Comic-book superhero Captain America may have vanquished some of the world's worst villains, but he's been humbled by conservative tea-party crusaders. According to a story pulled together by Yahoo News, the creative chief at Marvel Comics apologized to the noisy populist movement for a recent Captain America storyline about antigovernment militia groups. The comic included a storyboard panel depicting white protesters carrying placards with slogans similar to those favored by tea-party protesters.
"Tea bag libs before they tea bag you," read one of the fictitious placards. Another said, "Stop the socialists." According to the Yahoo article, the panel was part of a storyline in which Captain America and his African-American sidekick, The Falcon, prepare to investigate an antigovernment movement called "The Watchdogs." Captain America and the Falcon talk about infiltrating the group, but the Falcon wonders if that would be such a good idea. "I don't exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks," he says. Captain America then suggests that he go undercover posing as an IRS agent, which would provoke the ersatz protesters' ire.
The similarities between Captain America's latest foes and the tea partiers were apparently first noticed by right-wing blogger Werner Todd Houston, who complained, "Nice going, Marvel Comics. Thanks for making patriotic Americans into your newest super villains."
This in turn elicited a long apologia, published on a Web site called Comicbookresources.com, from Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics' editor in chief. "It's just one of those stupid mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents," Quesada said. He claimed it happened because of a deadline rush to get the artwork off to the printer. According to Quesada, "The crowd protesting has nothing to do with the villains in the story; we in no way meant to say they were associated with the Tea Party movement. It was a simple perfect storm of screw-ups. It happens, we're human."
A Marvel Comics spokesman assured Declassified: "No Marvel character has ever aligned with a political party."