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SomeGuy said on May 1st, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Catchy: More importantly, like Superman, Captain America is a role model and knows it.

Heck, Marvel’s even gone on to state that Cap’s bright blue flag suit was mostly a PR move, and when you are doing newsreels once a week or so in the 30s and 40s, you are going to be encouraged NOT TO SWEAR.

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Interestingly enough, Doctor Seuss, before he did kids’ books, was a political cartoonist who did a lot of editorial cartoons advocating action against Germany. There’s a collection of his political cartoons, in fact, called “Dr. Seuss Goes To War”, which is an absolutely fascinating glimpse at the whole discussion as it was happening…with pictures by Doctor Seuss, no less.

Said cartoons are also collected on-line.

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jackd–The guy interviewed in Reds you were talking about (the one who discussed the enormous amount of “fucking” going on back in the 1930s) was the novelist Henry Miller, filmed about a year before he died.

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The tea partiers would spork themselves over this, I am praying right now to Social Justice Jesus for it to happen.

Re: Captain America swearing, speaking as someone who sincerely loves swearing, Captain America doesn’t need to start swearing.

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LightlyFrosted said on May 2nd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I think the desire to have a Cap with a bit of salt in him is more of a ‘Captain America isn’t some ultra-conservative prude’. He’s familiar with what one might call the common parlance, and I could still see the scene described happening because.. well, while Cap doesn’t need to swear all the time, it’s good to remind people every now and again that he’s not incapable of doing so, nor probably all that shocked or offended when others do so, unless of course they’re using expletives to address something which he would prefer they not use expletives to address.

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neuronin said on May 2nd, 2010 at 8:29 pm

First, It’s Superman! was a huge disappointment. Second, this is a good idea. I’d call it “Constitution: The Life of Captain America.”

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Christian said on May 2nd, 2010 at 10:08 pm

This would rock, and I would read it.
Moving to Australia I’ve found that some Labour politicians were Communists, and nobody makes a huge deal out of it… weird

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fsherman said on May 3rd, 2010 at 7:53 pm

One of the reasons Brubaker’s Cap gave for Bucky being so dangerous was that he snuck around doing the dirty stuff Cap, the Symbol of America, couldn’t be seen doing.

David Brinkley’s Washington Goes To War gives a long list of the reasons various isolationists opposed the war: They liked Hitler; they liked Hitler’s pro-business policies; they hated Jews; they hated FDR (he wanted war, therefore they opposed it); they hated England (some American Irish were quite open that Hitler bombing England to bits suited them fine); plus the reason usually given that they were burned out and cynical after WWI failed to end all wars.

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on May 3rd, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I don’t see anything wrong with the idea of Cap swearing. I swear like a sailor, but I don’t do it at work or when I’m around impressionable minds. Cap should work the same way, but slightly more muted.

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A bit late to the conversation, but I would definitely read this, as a comic or as a novel. It reminds me vaguely of something I can’t quite recall — maybe something Walter Jon Williams wrote in the Wild Cards series of stories? It has always struck me that in the era of pre-WWII “mystery men” there must have been some with decidedly leftist leanings. If not actual Communist Party members, then union organizers, Catholic workers movement activists, something!

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Sunflare2k5 said on May 10th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

You mean you’d do a story where Captain America was treated as a real three-dimensional person, instead of an old guard-dog that needs to be put to sleep cause it doesn’t like the same things as the young pups?

Marvel would never buy it. 🙁

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Chris Durnell said on May 10th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Completely wrong. Offensively so, in fact (which I think was what MGK intended to provoke as a reaction). A strong case can be made that Steve Rogers and his family were New Deal liberals, but almost certainly they were not Communists.

MGK is conveniently getting his timeline wrong as well as Steve Rogers’ motivation. The important fact is that from August 24, 1939 to June 21, 1941 being Communist meant you were pro-Hitler because Stalin and Hitler were de facto allies through the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

During the period of the Pact, Communists were very much against the US entering any war. They claimed Churchill was an imperialist warmonger. Dalton Trumbo published Johnny Get Your Gun (which he quickly pulled once the Nazis invaded the USSR). And all the Communist front organizations were pacifist because that’s what their master, Stalin, wanted.

There is no evidence that Steve Rogers was a red diaper baby who towed Stalin’s line and denounced Churchill. Instead, we see quite clearly a long standing principled opposition to Nazism.

The US began expanding its armed forces after the Fall of France in May 1940. The most likely back story is that sometime between that and Hitler’s invasion of the Balkans (In Spring 1941) is when Steve Rogers attempted to enlist. During that time, no Communist or Communist sympathizer would have wanted to fight the Nazis. Instead, Communists were more likely to have been protesting people attempting to enlist.

The earliest a Communist inspired person would enlist in the Soviet Union would be June 22, 1941. That leaves only 5 months for Rogers to try to enlist, be rejected, be recruited for Project: Rebirth, pass any tests required, be subjected to the experiment, extensively trained during Project: Super Soldier, be given the code name and costume of Captain America, and have his first adventures. That is a lot to happen in 5 months.

The simple fact that Steve Rogers was a 1940s liberal does not mean he had to be Communist or inspired by Communists. There were plenty of people opposed to racism in the US that were not Communists. In fact, if you were very opposed to racism, you were more likely to be Republican in 1940 than a Democrat. Of course, if Steve Rogers were a Republican, he’d more likely to have been an isolationist so it makes more sense he was a New Deal liberal (but who knows, maybe he voted for Wilkie instead of Taft).

Furthermore, his background in previous stories clearly put Cap into the general mode of Americanism of the times. His inspirations were Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln not Marx, Engles, and Lenin. If anything, the obvious lack of principles by Communists (having changed their position on Nazis based exclusively on the instructions given by Moscow) would likely offend such a principled person as Steve. Does anyone honestly see Steve Rogers supporting the USSR’s invasions of the Baltic States and Finland in 1939-40?

So what would Cap’s position be on Communists? Well, while I have no doubt he’d admire the bravery of the Ivans of the Red Army, I’m pretty sure he would hate Stalin’s tyranny and not be fooled by their propaganda. He’d probably hope that things would change after WWII, but not be a fool about it. So I’ think he’d be more likely to vote for Truman than Wallace in 1948.

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Jason Barnett said on May 14th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Chris- MGK and Seavy are different people. It’s possible to agree with a philosophy somewhat without approving of what people do in the name of that. And they’re talking about Cap’s early years. Say the mid-20’s when his father likely died through the great depression.

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[…] the most compelling literary characters I’ve ever read – it sure would be interesting to learn what kind of life creates a person of such conviction – and it was like having a wish half-granted to learn that Ed Brubaker would be writing more […]

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[…] the Captain America movie opens, the Mighty God King blog speculates on Steve Rogers’ Depression-era communist upbringing. Underneath that jingoistic […]

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