seen thus far in this series.  Secret Wars was itself designed as a simple enough way to clean up the Marvel Universe, touching base with some of the bigger stories which have maybe gone off the plot of the main universe, while also addressing the various multiverse dimensions which are populated by a different list of heroes.

If this was the inspiration for Secret Wars then it was rewritten and thrown away, as the context of this series is exactly that of an alternate timeline that has never seen before.  In other words, it is expanding the multiverse, not contracting it.  Here Steve Rogers is cast as Wyatt Earp and Tony Stark is cast as Doc Holliday, as they battle a corrupt mayor (Fisk) and governor (Roxxon).  The issue at hand is the water supply for a small valley, which while it is fueling the work in a mine, it is also depriving people of their access to water.  Steve stands as the representative of the law, one which he knows is broken in certain ways, but which has lines which he seems reluctant to cross, else he erode his own sense of morality.  Standing beside him is Tony, a sidekick for banter but dangerous enough by himself it would seem.  Banner is also here, though his role is still a little vague.

The result of this strange mix is actually one of the smarter ideas to come out of Marvel for this whole crossover.  There was after all a time when western comics ruled the day in the medium, and this is a bit of an homage to those days, taking not just a crossover, but instead an entire genre and mixing it into the whole of Secret Wars.  The result is fun and is as good of a Western that modern comic readers will probably ever get to see, with the same grit that made the genre so beloved for so long without the anachronisms that are thrown in with the modern versions.

Story: Gerry Duggan  Art: Nik Virella
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Civil War #1

civilwar001The Civil War tie-in to the Secret Wars crossover is something that has not really been seen yet with Secret Wars, at least not to this degree.  While other of the stories have relied on retelling their specific crossovers through replacement of characters, or fitting the series into Secret Wars, the story here plays out somewhat differently.  It doesn’t even seem to tie into Secret Wars at all, instead acting as an elaborate “What If?” story.  In this case though it is an elaborate take on this kind of story asking what would have happened if the Marvel Civil War had never ended and had continued.

After a decent setup to show what drove the two factions of heroes apart for good, the new ground rules are laid out for the torn apart country.  One half of the USA is ruled by Stark and is called the Iron.  Here registration rules where those with super abilities are registered and led to leave a life which protects them from society and which protects society from them.  The other half of the divide is the Blue, the Western portion controlled by Captain America.  This is much more like a libertarian homeland, where the only rules are the most basic.  As the two sides are brought together for peace talks, things will obviously not go so easily.  Instead a major incident leaves both sides once again at each other’s throats.

This first issue is interesting, not only because of the different approach that it takes to the Secret Wars crossover, but also because of the fundamental questions which the original crossover posed, questions to which there are no real easy answers, and they are also the questions which underlie much of the public discourse in politics at the moment, especially in the USA.  The nuances are here as to deeper questions, and while it doesn’t exactly get around to addressing them, they are still there.  This issue thus borders on something a lot deeper, while still giving an engaging story to get into.  It might not be the best overall tie-in thus far to Secret Wars, but it definitely one of the most thought-provoking, and deserves to be placed at the head of the pack.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Spider-Island #1

si001In some ways the entirety of Secret Wars has at times read like a fan fic.  Although there is a strong enough core to the overall story to hold it together, it is equally a relatively fertile ground for creators to let loose in terms of creativity.  Some tie-ins have benefited from this and others have not, and in the case of Spider-Island it is very like the former.  The creative team here has taken the crossover from four summers ago and repurposed it, asking some common fan fic questions like what if the Spider Queen had managed to take over the Avengers?  Or what if Flash Thompson as Venom was the one fighting for the city, not Spider-Man.

The plot here focuses on Flash and his few allies – Jessica Drew, the Vision and Werewolf by Night.  They are fighting a losing battle against the spread of the spider virus, and they are desperate to find something which they can do to counter it.  Werewolf by Night is himself infested but only comes to the side of the heroes when her turns into a wolf at night, and he manages to give Flash the information that he might need to finally stop the spread of the virus.  He launches a covert mission with the Vision, Jessica and himself, but things don’t turn out exactly as planned, though in this case neither for the heroes nor the villains.

The result is a fresh take on the crossover by recasting some of the main characters and by changing the baseline of the setting.  It is a bit grittier than the original, but the reimagining works well as the reader is drawn into the story almost immediately and the pace never lets up.  It is also nice to see the backup feature showing us a slightly older Spider-Girl (now Spider-Woman) from the MC2, which also sort of ties into the Secret Wars crossover.  In the end this is a pretty decent tie-in to Secret Wars, proving once again that those who are willing to push the boundaries that the freedom of the crossover allows, also benefit from those risks, as they have paid off here and elsewhere for these tie-in series.

Story:  Christos Gage, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz Art:  Paco Diaz and Sal Buscema 
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Diversity In Comics: We’ve Come A Long Way, But We’re Not There Yet

THOR 001_coverThe comic book industry has been making great strides when it comes to introducing more cultural, and ethnic, diversity in the last decade. Superheroes are no longer just straight white men with the odd woman around, but depending on who you talk to about diversity in comics, you could easily  be mistaken for thinking that there really isn’t any. There is diversity, but not as much as perhaps there should be.

Beginning with Luke Cage, the Black Panther, and Shang Chi in the 60’s and 70’s, Marvel Comics did begin to slowly introduce ethnically diverse characters to their roster, but in a medium traditionally dominated by straight white superheroes, diversification had been a comparatively slow process. Not because publishers were against diversifying their lines (although that may have been a part of it for some) but because the publishers wanted to make money, and because the existing popular characters they had were primarily white, and it was those that were selling the comics. In roads have been made over the years, however, with the previously mentioned characters, and also characters such as Marvel’s Northstar, who famously came out in a 1992 story, finally married his long term boyfriend a few years ago; and the hugely popular Kamala Khan, the current Ms Marvel, is a Muslim American teenager.

Stan Lee has been quoted as saying in an interview with Newsarama about the casting of a white Peter Parker as the latest on screen Spider-Man;

I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to,” he also added “it has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that. Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to. Hell, I’ll do it myself.

While he certainly has a point, it can be difficult to launch a new superhero into the public consciousness, but by casting a person of colour into a previously white character it can be an immediate show of support.

The same is also true for replacing existing characters in story for various reasons; most recently Steve Rogers retired as Captain America and so The Falcon stepped up to the plate. Thor Odinson became unworthy of his hammer, and then gave his name (Thor) over to the woman who was worthy. Likewise for reinventing existing characters; when DC rebooted their universe with the New 52, the Green Lantern Alan Scott was a gay man.

Progress is being made, but we’re not quite there yet.

Just in the last month there have been some controversies; during a recent Batgirl story objections were raised over the portrayal of a male character impersonating the lead character (however in the collected edition, the creators revised their original script).

More recently, Image Comics has long been championing diversity and inclusion for all with many of the comics they publish. Up until, that is, Airboy #2 came out this week. Whether it was the creators’ intent to show the cultural differences between the modern day and the Golden Age (from which Airboy both literally and figuratively comes from), and how far we’ve come as a society from the 1940’s in accepting transgender individuals, (or not – I may be giving too much credit here to a misguided depiction of support for the LGBTQ community) the message that many have received loud and clear from Airboy #2 isn’t one of support and acceptance, and as such, it isn’t resonating very well – if at all.

As an industry this is obviously not the message we want to give.

Regardless of the intentions behind that scene in Airboy #2, this kind of portrayal of transgender individuals not only harms the progress the industry has made in the past, and continues to make, but it can also potentially harm real life individuals.  Admirably, the writer of the comic recognized the outcry and responded.

Comics have come a long way when it comes to inclusion and acceptance for all, but we, as an industry and as a community, still have a long we to go. We need to ensure that comics are inclusive to everybody, and when they’re not then we should follow the examples that the very comics we love have shown us so many times, and speak out in favour of those who are being treated unfairly.

It was Stan Lee who said “with great power, there must also come great responsibility,” and we’ve all got the power to speak up when we see something that isn’t right.

Also published on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan.

Review: Planet Hulk #2

planethulk002Secret Wars has this far been a slightly confusing crossover.  As it has taken numerous worlds and continuities and thrown them together, there has still been a lot of influence from pretty notable crossovers at Marvel.  In most of the cases with the crossovers, the original material from the crossover provides some inspiration for the Secret Wars tie-in, but it is not always the case.  The only real unifying factor to Secret Wars is the Battle world controlled by Doom, which binds all of these worlds together although they seem ready to rebel against him.

Planet Hulk is a perfect example of this.  This is one of the big name crossovers from recent memory that manages to tie-in the whole Marvel Universe and to stay engaging and entertaining at a high level throughout.  The story featured the Hulk that had been banished to another planet due to his threat to Earth, where he found a mate before his family was killed and he returned to Earth to exact revenge in World War Hulk.  In this case though there is little inspiration left from the original series, instead focusing on Captain America, who in this version has a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex as a steed, and who inadvertently comes into contact with Doc Green.  Doc Green leads him through the bizarre landscape where everything is big and Gamma infused.  Everything also happens to be trying to kill the three of them as Doc Green leads them to a place for answers.

There is not a whole lot of substance in this issue, but neither does there have to be.  Coincidentally this issue comes out around the same time as Jurassic World has been released into theaters, and the comparison is maybe apt as both have a tyrannosaurus rex in a fight with another beast.  That is to say that it is fun if not particularly deep as a concept, something which is a treat for the eyes if not so much for the brain.

Story: Sam Humphries  Art: Mark Laming 
Story: 7.7  Art: 7.7  Overall: 7.7  Recommendation: Read

 

SDCC 2015: LEGO’s Exclusive Minifigs Include Falcon Captain America and Roy Harper

LEGO completists had minor strokes this weekend as some details of the company’s exclusive minifigures were revealed. Images of the first figure have been released. Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, aka the New Captain America will be one of the exclusive figures to be given away. This one has a bit of a Secret Wars spin to it.

It is also rumored that Roy Harper, who was seen on the television show Arrow, will be the DC Comics release for the show.

Traditionally the figures have been given away via lottery at the show with attendees having their badges scanned and randomly chosen.

SDCC Lego Captain America Sam Wilson 1 SDCC Lego Captain America Sam Wilson 2

 

SDCC 2015: Funko’s Exclusives… Wave Two!

Funko has announced their second batch of San Diego Comic-Con exclusives! Their goal was to cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.

In an effort to provide more of their products to Con-goers, they are NOT offering a pre-buy option this year.

Without further ado, here is the second installment of Funko’s San Diego Comic-Con exclusives list!

Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Captain American Unmasked

Pop! Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron - Captain American Unmasked

Pop! Animation: Dragon Ball Z – Golden Frieza

Pop! Animation Dragon Ball Z - Golden Frieza

Pop! Television: Supernatural – French Mistake Castiel

Pop! Television Supernatural - French Mistake Castiel

Pop! Disney: Cars – Dinoco McQueen

Pop! Disney Cars - Dinoco McQueen

ReAction: The Flash – The Flash Unmasked

ReAction The Flash - The Flash Unmasked

Hikari: Gigantor – Power Gigantor

Hikari Gigantor - Power Gigantor

Dorbz XL: Guardians of the Galaxy – 6″ Rocket

Dorbz XL Guardians of the Galaxy - 6 Rocket

Fashion Spotlight: Buster Manual, Starry Iron, and Attack on Mad Titan

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. Buster Manual, Starry Iron, and Attack on Mad Titan from drsimonbutler76, ddjvigo, and BadEye will be for sale on June 6, 2015 only!

Buster Manual by drsimonbutler76

Buster Manual

Starry Iron by ddjvigo

Starry Iron

Attack on Mad Titan by BadEye

Attack on Mad Titan

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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