We were here just a couple of weeks ago. Marvel decided not to run an essay from living comic legend Art Spiegelman because it criticized President Trump (Note—you don’t get ART SPIEGELMAN to write an essay for you and then decide not to use it). Now it’s prolific comic writer, and one of their current writers getting his essay axed: Mark Waid (currently writing Doctor Strange for Marvel Comics). And it’s for the same reason. Waid dared to criticize America and say that it isn’t perfect.
How Mark Waid Originally Wrote his Marvel Essay
The Way Cap has always felt about fighting bigotry. (Marvel Comics)
His essay tied into the first Captain America movie serial in 1944. In the essay, Waid writers:
“The system isn’t just. We’ve treated some of our own abominably. Worse, we’ve perpetuated the myth that any American can become anything, can achieve anything, through sheer force of will. And that’s not always true. This isn’t the land of opportunity for everyone. The American ideals aren’t always shared fairly. Yet without them, we have nothing.”
But he gets even more critical, describing a broken system:
“America’s systems are flawed, but they’re our only mechanism with which to remedy inequality on a meaningful scale. Yes, it’s hard and bloody work. But history has shown us that we can, bit by bit, right that system when enough of us get angry. When enough of us take to the streets and force those in power to listen. When enough of us call for revolution and say, ‘Injustice will not stand.’”
It’s a rallying cry, and a good one. Now it’s a bit watered down.
How Marvel Edited the Essay
Only in an altered reality would Cap not be a “social justice warrior” (Marvel Comics)
The earlier version screamed the ideology of Captain America. Now it screams more like an after school special:
“It’s a commitment to fight every day for justice, for acceptance and equality, and for the rights of everyone in this nation. At its best, this is a good country filled with people who recognize that those — not hatred, not bigotry, not exclusion — are the values of true patriotism.”
So much for fighting in the streets for justice, like Cap would. Maybe this change could have been okay if Marvel didn’t just cut another essay for its harsh political critique of the current President of the United States and his effect on the country. It is worth noting that one of the top executives on the Marvel Entertainment Board, Ike Permutter, is a staunch supporter of the president. He’s donated $360,000 to his reelection campaign. While it’s unclear if the edit directive came from him, the appearance alone is enough cause for alarm.
(Featured Image: Captain America #25 (2007), Marvel Comics)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.