Captain America, Manga, And Rubber Ears/ Post No. 109

(Before I begin, I want to mention that this is post #109, which somehow has become kind of a lucky number for me. So excuse the length of the rant below…)

I was reading an article about Marvel comics in Fortune magazine the other day, and it stated that Marvel is currently working on movies based on “characters not as easily recognized by today’s kids” as X-Men and Spider-Man. Two of the examples they list is Thor and Captain America.

OK, I can understand Thor maybe, but CAPTAIN FRIGGIN’ AMERICA!! ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!

The guys a legend, an icon, a symbol for all that’s still good and right in America, and it’s potential to be great. He just DIED not long ago, for Pete’s sake! You little bastards don’t know Captain America?!Gosh!!

Okay, I’m calming down from a Nerdy Freak-Out, but still, isn’t that bizarre? I don’t know why they wouldn’t know him.

Actually, I have a few suspicions as to why. First I blame Marvel, and how they keep rebooting their characters every few years it seems. C’mon, guys: legends aren’t made overnight, if you’re going to do this, at least give it some time for something to take root, instead of starting again from scratch if it fails to generate your targeted revenue. Of course, I have a feeling that Marvel cares less about making and keeping legendary heroes than they care about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. (Subtle, no?)

The second reason is manga (or Japanese comics)and anime (Japanese animation), which came big-eyed and screaming, with speed lines all around it, to take kids away from American comics. Now, don’t get me wrong: some manga is really good stuff. I like “Ghost In The Shell” (both the manga and the original anime movie) and “Baoh”, and I really get a kick out of “Golgo 13”, one of the coolest assassin characters ever. But now that I’m an adult, I find most of it an insipid, vacuous mess.

And today’s kids eat it with a friggin’ spoon. At a bookstore the other night, I was floored: for 12 feet of Western comics (as in American and European), there was… get ready… 24 feet of Japanese manga… twice the amount reserved for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and other companies’ comics AND graphic novels. I remember when you had to go to specialty stores or through catalogs to get Japanese comics; now, they’re crowding out our homegrown stuff at an alarming rate. Marvel tried to keep up with this trend a few years ago (remember their manga versions of Spidey and Iron Man? Ugh.) and it failed.

I guess the unfortunate key to all this ignorance is movies: with the exception of the Harry Potter books (which benefit from films in their own way, true), kids don’t want to read, and that includes comics. Comic characters spike in popularity after a hit film (like pirates… before the “Carribean” movies, when was the last time you saw a kid play pirate?). I guess the key to reminding the world about Captain America would be to make a kickass film about him… a tricky situation, given the current state of the world and our place in it. Maybe set it in “the good fight”: WWII. Maybe set it against fictional villains. Maybe this time, don’t put rubber ears on his costume.

Here's to you, Cap...

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Published in: on July 19, 2007 at 12:30 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You gotta problem wit rubber ears, bub?)

    As far as Manga goes, it’s all my young niece draws and it’s a bit of a mystery to me as well. Of course, the sheer variety in manga probably is attractive….I mean Marvel and DC just keep writing about the same characters, which is probably a strong point for them…..kid’s attention has just shifted the other way.
    For me, I don’t worry too much, as I don’t read much of the mainline comics. I’m reeeeally picky about the art in a book, and since there’s so much mediocre art out there….I’ve passed up some books that I’m sure had great stories but without the eye-candy, it leaves me cold.

    Hey…happy 109!!

    -Dave

  2. Thanks for the Happy 109, Dave!

    I agree, the allure of manga is the unusual. I think I’m getting old, is all. Old and cranky.

    “Damn kids don’t know a good funny-paper when they see one…” (totters off to his bridge game)

  3. New manga/anime sucks.
    Everyone has the same facial expressions, poses and the like.

    Back in the 80s Macross was far different than Ranma 1/2. Lupin III was different than Fist of the North Star.

    BUT there is hope. The Highlander anime is pretty cool. GREAT scene of Colin Macleod about to fight his rival (a Roman warlord) on the wing of a Messerschmidt (I think) during WW2

    SEE SEE!!! BEHOLD THE JUICY, GOOEY, CRUNCHY GOODNESS THAT IS PULP!!!!

    I tried extracting that scene out for you but Windows Movie Maker didn’t have the codec.

    Want the torrent?


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