Marvel & Brand Captain America

Sometimes in entertainment marketing, you create a movement that is even greater than its source material. It’s a danger anytime you transition a property from one format that caters to a smaller fan base and introduce it to a much larger fan base.

In many cases, the “bigger” medium transcends the smaller. That can lead to some interesting and compelling scenarios – just ask Game of Thrones creators and author George RR Martin. But, sometimes, in trying to keep up with a runaway train, the wheels come spinning off. Enter Captain America.

Since the incredible success of Marvel’s superhero movies, the New York comic dream factory has been trying to maintain some novelty and intrigue in its comic versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. First, Thor became female, then Cap passed his shield on to longtime sidekick, Falcon. Cap transitioned to super spy, and some saw him taking over for an aging Nick Fury.

But it seems Marvel had other plans. It’s latest new series featuring the Star Spangled Avenger hit stands recently, and the twist ending has fans enraged. With any character, particularly one that’s been around as long as Cap, you can forgive some creative license with plot, storyline, and personality. But what Marvel did with this character created a revolt in comic fans not seen since the days of Batman suits with nipples.

Spoiler alert… you’ve been warned.

In the final scene of the first issue of Steve Rogers: Captain America, the character utters a two-word phrase no one thought him capable of. Yes, Steve Rogers says: “Hail Hydra.”

According to media releases related to the reboot, the storyline has Rogers sharing the mantle of Cap with Falcon but re-imagines his entire backstory. Instead of a scrappy kid who volunteers for an experiment to make him superhuman, Rogers is recruited as a kid by international terrorist group, Hydra.

Fandom immediately revolted. According to David Firester, “Some just shook their heads, refusing to fall for what they assumed had to be some sort of desperate cry for attention. Others viscerally denounced Marvel and all the decision makers for the print division.”

Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort told CNN the move was a wake-up call for readers: “The basic reason for doing this is to see if you’re paying attention, and to make readers long for the next issue … this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Nice try, Tom. What’s next, turning Spider-Man into an actual bug … or matching Mary Jane up with Iron Man … wait, never mind.


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