|Cover to Secret Empire #0. Art by Mark Brooks.|
First, a quick recap.
Last summer, comics fandom and the wider media fandom at large was shocked when Captain America, Marvel's staunch defender of liberty uttered the line "Hail Hydra", revealing himself as having been allied with the evil Hydra organization all along-- a group that in the Marvel universe originated with Nazi Germany, the very foes Captain America was supposed to have fought against! It seemed like a crass twist and super inconsistent with the character's real-world origins and legacy. Captain America was created by two Jewish creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. Captain America was born s wish fulfillment, to have an all-American hero punch Hitler and fight Nazis even before the US was involved in World War 2. Nick Spencer, the writer for that arc as well as the ongoing Sam Falcon, Captain America title promised all would be revealed in due time.
"Captain America wasn't brainwashed," Nick Spencer said. He also said that the Cap that declared "Hail Hydra" wasn't an alien body double or a robot duplicate. It was the actual Steve Rogers, the real Captain America had done this. But be patient, Spencer urged. It would all make sense. Recently it was revealed that the pieces of the Cosmic Cube- an artifact powerful enough to rewrite reality itself- had somehow taken the form of Kobi, a small naive child unaware of the reality-altering powers she had within her. Kobi, in turn, influenced by the super-villian Red Skull-- Captain America's longtime Nazi arch-nemesis since World War II. It was the Red Skull who influenced Kobi to give Captain America the memories of being a Hydra sleeper agent. So, see, it wasn't technically brainwashing, right?
That's not the most foolish part. See, as asinine as that revelation was, that gives you the hope that Captain America still had some good in him, right? That even though at this point Captain America has sold out the Earth to invading aliens, allied himself with super powered Nazis and was setting himself up to become dictator for life of the United States, that there was maybe still some good in him somewhere. The Marvel Universe had a glimmer of hope.
With the release of Secret Empire #0 two days ago, Nick Spencer reveals his biggest, most asinine twist yet: The Allies actually lost World War II and used the Cosmic Cube to re-write reality so that the Nazis were defeated and Captain America was the world-saving good guy. In the Marvel Universe, Germany was actually the winner, and always was. Steve Rogers really was an agent for Hydra all along, and those memories added by Red Skull were actually restoring Captain America to his "true self", Spencer ret-conned actual world history to take a symbol of the US created by two Jewish men during World War II and said nope, Captain America was supposed to really be an evil bad guy and it was only a reality-rewrite that made him good.
This is especially egregious tone-deafness because two days ago-- April 19th-- was the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It was the largest Jewish revolt during World War II, and also has the distinction of being the first urban uprising against the Nazis that happened in Nazi-occupied Europe.The Nazis attempted to completely wipe out the Jews living in Warsaw on the eve of Passover. Instead, the Jews held out against occupied forces for nearly a month, using whatever they had on hand to fight back. Their bravery inspired Jews across Europe, including those already in the camps, to organize and revolt.
In fact, that's another odd thing about the whole "Allies used the Cosmic Cube to re-write history so the Nazis would lose instead of win like they were supposed to"-- why didn't the Allies cosmically re-write it so that the Holocaust never happened?
Marvel is doubling down on the doubling down, too, rebranding its websites with Hydra iconography, and even asking brick and mortar comic book shops to have employees wear Hydra t-shirts this month.
Nick Spencer took to twitter with all the class you'd expect:We've also been asked to change our store logos to Hydra symbols. My staff are LGBTQ, Jewish, or both. We are no longer hand-selling Marvel. https://t.co/gQnBfBZC8L— Glamour Toad 🌈🐸🌈 (@NickiColey) April 20, 2017
Then again, for a dude making his living writing super heroes, Nick Spencer doesn't seem to have the greatest grasp of them. Like when he rushed to twitter to give his hot take on Nazis getting punched in public:Haters upon seeing the advance reviews for SECRET EMPIRE 0 pic.twitter.com/lFU0RStBd6— Nick Spencer (@nickspencer) March 23, 2017
Last week, I talked about how Marvel's VP of Sales tried to blame "diversity" for poor comic book sales, and how that assertion is utter bullshit. itch.io user spacetwinks was pretty pissed off about that assertion too, and put together a thorough and damning analysis and response, as described thus:@nickspencer Nick....you just described what a superhero is.— ANTHONY OLIVEIRA (@meakoopa) April 17, 2017
This did not sit well with others, the idea that retailers and Marvel would blame these books for low sales - and it didn't sit well with me, either. So I've hunkered down and put in the hours researching sales data reaching back over a decade in Marvel, and looked for what could possibly be the true culprit in their sales problems.It's offered as a pay what you want download, and is a very insightful read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
"Shut The Fuck Up, Marvel" is a nearly 30k long essay, a spiritual sequel to The Problems With Comics, a deep dive into the true issues with Marvel's economics and business - and how an obsession with short term profit, the constant renumbering and relaunches and events, all compounded by a complete inability to understand basic marketing techniques or outside audiences, has absolutely destroyed the sales stability of many of their former best selling books, all as they condescend to those who criticize them on their stories, or on how they try to sell comics.
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