Headline: Comic Book Hero Packs Heat, Three People Notice


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CBS220
January 22, 2008, 01:50 PM
I can't say I've seen a comic book store, or a comic book collector, for years, but for some reason this is big news.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/15/AR2007101501494.html

Good Guy With a Gun: A Superhero For the Times

By David Betancourt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 16, 2007; Page C01

When Captain America returns to the pages of his comic book in January, it won't be his star-spangled new duds getting all the attention. Instead it will be what he's wielding in his right hand, the one once reserved for pummeling the jaws of evil. Come next year, he'll be gripping cold, hard steel.

That's right, Captain America will be packing heat.


This isn't the first time that Captain America has toted a gun. Still, says Ed Brubaker, the comic book's writer,
This isn't the first time that Captain America has toted a gun. Still, says Ed Brubaker, the comic book's writer, "This isn't Steve Rogers," the superhero's mild alter ego. (Marvel Comics)

With a few mainstream comic book exceptions -- the Punisher, for instance -- it's usually the bad guys who have the guns. Bullets bounce off Superman's chest. Batman swears never to use a gun. The only thing Spider-Man keeps in his suit is a camera. And protecting himself from enemy fire is the whole reason Captain America has a shield, right?

"We definitely wanted a Captain America that still screamed, 'This is Captain America,' but this isn't the same Cap you've been reading about," says Ed Brubaker, the comic book's writer. "This isn't Steve Rogers."

For the novices out there, Rogers was Captain America's true identity. He was taken down in a hail of gunfire earlier this year, a casualty of the civil war raging within the Marvel universe. Marvel's superheroes were fighting over a law that required all those with superhuman abilities to register with the government, thus revealing their secret identities. Iron Man lead the way in support of the government. Even Spider-Man unmasked himself. Captain America, however, believed it was a violation of his civil liberties to be forced to reveal his civilian identity and led the rebellion against the law. Talk about a metaphor for the battles of our day. Can anyone out there say Patriot Act?

When he finally went to surrender -- fearing the war was taking too great a toll on innocent bystanders -- he was whacked, blown away on his way to the courthouse.

A bit of irony there, eh, Brubacker?

"The kind of writer I am, all the writing grows out of the characters," he says. "Everything about the Captain America redesign has to do with the characters in the story."

Brubaker, who has been writing the comic book for nearly three years, says he's had people from the left and the right tell him what Captain America should stand for. But Brubaker says he's always tried to emphasize Captain America's military background. And the truth is, he adds, this isn't the first time that the Captain has been armed.

"I've leaned on the 'soldier' part of super-soldier," Brubaker says. "If you look at Cap in the 1940s, they have him with a shield in one hand and a machine gun in the other, and Bucky [the Captain's World War II teen sidekick] has a flamethrower.

"In the '80s they started changing his history, saying he'd never killed anyone. A guy who fought in World War II isn't going to care if terrorists die. I've always approached the book as a superhero espionage comic."

Brubaker realizes that everyone in the country doesn't read the comic book, let alone know the character's history, and that for some the Captain is more a symbol of untainted righteousness.
"To me, I'm telling a story," he says. "The idea that he has a gun really grows out of who it is that's in the suit. But that's how symbolism works. Some people see [the image on the Web site] and go 'Oh, my God.' "

John Hefner, an employee at Big Planet Comics in Georgetown, was one of them.

This isn't the first time that Captain America has toted a gun. Still, says Ed Brubaker, the comic book's writer,
This isn't the first time that Captain America has toted a gun. Still, says Ed Brubaker, the comic book's writer, "This isn't Steve Rogers," the superhero's mild alter ego. (Marvel Comics)

"It's not true to the spirit of the character and it's a rather cynical and shocking idea to have it be this way to represent the times we live in," Hefner says. "Superheroes are fantasy in the first place. They're myth and metaphor, and when you try to mix true reality in there, the absurdity is inherent in the character."

But that doesn't mean Hefner isn't going to stop being a fan.

"[Ed] Brubaker has been doing an excellent job on Captain America," he says. "I thought Cap's death was moving and powerful, and I think he has a plan for this [new] Captain America and the gun and everything. Everything goes back to the status quo. The real Cap will be back someday. He won't have the gun forever."

Alex Ross, one of the industry's most popular artists and the designer of the Captain's new suit, was watching a 1944 movie serial in which he saw the superhero carrying a gun. He didn't see a problem with giving the character a gun, as long as the person under the mask wouldn't turn out to be a resurrected Rogers. (The new character's identity will be revealed in January, Marvel says.)

"I think that's one of those bold things meant to be symbolic of this new design," Ross says.

Despite the 21st-century appeal, the new suit is actually a tribute to the past. Ross's inspiration for Captain America's triangular chest plate (which will deflect bullets) was Cap's original shield that he debuted in the first issue in 1941.

Tom Brevoort, executive editor for Marvel Comics, who oversaw Marvel's epic about civil war among the superheroes, compares the new Captain America to the persona of a police officer or FBI agent.

"Police officers and the military, those guys are authorized in particular circumstances to use deadly force if necessary," he says. "The job of a soldier is to safeguard the populace, the nation, the innocent."

But, he adds, he hopes the attention surrounding the new Captain America won't center on the fact that he's armed.

"The actual content of the story won't just be about the gun," he says. "We knew it was a provocative symbol to put a firearm in Cap's hand. That choice wasn't made in ignorance. . . . When people read the story, they'll get a broader view of what our new Cap is about and hopefully he represents American ideals the same way Steve Rogers did in the past."


Of course, the article does its utmost to malign firearms, and link them to criminals. A good guy? Using a firearm? Imagine that. Maybe comics are bigger business in other places, but I'm not sure why this made the front page of my paper.

Anyway, I found it sort of sad that they thought that people see Captain America as "a symbol of untainted righteousness", yet it was so out of the ordinary for him to carry a gun. It seems like a non-issue.

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General Geoff
January 22, 2008, 01:54 PM
Well it goes back to the root of comic books. It was routine for comic book heroes to carry sidearms back in the early 20th century. Even Batman used to carry a gun. It all fell to the way side as comics became more politically correct, and less realistically violent (but more fantastically so).


I hope this is the first step towards a more firearms-friendly comic era.

TexKettering
January 22, 2008, 02:00 PM
I wonder what he will be carrying...

NG VI
January 22, 2008, 02:00 PM
Batman with a pistol? that's before my time I guess

Floppy_D
January 22, 2008, 02:07 PM
Here's a link. (http://comics.ign.com/articles/826/826576p1.html) In the 2nd pic, it kinda looks like a 1911. The downside is he looks more like Captain Puerto Rico with that new uniform.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 22, 2008, 02:10 PM
Already was discussed and closed 2 months ago when this "news" came out: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=308830
And resurrected and closed:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=309728

lotus
January 22, 2008, 02:14 PM
At least they made it a 1911...

Thernlund
January 22, 2008, 02:32 PM
Batman with a pistol? that's before my time I guess
http://208.106.149.12/pictures/575.jpg http://208.106.149.12/pictures/576.jpg http://208.106.149.12/pictures/577.jpg http://208.106.149.12/pictures/578.jpg

June 1987 thru September 1987. The last three were some of Todd McFarlane's first work. They were his first for Batman. I have all four, the last three signed by him.

Ok. I was a comic book geek. That's all I could afford at the time. Now I can afford guns. ;)


-T.

Joe Demko
January 22, 2008, 02:34 PM
Batman with a pistol? that's before my time I guess

He used guns in a few really early stories circa 1939. He used to pretty routinely kill off criminals in those early stories, too, mostly by throwing them off buildings and such. Heck, even Dick "Robin" Grayson offs a couple thugs in his debut story.

Furncliff
January 22, 2008, 02:43 PM
I read "The Phantom" growing up, I remember a flapped holster, IIRC he packed a wheel gun? I forgot he was a lefty.

...........http://lundentoons.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/phantom-fantomet-comic.jpg

2TransAms
January 22, 2008, 02:48 PM
Yeah,old news to us comic fanboys. :B

He has a 1911 in the pictures,but that may change in the comic itself.

extremefishin00
January 22, 2008, 02:52 PM
I seem to remember seeing The Phantom using a 1911 in most of the pictures I saw.


The British counterpart to Captain America, Union Jack carried a Webley revolver and a knife.

JColdIron
January 22, 2008, 02:53 PM
The Phantom -he packed a wheel gun? I forgot he was a lefty

I thought he had dual 1911's. We can only see the left side of his gun belt in that pic so he looks like a lefty.

Sage of Seattle
January 22, 2008, 03:02 PM
IBTL!

Nothing wrong with a superhero packing. At least, I always felt like a superhero* when I carry.









*yes, I'm kidding.

Kaeto
January 22, 2008, 03:09 PM
The Phantom has always carried a gun since the origin time of the character, and as time progressed he updated the gun. The current Phantom carries 2 .45 cal. 1911A1s and a boot knife.

Joe Demko
January 22, 2008, 03:11 PM
Well, they've gone overboard with the whole Batman and guns thing. Originally, the editorial decision for him not to use guns was just to make the comics more kid-friendly and distance them from their roots in the pulps. In the comics of that period he doesn't use guns but doesn't really express any opinion on them. Having him actually hate guns dates back no further than the mid to late 1980's. Batman's present hatred of guns reflects the attitudes of the writing/editorial staff of that time.
Batman wasn't the only character who killed baddies in those early days, anyway. They pretty much all did, even Superman. For sheer gruesomeness, nobody outdid The Specter in the spectacularly horrible ways he exacted justice upon the unrighteous. He didn't use a gun, though. When you are the wrath of God personified, you have other methods at your disposal.

armoredman
January 22, 2008, 04:06 PM
The Phantom is still being written as a daily comic. I actually just recently started reading that one. Yes, he does have two 1911A1s...and an F100 Super Sabre.
http://www.azcentral.com/ent/comics/phantom.html

Sam1911
January 22, 2008, 06:17 PM
One of his Super Powers must be point shooting.



There are no sights on his pistol. Strange oversight, don't you think? (Yes, there is a bad pun right there.)

I'll bet it's a subliminal message! Good guys don't *NEED* to aim!

:evil:

-Sam

Justin
January 22, 2008, 06:33 PM
This is a duplicate.

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