Attacks on the Right

It should come as no great surprise to anyone that reads what I write that I tend towards the left side of the political spectrum.  Being that as it may I tend to view things through that spectrum, and while I may occasionally try to convince someone the error of their ways I still respect people that have made the decision to subscribe to a particular ideology.  That having been said a couple of years ago there was a mini incident when the Tea Party was depicted in not such a good light in Captain America #602  

 
My impression of this issue is that it was pretty tame in its lambasting of the right.  Although Falcon suggests at one point that they are racists, it mostly looks at the political movement in a fairly neutral light (there is of course a lot more controversy surrounding the incident among comic fans, mostly regarding what should be apologized for.) 
 
I was thus a little surprised to run into a panel in Mister Terrific which seems a lot more direct in its vilification of the right.  In my mind this is more blatant because the characters are saying things which I associate with the right.  President Obama has been called a terrorist so many times in public forums that it would be practically impossible to count.  I personally have been called a tree hugger more times than I know (though it is not the insult that people think it is.)  The statement about credit cards is kind of silly and non sequitur, but underlying this all is Brainstorm with one of the catchphrases of the right "God Bless America."   Of course that all the people are being controlled by a supervillain adds a bit more of a condemnation to their outlooks. 
 
I personally do not take any offense to these remarks, but in the interest of partisanship some petty name calling or silly implications doesn't really get us far in solving real problems.  
29 Comments
34 Comments
Posted by Saren

Media's always been a liberal business, and I suppose comics do fall under that category.

Moderator Online
Posted by RazzaTazz
@CitizenBane: Perhaps, I am not really into slagging the industry or buying into media bias, which both sides of the spectrum claim occurs.  
Posted by fodigg

@RazzaTazz: What's interesting is that Terrific self-identifies as a Republican. But then, that book has such terrible dialouge it's like...I'm not surprised.

This reminds me of how religious persons are viewed in comics, which is often pro-secular. There's a great story about a pitch by Gail Simone (an atheist) for a religious Cassandra Cain Batgirl that I wish had been carried out instead of the "crazed head of the league of assassins" thing they did with her. See sblock for summary:

@GailSimone: There have been a ton of posts lately about what I would have done if I'd taken over Batgirl or Nightwing. I WAS asked by dc what I would do in each case, and had strong feelings about both (although I never actually turned in a Nightwing pitch, I had what I thought was a very hot idea).

Now, I'm not 100% up on what's going on with either character (I'm a bit behind) but knowing the writers, I know it's going to be entertaining. This isn't "Oh, this is how I would have done it," so much as, "here's something interesting that never happened," okay?

Reposted from Chuck Dixon's board:

I was asked to come up with a direction for Batgirl, something new that would give her a fresh platform. I gave it a ton of thought, and the direction I came up with was this (obviously this is the abridged version):

Batgirl saves this minister, a guy who preaches to the homeless of Gotham City, a real get-down-into-it guy, from a vicious robbery. He's beaten badly, and Batgirl lashes out at the gang viciously, until he begs her to stop. He's forgiven them, let the police handle it, he says.

Batgirl is utterly baffled. She doesn't get it. Forgiveness for those who kill and injure innocents isn't part of the batcode. She starts visiting the minister in the hospital. He talks to her, not to convert her, but the belief he has in God is so moving and unshakable, that she comes to think of him as incredibly strong. Everything about him is the opposite of Batman--he's at peace, he doesn't believe in violence, and above all, he's got the joy of God in him, in every part of him. He tells her he used to be a bad, violent man, and the book changed him. The idea appeals to and terrifies her.

So, even though she can barely, barely read, she buys a bible, and at first, she's afraid to even open it. It must be a dangerous and powerful book to change men's hearts so. Each sentence is a struggle at first, and she has to call Oracle and Robin and Alfred to have words explained to her. But one day, bam, she gets it.

From then on, she is truly devout, truly converted. She wears a white bat outfit and starts looking out for the most vulnerable of Gotham's residents, runaways, immigrants, homeless people, mentally ill people, etc, because that's what she understands the minister would do. She still issues righteous beatings because she's a little bit old testament, but she talks scripture with both the minister and the gang members. She believes.

And after a while, she gets a new nickname...many people don't call her Batgirl anymore, she becomes to them, the Angel of the Bat. And for the first time, she's genuinely happy.

Okay, here's the thing. I am not religious. In fact, I am an atheist, and you guys know I'm liberal as all hell. But I too believe Conservatives and religious people have been represented cheaply and unfairly (sometimes stupidly) in comics. When I turned in my pitch/outline (and I wasn't pitching for the book, just being asked what direction I might see for it), the editor instantly thought I meant it in a condescending way...like she would be religious, but would be shown to be naive, or that it would be just a fad, from an intellectual standpoint.

But that's not what I meant at all. I meant that she REALLY believes, and isn't stupid OR ashamed. Is in fact proud of it. Quotes the bible. Asks questions about matters of faith and scripture. And that she would be using her very dark knowledge in a redemptive way. I felt, and feel, that religious readers are often spoken down to in comics, and this would be a character change that would be fascinating for non-believers as well. But no cheating. No smirking. No trying to put in a knowing wink to the parts of the audience who aren't themselves religious.

The weird thing is, the idea actually seemed sort of radical, apparently, as I don't believe they thought it could be carried off sincerely. I don't see why not...it's a character. Her belief system doesn't have to match the writer's, or I couldn't write Dr. Psycho and Chuck couldn't write, say, anyone who isn't a gun nut (I'm kidding!!! Love ya, Chuck!).

Anyway, that was my idea, Angel of the Bat. For whatever reason, that idea seems a thousand times more controversial than having her be the head of the League of Assassins.

I'm not bitter about it, and hopefully I can revisit the idea somewhere, but with all the grim, hopeless characters in the bat-verse, I thought it would be delightful and seditious to do the exact opposite and present a sincere, hopeful and positive version of the character. Batman's reaction alone would be priceless.

So, I did try, anyway!

Gail

[source]

Posted by RazzaTazz
@fodigg: Oh that is weird, I didnt know he was identified as a Republican.  Of course Republican has a fairly large swath in terms of outlook
Posted by fodigg

@RazzaTazz: Yeah. And what's weird is that it came out of nowhere and was set up as a counter-point to his being black, although I don't remember the exact line.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@fodigg: Oh it might not be canonical then?
Posted by fodigg

@RazzaTazz: No, the line is post-reboot and it's Terrific thinking to himself "I'm actually a Republican." That says canon to me.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@fodigg: Really?  That was in the first three issues and I missed it somewhere?
Posted by RazzaTazz
@lykopis: Credit cards were an interesting thing to mention.  I think it deals with more of a concept of credit induced false affluence (I am copyrighting that term) but I still don't see how it fits in the insults.  
Posted by fodigg

@RazzaTazz: I'm pretty sure but now I want to go back and confirm.

Posted by Hawkeye446

Nicely said Razza.

Posted by PowerHerc

I'd prefer if comics and politics didn't intersect.

Edited by fodigg

@RazzaTazz: Oh looks like I totally misread a piece of dialogue. He's apparently a "liberal, pinko-loving, atheist." He just supports a conservative candidate:

I'm shelf reading this book so I'm not surprised I misread it. It looks like crap so I never pick it up. The above scan is from here.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@lykopis: It is yours to use on an as-needed basis.  I do read a fair bit about politics in the USA and know a fair bit about the Tea Party, I am just not sure they ever really had any issues with credit card companies.   
 
@PowerHerc: I think it is inevitable based on the storytelling abilities of most writers.  
Posted by RazzaTazz
@fodigg: Interesting, I didn't realize this book was as political.  I agree mostly with your assessment, it started out all right but hasn't grown since then.  
Edited by PowerHerc

@lykopis: Maybe they are. Maybe they aren't. I'm 42 years old, so I'd say that makes me an older reader, and I don't want to see it.

@RazzaTazz: You're probably right, but I don't think it has to be that way.

I think the writers often give in to their own political feelings and then advocate their point(s) of view through their work in the comics medium regardless of what the reader is looking for in a comic. Maybe their are too many closet/hobby political journalists writing comics these days.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@lykopis: Interesting to draw an analogy here to Don Cherry, but I see it now.  I was thinking more along the lines of John Huntsman who has more or less called out the Republican Party for their stupidity on scientific issues.  
Posted by RazzaTazz
@PowerHerc: I think dealing with an issue in contemporary society can give a lot of weight to comics (or fiction in general).  this sort of non-sequitur name calling really doesn't accomplish much though.  
Posted by PowerHerc

@lykopis: Maybe, but I'm an older reader and I don't want to see it.

Posted by PowerHerc

@RazzaTazz said:

@PowerHerc: I think dealing with an issue in contemporary society can give a lot of weight to comics (or fiction in general). this sort of non-sequitur name calling really doesn't accomplish much though.

I agree on both, but I prefer comics as entertainment and I like to get my political commentary elsewhere.

Posted by Roxanne Starr

@RazzaTazz:

That tea bag sign in Cap #602 has been discussed before. Sigh...

Brubaker didn't write it, the letterer didn't letter it. It was stuck in there by some Smarty Pants in the Marvel bull pen. I hope he was fired!

Ed was furious!!!

Posted by Roxanne Starr

@PowerHerc: @lykopis:

Thank God there will NEVER be any political threads allowed on MY websites.

Posted by Mercy_

@fodigg said:

@RazzaTazz: What's interesting is that Terrific self-identifies as a Republican. But then, that book has such terrible dialouge it's like...I'm not surprised.

This reminds me of how religious persons are viewed in comics, which is often pro-secular. There's a great story about a pitch by Gail Simone (an atheist) for a religious Cassandra Cain Batgirl that I wish had been carried out instead of the "crazed head of the league of assassins" thing they did with her. See sblock for summary:

@GailSimone: There have been a ton of posts lately about what I would have done if I'd taken over Batgirl or Nightwing. I WAS asked by dc what I would do in each case, and had strong feelings about both (although I never actually turned in a Nightwing pitch, I had what I thought was a very hot idea).

Now, I'm not 100% up on what's going on with either character (I'm a bit behind) but knowing the writers, I know it's going to be entertaining. This isn't "Oh, this is how I would have done it," so much as, "here's something interesting that never happened," okay?

Reposted from Chuck Dixon's board:

I was asked to come up with a direction for Batgirl, something new that would give her a fresh platform. I gave it a ton of thought, and the direction I came up with was this (obviously this is the abridged version):

Batgirl saves this minister, a guy who preaches to the homeless of Gotham City, a real get-down-into-it guy, from a vicious robbery. He's beaten badly, and Batgirl lashes out at the gang viciously, until he begs her to stop. He's forgiven them, let the police handle it, he says.

Batgirl is utterly baffled. She doesn't get it. Forgiveness for those who kill and injure innocents isn't part of the batcode. She starts visiting the minister in the hospital. He talks to her, not to convert her, but the belief he has in God is so moving and unshakable, that she comes to think of him as incredibly strong. Everything about him is the opposite of Batman--he's at peace, he doesn't believe in violence, and above all, he's got the joy of God in him, in every part of him. He tells her he used to be a bad, violent man, and the book changed him. The idea appeals to and terrifies her.

So, even though she can barely, barely read, she buys a bible, and at first, she's afraid to even open it. It must be a dangerous and powerful book to change men's hearts so. Each sentence is a struggle at first, and she has to call Oracle and Robin and Alfred to have words explained to her. But one day, bam, she gets it.

From then on, she is truly devout, truly converted. She wears a white bat outfit and starts looking out for the most vulnerable of Gotham's residents, runaways, immigrants, homeless people, mentally ill people, etc, because that's what she understands the minister would do. She still issues righteous beatings because she's a little bit old testament, but she talks scripture with both the minister and the gang members. She believes.

And after a while, she gets a new nickname...many people don't call her Batgirl anymore, she becomes to them, the Angel of the Bat. And for the first time, she's genuinely happy.

Okay, here's the thing. I am not religious. In fact, I am an atheist, and you guys know I'm liberal as all hell. But I too believe Conservatives and religious people have been represented cheaply and unfairly (sometimes stupidly) in comics. When I turned in my pitch/outline (and I wasn't pitching for the book, just being asked what direction I might see for it), the editor instantly thought I meant it in a condescending way...like she would be religious, but would be shown to be naive, or that it would be just a fad, from an intellectual standpoint.

But that's not what I meant at all. I meant that she REALLY believes, and isn't stupid OR ashamed. Is in fact proud of it. Quotes the bible. Asks questions about matters of faith and scripture. And that she would be using her very dark knowledge in a redemptive way. I felt, and feel, that religious readers are often spoken down to in comics, and this would be a character change that would be fascinating for non-believers as well. But no cheating. No smirking. No trying to put in a knowing wink to the parts of the audience who aren't themselves religious.

The weird thing is, the idea actually seemed sort of radical, apparently, as I don't believe they thought it could be carried off sincerely. I don't see why not...it's a character. Her belief system doesn't have to match the writer's, or I couldn't write Dr. Psycho and Chuck couldn't write, say, anyone who isn't a gun nut (I'm kidding!!! Love ya, Chuck!).

Anyway, that was my idea, Angel of the Bat. For whatever reason, that idea seems a thousand times more controversial than having her be the head of the League of Assassins.

I'm not bitter about it, and hopefully I can revisit the idea somewhere, but with all the grim, hopeless characters in the bat-verse, I thought it would be delightful and seditious to do the exact opposite and present a sincere, hopeful and positive version of the character. Batman's reaction alone would be priceless.

So, I did try, anyway!

Gail

[source]

Holy....this would have been so awesome.

Moderator
Posted by Roxanne Starr

@lykopis said:

@Roxanne Starr said:

@RazzaTazz:

That tea bag sign in Cap #602 has been discussed before. Sigh...

Brubaker didn't write it, the letterer didn't letter it. It was stuck in there by some Smarty Pants in the Marvel bull pen. I hope he was fired!

Ed was furious!!!

Oh wow - I had no idea. Nice to know, Roxie!

I contacted Ed after I had parents complaining about that placard at the comic book store...because their kids were asking them what tea bagging was. It was an embarrassment.

If you look at that page in the GN compilation, the sign is no longer there.

Ed was fit to be tied...because Cap takes place in the Marvel Universe...NOT IN THE REAL WORLD!!!

Posted by MrDirector786

@fodigg said:

@RazzaTazz: What's interesting is that Terrific self-identifies as a Republican. But then, that book has such terrible dialouge it's like...I'm not surprised.

This reminds me of how religious persons are viewed in comics, which is often pro-secular. There's a great story about a pitch by Gail Simone (an atheist) for a religious Cassandra Cain Batgirl that I wish had been carried out instead of the "crazed head of the league of assassins" thing they did with her. See sblock for summary:

@GailSimone: There have been a ton of posts lately about what I would have done if I'd taken over Batgirl or Nightwing. I WAS asked by dc what I would do in each case, and had strong feelings about both (although I never actually turned in a Nightwing pitch, I had what I thought was a very hot idea).

Now, I'm not 100% up on what's going on with either character (I'm a bit behind) but knowing the writers, I know it's going to be entertaining. This isn't "Oh, this is how I would have done it," so much as, "here's something interesting that never happened," okay?

Reposted from Chuck Dixon's board:

I was asked to come up with a direction for Batgirl, something new that would give her a fresh platform. I gave it a ton of thought, and the direction I came up with was this (obviously this is the abridged version):

Batgirl saves this minister, a guy who preaches to the homeless of Gotham City, a real get-down-into-it guy, from a vicious robbery. He's beaten badly, and Batgirl lashes out at the gang viciously, until he begs her to stop. He's forgiven them, let the police handle it, he says.

Batgirl is utterly baffled. She doesn't get it. Forgiveness for those who kill and injure innocents isn't part of the batcode. She starts visiting the minister in the hospital. He talks to her, not to convert her, but the belief he has in God is so moving and unshakable, that she comes to think of him as incredibly strong. Everything about him is the opposite of Batman--he's at peace, he doesn't believe in violence, and above all, he's got the joy of God in him, in every part of him. He tells her he used to be a bad, violent man, and the book changed him. The idea appeals to and terrifies her.

So, even though she can barely, barely read, she buys a bible, and at first, she's afraid to even open it. It must be a dangerous and powerful book to change men's hearts so. Each sentence is a struggle at first, and she has to call Oracle and Robin and Alfred to have words explained to her. But one day, bam, she gets it.

From then on, she is truly devout, truly converted. She wears a white bat outfit and starts looking out for the most vulnerable of Gotham's residents, runaways, immigrants, homeless people, mentally ill people, etc, because that's what she understands the minister would do. She still issues righteous beatings because she's a little bit old testament, but she talks scripture with both the minister and the gang members. She believes.

And after a while, she gets a new nickname...many people don't call her Batgirl anymore, she becomes to them, the Angel of the Bat. And for the first time, she's genuinely happy.

Okay, here's the thing. I am not religious. In fact, I am an atheist, and you guys know I'm liberal as all hell. But I too believe Conservatives and religious people have been represented cheaply and unfairly (sometimes stupidly) in comics. When I turned in my pitch/outline (and I wasn't pitching for the book, just being asked what direction I might see for it), the editor instantly thought I meant it in a condescending way...like she would be religious, but would be shown to be naive, or that it would be just a fad, from an intellectual standpoint.

But that's not what I meant at all. I meant that she REALLY believes, and isn't stupid OR ashamed. Is in fact proud of it. Quotes the bible. Asks questions about matters of faith and scripture. And that she would be using her very dark knowledge in a redemptive way. I felt, and feel, that religious readers are often spoken down to in comics, and this would be a character change that would be fascinating for non-believers as well. But no cheating. No smirking. No trying to put in a knowing wink to the parts of the audience who aren't themselves religious.

The weird thing is, the idea actually seemed sort of radical, apparently, as I don't believe they thought it could be carried off sincerely. I don't see why not...it's a character. Her belief system doesn't have to match the writer's, or I couldn't write Dr. Psycho and Chuck couldn't write, say, anyone who isn't a gun nut (I'm kidding!!! Love ya, Chuck!).

Anyway, that was my idea, Angel of the Bat. For whatever reason, that idea seems a thousand times more controversial than having her be the head of the League of Assassins.

I'm not bitter about it, and hopefully I can revisit the idea somewhere, but with all the grim, hopeless characters in the bat-verse, I thought it would be delightful and seditious to do the exact opposite and present a sincere, hopeful and positive version of the character. Batman's reaction alone would be priceless.

So, I did try, anyway!

Gail

[source]

That's interesting.

Posted by CATPANEXE

Did this Mr.Terrific panel get press from actual politicians? I haven't been up on the news lately.

That's about the only real unsatisfactory thing in this to me. A persons view is their right, and lets

face fact, superhero comics are nothing but viewpoints of who is right and who is wrong being swapped

and analyzed. So a writer presenting a view and keeping it relevant to the real world (and reader) really doesn't

strike me either way. What does is when some political person has an explosion over it in the media and goes

on a bend. It's a comic book, not a political opponent, as well I think politicians make themselves look unstable

and misdirected when they focus on trivial things rather than the real issues their supposed to be working with.

Posted by jrock85
@PowerHerc said:

I'd prefer if comics and politics didn't intersect.

I know what you mean. Comics are a way of escaping the BS we have to deal with in reality.
Edited by MagneticShockwave
@jrock85 said:

@PowerHerc said:

I'd prefer if comics and politics didn't intersect.

I know what you mean. Comics are a way of escaping the BS we have to deal with in reality.
LOL, that was only during the 60's through 80's in Dr. Strange comics since they all take place away from Earth. Comics ever since the 1800's (and even before then) were used as a tool to stir up propaganda. It's ALWAYS been like that. When Superman was 1st created, he was a total racist and hero for the American Ideals ONLY. The only reason why he's changed is because our social society had changed, and it has changed not once, but over 100 times during 300 years. The problem of the world is that we can't make up our mind. Morals and Law contradict eachother no matter what. If you really want to escape from the political BS, it's not through comics. You have a better chance not bumping into real-world politics reading a real book.
Posted by CATPANEXE

@MagneticShockwave: I'd highly agree with that statement, as well as it was a platform for recruitment and selling war bonds for some time. Not reserving the fact that the comic book craft itself is an artistic and metaphoric critique of the human condition presented in dynamic perspective (subject of my next blog, and maybe the first time I'll have written anything relevant on this site other than posting whatever filth comes to mind (though the blog will probably have no lack of that either, nature of beast and everything)).