So, Captain America is actually – and has been all along – a Hydra agent. WTF.
After picking my jaw up off the floor, I began to get really steamed about the reveal. Not because it’s a bad story choice or a giant ‘oh my gosh’ moment – but because – as James Whittbrook points out – it’s a gimmick.
I shouldn’t be shocked, I shouldn’t be upset. But I keep running into this kind of thing, (that thing being “You want new? Try THIS!”) and the reaction that follows. Maybe it’s because of personal circumstances where I’ve been forced over the last decade or so to divest myself of much of the stuff I used to own or because of present economics circumstances I’m just not purchasing or consuming products and items as I did when I was younger.
And yeah, I posted something on my Instagram today about ’embracing change” – but what I’m spending way too much energy and words on right now isn’t about change. It’s about the glut of ‘the new’.
As we continue on at our blistering pace through the seemingly unlimited content of the world wide web, our human peccadillo of wanting more and obsessing over the new has reached an almost laughable state of ridiculousness… to the point where somethings we took as tide and true, are being revamped and re-imagined to their detriment.
You can do your own research on the psychological and societal workings of why we market and consume goods and services… to do so in this little blog post would take up more time than you would want to read.
We’ve been raised in a culture that expects the “New”. We even project it into our visions of dystopian futures – Mad Max: Fury Road? “Shiny and Chrome?”
It’s a concept as old as society, that new is better. Even images of our supposed ‘afterlife’ are painted in images and words as a place that is ‘clean’, ‘bright’, ‘untarnished’.
Because, “New” is better.
Getting back to Cap. When the Marvel Civil War comics came out I will admit I was intrigued, but at the same time, thought it was a cheap and desperate grab at getting fans to buy comics.
And I understand that. The economics and keeping writers and artists employed, the money aspect of keeping a business afloat is entrenched in the need to produce new content.
So many of us creatives and artists wrack our brains and talent day in and day out trying to come up with content. To put stuff out in the world because we need to in order to feel fulfilled but also because we want to entertain and if we’re lucky also gain some compensation for it… and that’s what feels so soulless about this “shocker” concerning Cap.
There’s the part of me that really could give two shits. That’s the part of me that looks at the comics wall at a comic book store and understanding that, well, they gotta get your attention somehow.
Then there’s the part of me that just grinds his teeth at the idea of someone – just as creative as me (if not moreso) and under the gun to produce – makes the decision to make Cap a tool of the very agency he’s been fighting for decades.
You know, for reasons.
They’re perfectly logical reasons, I get that. I just don’t agree with them.
Let’s talk a little bit about apprenticeship. Trust me, it ties in.
Way back in the history of our society we had the concept of apprenticeship – where someone would take years to learn a trade or a craft. The purpose of apprenticeship was not only to teach someone a profession – but to also imbue them with a sense of purpose, appreciation and understanding. That a products worth, or a person’s worth as a tradesman, craftsman or artist was enhanced or valued because of the time and effort that went into their education or its making.
With the rise in population and the advancements of the Industrial Revolution – apprenticeships began to fall away and the gap between a fledgling artist and a Master, to almost disappear entirely.
Now – I’m not telling you that people today don’t work at their craft or that there aren’t good things being produce by people that do not have training or schooling or who haven’t spent 30 years studying and perfecting a technique or craft… what I am saying is the tradition and the appreciation that is gained by an apprenticeship is missing from the consumerist notion of ‘new is better’.
As consumers, we are bored and tired of the tried and true. You wanna know what I think is the greatest threat to the human condition? Boredom.
When you are bored… shit happens. Mistakes happen.
You could argue that a lot of good things are created out of boredom too… there’s always two sides to every issue or opinion. But what I’m asking here is, is the rabid hunger for the “new” truly innovative or is it equally destructive?
Take for example the innovations or “new” take on Batman and Superman in the DCU – the camps are divided on whether or not its value is good or even needed. Marvel has made it’s missteps too, lest you think I’m being a bit biased. Civil War (the comics) for example.
And when you consider that its all driven by $, then the reasoning behind the changes or the audience hunger or the ultimatums of a CEO … then its something to be a bit sad about, and also a bit bit “eh, so what.” about.
Somebody somewhere will buy it, and the cycle will continue. I keep looking through my internet search history for a movie review video I saw the other day that I wanted to reference to illustrate this point, and if I do come across it again I’ll update the post with it – but the gist of it comes down to the reviewer disliking a film because they “wanted something new”.
I’m not saying ‘new’ is bad. For example – I think V for Vendetta the movie, relates the story and concepts therein better than the graphic novel.
I too enjoy being surprised and delighted upon discovering something, seeing something for the first time, being wowed by special effects and so forth and so on…
And really, when it comes down to it, this little blog post prompted by an ugly gimmick in a comic book is just so much wasted wind. My railing against an insatiable consumer market will be lost to the ether the moment after I hit the ‘publish’ button.
I trust the comics will work out the story and plot to reveal that Cap is still Cap, because in the soap opera world of comics, its just another day at the office.
Tomorrow is another day, and we’ve got to feed the Beast.