We continue our special editions of Hard NOC Life recorded exclusively from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo. Today’s one-on-one conversation features Sikh Captain America himself, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh.
Who would the 75 year old quintessential American superhero vote for in the 2016 Presidential election today? For starters, Captain America does not exist. But although he might be fictional his mythology is palpable. Its ethereal connection to us Americans has a physical manifestation.
Trust me. I know. I get to don the uniform of this character armed with my turban and beard. I have traveled from Maine to California to Mississippi to Michigan to the RNC convention in Cleveland engaging fellow Americans from all walks of life.
This uniform has allowed for conversations to start in the midst of fear and ambivalence. It has allowed for common bonds to emerge despite our perceived and real differences
So recently Marvel released Captain America: Steve Rogers. At the conclusion of the comic, Rogers reveals he’s a double agent and utters two magic words that would become the shots fired around the world:
Captain America has been revealed to be a HYDRA agent all along and doesn’t this emphasize everything wrong with superhero comics today?
When The Outhousers released the spoilers for Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 the night before its release last week, fans clamored to discredit the website citing it as “unreliable,” “the comic version of The Onion,” and “satire” in an effort to brush aside the original spoiler panel of Steve in full Captain American uniform saying, “Hail HYDRA.” Understandable, this is a huge retcon of Steve Roger’s overall character and the name of Captain America. A legacy of a name built up over 75 years — in fact, Captain America just celebrated his 75th anniversary recently — and fans feel rightly protective.
The Doctor Strange controversy — combined with the push to cast an Asian American actor as the title character Danny Rand aka Iron Fist — has been buzzing for the last couple months. With the release of the first official trailer for Doctor Strange, Marvel’s next would-be blockbuster movie after Captain America: Civil War, the controversy has reached an all time high. So much so that a Marvel spokesperson gave this statement to Mashable regarding the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange:
Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.
Is this statement true though? Has Marvel Studios really pushed diversity in their movies? Have they increased the visibility of marginalized peoples in their film franchise or television properties? Has Marvel Studios subverted stereotypes? Enough to supposedly excuse recent controversies surrounding Doctor Strange and Iron Fist?
If the first two Captain America films are any indication, I’ve learned not to watch them with any expectations good or bad. Like most of the Marvel Phase One films, I found First Avenger to be a yawn and filler for the payoff that was the first Avengers movie. Winter Soldier blindsided me and years later I’m still trying to process how amazing that film is.
As much as I love Winter Soldier (it along with Avengers and Age of Ultron rank as my favorite Marvel flicks), and even though I knew I would finally get the Black Panther in this film, I still watched with no expectation.
Last night on a special all-Marvel edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live (corporate synergy, yay!), stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were on to hype next summer’s Captain America: Civil War. Unsurprisingly, Disney and Marvel Studios used the opportunity to unveil the hotly anticipated first trailer, and predictably, the internet lost its shit. But in a good way!
Originally posted on Black Nerd Problems
I want you to imagine superheroes exist. Put an image in your head. What they would look like, what they would wear, what their powers would be. Are you there? Did you envision Superman flying, maybe Cyclops’ lasers? Did you imagine Flash’s speed or Oracle’s intelligence? I can’t blame you if you did, because that’s where we go when we envision the “super” in super-powered. But for those that went a little simpler in their criteria, they might’ve imagined a skilled tactician whose powers are superior strength, speed, intelligence, and healing compared to that of the average human, whose government-sanctioned enhancements came from a secret program decades in the past.
Not 1940, but 1984… because LeBron James is Captain America.
Originally posted on WilliamBruceWest.com
This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I’d actually never been to the show in previous years, though I was aware of it. I kinda hated the name, plus I felt like Baltimore and New York Comic-Con were superior to it, so I spent my time and money going to them instead. This year, however, I’m going to be missing both of those shows due to weddings, so I figured it was time to see what Awesome Con was all about. My verdict? It’s a pretty good show.
Marvel Studios has just announced it is starting production on Captain America: Civil War, the first installment of “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filming is currently commencing in Atlanta, but the production will span the globe with filming to take place in Germany, Puerto Rico, and Iceland. Since it’s also the third film in the Captain America saga — with the Russo brothers returning to direct — you would think that the film would be following up on the events of The Winter Soldier. However, the official plot synopsis and cast list make it sound more like Avengers 2.5.
This is not a complaint by the way.