By now, if you’re a comics fan, or even just spend time on social media, you’ve heard the news. In the first issue of his new series Steve Rogers: Captain America, Nick Spencer revealed, through flashbacks and a doozy of a last page, that Captain America has been a Hydra agent his entire superhero career, effectively retconning 75 years of history.
” … but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself … I’ve seen a lot of people say things like, ‘Oh, it’ll be wrapped up in the arc,’ or ‘Give it six months.’ And I can tell you, that’s not the case. This has real lasting repercussions that are gonna be with us for a while.”– Nick Spencer, writer, Steve Rogers: Captain America #1
“His mission is to further the goals and beliefs of Hydra. If that involves taking down the Marvel universe, sure … it may not be as simple as that. It’s not like he’s exchanged his white hat for a black hat — it’s a green hat.” — Tom Brevoort, Marvel Comics Executive Editor
These quotes from Spencer and Brevoort show that they don’t seem to be backing down from this path that they are on, even with a decent-sized bunch of angry comics fans letting their feelings be known. Angry enough, in fact, to send Spencer death threats for his actions. Predictably, fans went to social media to express to Spencer their sincere wishes for him to die. Twitter was ablaze with angry comments.
“are you telling me that Captain America wants all of my people to die?”
“You’re disgusting for turning a character by Jewish people to be an anti-Nazi symbol into a Nazi. Bravo”
“yeah, no. Considering that the original authors were Jewish men writing against Nazi oppression this makes no sense at all.”
Some Twitter users simply said, “die”
Even Chris Evans got in on the discussion by tweeting “Hydra?!?!” with the hashtag #sayitaintso. As you can see by the numbers, it’s not just a small group who agrees with Evans.
While the number of requests for Spencer to die seem to be relatively small, most of the anger seems to be about the fact that Captain America, created in 1941 by two Jewish cartoonists, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, is now, and apparently always has been, part of an organization rooted in Nazism. Many fans came away disgusted, pledging to never read Marvel comics again, and still others insist that the retcon is a hoax, despite quotes from Spencer to the contrary. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Spencer didn’t seem all the concerned about the vitriol.
“No, I love this stuff,” he said. “I feed off it, it’s totally fine. It’s looking like it’s gonna be a no. 1 trending topic here in a second. I’m the most hated man in America today and Donald Trump is running for president!”
That attitude will come in handy for Spencer in the upcoming months, as he’s not making friends anytime soon. Comic book fans are some of the most passionate fans in geek culture. They don’t accept change lightly, and there had better be good in-story reason for the change. Whether or not our Star Spangled Avenger is indeed a supervillain, a cheesy storyline, or a bad sales gimmick, one thing is clear: Comic book fans are not happy. And since Cap’s conversion appears to be hitting levels of hatred that threaten to overtake that of the hatred for the recent Fantastic Four movie debacle, it’ll be interesting to see what the fallout from this will look like.