By Carter Glace, Staff Writer
Well, I guess that’s what happens when too many people vote third party. Hopefully, we learn that lesson this time 16 years from now.
Cards on the table, I’d hope to cover a really awesome preview I had gotten for Ms. Marvel #13. The premise of the issue is Kamala is using her newfound celebrity status to advocate, going door to door to encourage voters to turn out. Naturally, given the unexpected, terrifying turn Tuesday’s election took, I decided not to finish it. I genuinely questioned if I wanted to come back and continue writing the column. It seemed helplessly small and petty in the grand scheme of things.
But after sitting on it for a few days, I still love this moment and this comic. It love how hopeful it is. I love how empowering it is. I love how simple and super it is. And all of those things are true, regardless of the elections actual results. And what better character for this message than Kamala Kahn. The new Ms.Marvel took up the mantel because growing up, she wanted to be just like Carol Danvers, who to her, looked like a hero. Throughout her early adventures, she realized that there is no right way to look for a hero. That anyone can rise to the occasion and be super. That she, like millions, are powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve their dreams.
What’s interesting is, Marvel has always been fairly political, and often not subtle about it. One of the most fascinating example of this comes from Amazing Spider-Man #91-92 where, following the death of Captain Stacy, a far right politician Sam Bullit began campaigning under an anti-superhero platform. Using Gwen Stacy as a poster child for his agenda and getting an endorsement from J. Jonah Jameson, he ran promising to bring “Law and Order” to New York (which, at that time, would have been an allusion to Richard Nixon’s campaign). Ultimately, Jameson revokes his endorsement after Robbie Robertson — the black editor and chief of The Daily Bugle — did some digging into Bullit’s life and discovered what “Law and Order” really meant. The issue fascinates me because it is not not only topical, and an important reminder that despite naysayers of Marvel’s current progressive styling they have always been on the side of progress, but it’s heartening to see Jameson sacrifice his pet policy (hating Spider-man) for a greater cause.
And in times of trouble, what better hero to turn to than Captain America who, despite his title, is never afraid to stand up to American authority. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, there were multiple times where Steve Rogers would drop the Captain America banner, sometimes by choice when protesting a government decision and when the government took the title away when he refused to take on morally compromising choices. When faced with leadership he can’t trust, Rogers doesn’t simply accept it, he actively protests it. As he once said, “Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right, even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye and say, no. You move.”
I know most of that is probably not solace or comfort, but maybe it can be a reminder that, even in the most despairing of times, there is still a good cause to fight for, even when people expect you to just lay down and accept things the way they are. You still have hope. You just need to pick up the flag and follow your heroes.