Sunday, March 11, 2007

Monday Mourning for Captain America

I'm sure the whole Internet has been on the edge of it's seat waiting for the Again With the Comics take on the death of Captain America, so here we go: I'm all for it. I've got nothing against Captain America, of course, but it's a given that he'll be back eventually. Railing against death in comics is pointless by now, as is complaining about the 97% resurrection rate. You know Cap's not gonna go out like a gut-shot chump, leaving the Red Skull victorious.

When I'm reading my comics, I just want a well-told story, and so far, this looks like a good one. I've liked Ed Brubaker's writing since the days he was self-publishing Lowlife. Since then, he's written for both DC and Marvel and he's done some great work at both houses. Brubaker's currently writing Captain America, and he's been doing a great job, combining old-school storytelling conventions with a moodier modern sensibility. Apparently this death of tale was Brubaker's idea, and something he was more-or-less working toward when Civil War came along. While exploring the fallout of Civil War, Brubaker opted for the death story, rather than a "Cap hits the Road to Discover America" tale or a prison stay, a subject he'd just written in Daredevil. As long as this stuff is decided by the creative team and is story-driven, I'm fine with it.

The media and speculator frenzy over Captain America #25 has been a hoot, proving that nobody learned anything from the Death of Superman frenzy of 1993. People are acting like Marvel orchestrated the whole thing and retailers dropped the ball by not ordering enough copies. I say Marvel got very lucky. The media firestorm last Wednesday was sheer good fortune for them; the perfect storm of (Slow News Day)+(Easily Digested Pop-Culture Headline)+(Potential Money to be Had). If there had been a terrorist scare, if Britney had been caught in a donkey show, or if the Anna Nicole Smith zombie had finally attacked (as we all know she will), comic fans would have been the only ones aware of Cap's death. There's no way to predict that set of circumstances, so of course retailers didn't order tons of copies. If retailers over-ordered every time Marvel told them to, they'd be sitting on warehouses of untold stock. Er, more so than usual, that is. At least this time the media blitz happened when the comic was available, rather than three months prior (ref. Captain America: the Truth, Rawhide Kid).

Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Captain America, and presumably Steve Rogers. Long live Cap!

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