Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Death of Captain America

Sigh... we'll get to Cap in a moment, but first, we have to go through some Idol stuff... here I was, just home from work, already kissed my wife and chatted with her for a moment before she goes to sleep (she even looks ravishing with no makeup on and in her pjs... how frackin' lucky am I, huh?) and came into the other room to pop in the recorded tape and watch Idol.

First, I check my email... one from my buddy Ty, there's an ongoing email about Attacktix that is totally out of control, and hey, a blog comment from my buddy
NYC Jenni. For those of you who don't know, 99% of the time the posting I write here on blogspot also gets posted on my MySpace page, so I usually have two different audiences reading the same blog (several thousand page views combined, thank you very much... I'm not a Rammer Jammer blog, but hey, its a start).

I click on the link to read the
comment that NYC Jenni left and, in big print, I read "NO NO NO NO NO! They just voted off our girl Sabrina??!!?? America sucks". Whilte its not uncommon to hear liberals say "America sucks", did she have to tell me about Sabrina? Sigh. I guess we'll still watch it now... of course, my worst fear is that Sabrina has been Barbaized...

The mandatory reviews of the guys and girls... for the record,it was Rare Earth who sang "I Just Want to Celebrate", it was 311 who sang "All Mixed Up" and Chris Sligh was, in fact, covering a dcTalk song. Oh, and even Michael Slezak on
EW had trouble remembering who Haley Scarneto was, so I don't feel bad at all.

As the show starts, knowing this is coming is like knowing you have to go to work tomorrow with someone you really don't like, or knowing that you have an uncomfortable exam coming up... or maybe a part you don't like in a movie you do, a scene that makes you cringe (I am thinking of the scene when Mr. Holland almost leaves his wife for Rowena... I hate hate hate that whole plot)

Anyway, Blake and Lakisha are safe and in the Top 12. All together now... duhhh.....

Here comes Chris Sligh. America voted... and he is safe. Jordin Sparks... and she's in the Top 12 as well.

Here comes Phil Stacey... he feels nervous--and should with that stupid hat. And he's in the Top 12 as well (and looks amazed that he is). Here comes Jared... I'm guessing his journey ends here. And I was right! When Ryan asks him if he is surprised, he responds "very". I wonder what he would have said if Ryan had asked I'm if he expected to move on, like Ryan asked Chris (who wisely replied, "to keep from looking foolish,I'm going to say 'hopefully'")

Melinda Doolittle (I like the nickname Mindy Doo) and Brandon Rogers come up. Both are former backup singers, and both are now up-front singers, both in the Top 12.

Here comes Chris Richardson and Gina Glocksen... both in the Top 12! This is good, this is good... if I didn't know the upcoming bad news, I'd be really excited. Darn you, NYC Jenni! Darn you!

Now, its a recap of Carrie Underwood's journey from wannabe to Idol, and honestly, she deserves it... "Some Hearts" is a really, really good record. Yes, yes, "Jesus Take the Wheel" is a little schlocky after hearing it a few thousand times on the radio, but "Before He Cheats" is just darn clever, and the rest of the CD is really good.

Here comes Antonella and Stephanie. FINALLY!!! Freakin' Antonella is GOING HOME... Stephanie Edwards goes to the Top 12. An-ho-nella is crying a little... and that means...

...wait a minute... Sabrina is left... Haley is left... only one more girl can make it, and we know that Sabrina is going home, so... freakin' Haley Scarneto made it? What the crap???

Here comes Sabrina and Haley... I almost want to cuss. Part of me, deep down inside, wanted NYC Jenni to be totally jockin' on me, and would be laughing at me when I found out Sabrina made it, but no... Haley is in. Oh, and the proper name of this song is "Don't Let Go (love)", not "Hold On" as I gave it to you yesterday. It came out in the fall of 1996, my senior year in college. Or, at least, my first senior year (I graduated a two-year senior, mind you).

And now, finally, Punjab and Sundance, with one spot left. Personally, I like Sundance better. I think Punjab might have a better voice, but over the last few weeks, he's sucked wind totally. I mean, heck, someone has to be voted out of the Top 12 first--wait, that will be Haley... okay, someone has to be voted out of the Top 11, so why not Sundance?

And Sundance goes home... Punjab moves on to the Top 12. I have a feeling he might become the John Stevens/Anthony Federov of this year's American Idol... Paula says "I don't understand... this is a singing competition" and Simon retorts "the volume was turned down at home" with a look of "what-the-heck-are-these-stupid-americans-thinking" on his face...

So there's your Top 12. Last year, my Fave Four was Daughtry, Pickles, My Girl McPhee and Taylor, all of which did really well... so this year, I'm officially putting my full support behind Mindy Doo, Jordin Sparks, Chris Sligh and Gina Glocksen.

Okay... now to the real story...

Captain America died on Wednesday. Gunned down as he climbed the courthouse steps in custody.

Let's stop right here and say that anyone who just had the thought "What? He's grieving over a comic book character? What a moron!", you can stop reading right here. You done judging?

A Few Things First
For those of you who aren't comic fans, you would probably be shocked how comics parallel society and politics, especially Marvel. Marvel is the publisher of X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Ironman, Spiderman, Hulk and yes, Captain America... the other publisher, DC Comics, owns Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash and so on...

If you read that last sentence again, you can tell why I merely like DC and love Marvel... DC characters are almost godlike, from other worlds, with powers that are supernatural and... well, other-worldly.

Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider... Spiderman. Matt Murdock was hit by chemicals... Daredevil. Tony Sparks uses a pimped out suit of armor to be Iron Man. Ben Grimm, Reed Richards and Sue & Johnny Storm were hit by cosmic rays, Bruce Banner by gamma rays to become the Fantastic Four and Hulk respectively... it's like they were all normal people until fate handed them their powers... yes, yes, its fantastical and fantasy, but still, Marvel's characters are so much more relatable...

A Little History
As is Steve Rogers, Captain America. Created in 1941 just as the country entered World War II, he was a representative of freedom, victory, and America's strength. The story goes that Steve Rogers was born before the Depression, and wanted to enter the military, but couldn't because he was so small and puny.

So Steve volunteered for a special "weapons" project in which he was given sort of a "super soldier serum". Hence, he became known as "Weapon 1". For comparison, the character of Wolverine is "Weapon X", the 10th in the Weapons program from the military (his mutant powers is healing, the steel skeleton was given to him).

During a mission in 1945, he and his sidekick Bucky were blown out of an exploding plane, with both thrown into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. In the comic world, different men are given the title of Captain America, but in the 70s, they discover Steve Rogers in a block of ice. He is unfrozen, rehabbed and joins, then leads, The Avengers. For the full story, you can read the
Wikipedia page on Cap.

What He Meant Then
He was America. In a time, back in the 40s, when all Americans had to go on was what they heard on a badly receptive radio and those news footage reels we have all seen, Captain American was a take-no-prisoner patriot who went in and issue after issue, kicked Nazi butt every month. Captain America #1, one of the most famous covers of all time, has him punching Hitler right in the face.

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Of course, nowadays, Cap would be charged with assault, as libs would want to understand Hitler, talk to him, find out why he's so angry. Because if we talk to him, then things will be all better. Right?

Marvel Civil War
Like I said, comics change with the time, and when Civil War came about last year, it was just huge. I even listed it as the
#10 Coolest Thing of 2006... bottom line is, Tony Stark (Iron Man) is heading a Superhero Registration Act, which requires all superheroes to register their information and identity to the government to get a "license" as a superhero. This comes as a result of a huge accident in Stamford, CT, where some foolish hero team ends up killing hundreds of civilians.

Captain America goes underground, thinking the whole thing is wrong, an invasion of his freedom and his privacy, and takes with him half the Marvel Universe... the other half stays with Iron Man. Sue and Reed Richards are on the verge of a divorce, and the Fantastic Four is shattered... Peter Parker has already revealed his identity to support Tony Stark (and later regrets it, joining Captain America--and ends up facing off against Iron Man as well) only to have Aunt May gunned down by Kingpin in retaliation for all the trouble he's caused... and then there's Steve Rogers...

In Issue 7, a huge battle ensues in NYC between all the heroes, including Captain America vs. Iron Man, and Cap is kicking the begeezus out of him... when an angry mob of people come and attack Cap, holding him down... he then realizes what he, and his followers, have been doing, and it suddenly dawns on him that this fight is not worth the cost. Good guys taking on good guys, no one wins.

Its also this moment that the reader realizes that Captain America represents an America which is in danger of dying... an America that puts freedom and victory above all, an America where fellow citizens will do anything to protect each other, an America which is proud to be the most powerful, most free, most incredible country on Earth.

He turns himself in to authorities, and the story picks up in Captain America #25. He is being led up the courthouse steps when he is taken out by a sniper. He's a super-soldier, but he's not super-human. He can be, and is, killed. And with it, dies the America I just told you about, at least in the comics.

Oh, he'll be back, I'm sure. Some day down the road, Marvel will find a way to resurrect Captain America, be it he wasn't really dead (though he sure as heck looks it) or he was brought to life again by some weird means (this happened to Ben Grimm--The Thing--two years ago in one of the most ridiculous stories I've ever read)... even Colossus came back in a way that I still don't understand...

...but what is dead for good is the idealistic, patriotic, freedom loving Captain America that I loved. Most comic writers are liberals, you can tell by many of the stories, and even lines, that are written... and a new Cap will reflect that.

Its the same way I felt when Jim Henson died, or when Charles Schulz died--no more real Kermit, no more new Charlie Brown... and no more real, new Captain America.

Rest in peace, Cap. Rest in peace.

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