“The more I saw the people I believed I was standing up for being walked on – the more I heard a noise machine spouting intolerance and fear, drowning common sense out – the more I wondered – Shouldn’t Captain America be MORE than just a symbol?” – Sam Wilson; Captain America: Sam Wilson #1
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have had the pleasure of not paying attention to either Twitter or Facebook, there seems to have been a year-long controversy surrounding Captain America of late. Not in the MCU, where Chris Evans embodies the noble, and heroic, if not uncompromising vision, that his creators (Joe Simon and Jack Kirby) thought of when crafting the Hitler punching super soldier.
This controversy has been going on in the pages of the Marvel comic itself. Ever since the last page of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1:
I could go through, and show you some of the more disgusting tweets that were thrown at writer Nick Spencer, and editor Tom Brevoort upon the revelation (not to mention any Marvel creative who dare to not tow the same line). But I don’t know that they deserve the attention.
Screw it… Here’s one.
Just for shits and giggles.
But something was bothering me, and it wasn’t the revelation that Cap had been a Hydra agent all along (we will get into the story behind that in a sec). It was the fact that everyone (even some of the folks defending this story decision) were forgetting a very important element in play… Steve Rogers wasn’t the proper Captain America. This guy was:
Who is this?
I shouldn’t have to tell you but I will for space… It’s Sam Wilson.
The fellow whom Steve Rogers bestowed the mantle of Captain America, going so far as to give him the famous shield (which he carries to this day).
I’m not normally the guy to point out white privilege. I believe it exists, and whether or not I have directly benefited from it, doesn’t matter. I’ve been granted passes for the color of my skin. So, when people begin to bitch and moan at writer Nick Spencer because of “Hail Hydra”, I find it curious that they forget that a strong Black man is the guy who currently wields the shield of Captain America. In fact, Nick Spencer’s first story arc is indeed called Not My Captain America. It’s telling… Whether people want to admit it or not. I find it funny that folks are upset about the corruption of Steve Rogers (the symbol) but are ignoring the fact that the current Cap is in fact Sam Wilson.
This is where I take issue with the folks going around on Twitter with the hashtag #SayNoToHydraCap. Symbols are corruptible. I’m sure there are many, many folks who might have a problem with this image.
From the mild studying I’ve done of this (c’mon I went on Wikipedia), the symbol has been dated as far back as 10,000-13,000 B.C. But we in the current day of 2017, we see a symbol associated with The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (i.e., Nazi’s). It was displayed across Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror. We forget that it had prior origins, and that it meant something different to other parts of the world.
Symbols are corruptible.
I can’t speak for Nick Spencer, but when I think about what he is currently doing with Steve Rogers, he is showing us something. And I won’t spell it out in this paragraph, as I have already stated it two times above. Something about what symbols can become.
Let’s break this down real quick.
The Red Skull had the ability, thanks to a sentient cosmic cube named Kobik, to alter Steve Rogers reality and make him a secret agent of Hydra. That’s it. The Red Skull was able to corrupt a symbol. Only this symbol wasn’t Captain America. The symbol was Steve Rogers.
The Cap who fights for the downtrodden, and the weak? The guy we aspire to be? He still exists and is fighting for us.
And we forgot about him.
Sam Wilson still fights for us. To the point that he lost all backing from SHIELD and the U.S. Government. And what has been the response since this happened: We said Not My Captain America.
Through our tearing down of Nick Spencer, and what has happened to Steve Rogers. Through our forgetting that Sam Wilson IS Captain America. We are more focused on what has happened to the white guy, than the fact that the current symbol is still intact, and still exists.
Again. Sam Wilson IS Captain America.
And WE forgot that.