Monday, May 10, 2010

Comic Book Politics
The Way We were

Patrick, over at the Pagan Temple has a post up about the politics of Iron Man / Tony Stark in the movie sequel, Iron Man II. I had to quit reading his post because I smelled spoilers, however he has linked to a couple other bloggers discussing the same issue. Heck, even Reason Magazine has an article about the subject.
This happened with The Watchmen as well, with people citing conservative / libertarian influence, but The Watchmen came out the mind of an anarchist magician in the late 80s.
Back in the 60s, before blogs & social websites & email, web forums and even newsgroups, DC's Superman was king. The stories were banal as hell & the letters to the editor generated were equally banal. Over at Marvel, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko decided to make their stories a little more challenging by getting into real social and political issues and by using a broader vocabulary. This gave older teenagers who were naturally starting to question the society around them & the college age kids, who were actually getting schooled in the issues, something they could really sink their teeth into. The letters to the editors frequently brought up the politics and ethics of the day. Amazingly, there was even discussion amongst readers although their comments were only published once a month. The relationships between the government, Stark Industries, S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America & the U.S. military brought up all sorts of issues & the readers chimed in regularly. The letters sections got bigger & bigger & I found myself frequently reading the letters before the story. That these issues resonate to this day is great & a real testament to the creators. I don't have any problem with people discussing the stories & characters, I just feel like I am hearing the same arguments I heard 40 some years ago.

Tales of Suspense - 1964

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