By now I assume pretty much anyone who has ever heard of Captain America has also heard that he has been killed. Big name superheroes die all the time; in the fifteen years since a slow news day made the Death of Superman into a mainstream news phenomenon, the following Big Name Funnybooks Figures have been apparently killed or permanently incapacitated/replaced: Batman, Robin, Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, the Flash, every member of the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Professor Xavier, Magneto, Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, Lex Luthor, the Joker, Doctor Octopus, Galactus, and probably anyone else that anyone has heard of. If you count Marvel's crazy "Onslaught/Heroes Reborn" thing as a 'death', this is Cap's third one since 1994 or so.
I'm not trying to take anything away from Ed Brubaker and the rest of the talented team that has been putting together Captain America's book for the past couple of years; it's been a really good run that has (alongside the groundwork laid in New Avengers and Civil War) made Cap a really compelling character recently. Captain America #25 (available now on eBay for some insane amount of money) is a solid story and pretty accessible on its own. It quickly establishes all the players' relations and feelings about Captain America, and shows them react in short order to his courthouse sniping. I'm personally excited (inasmuch as I am willing to be getting excited about superhero funnybooks on a blog on the internet) about where Brubaker's run on this book is headed. It should be a lot of fun.
At the same time, I worry that when Cap inevitably emerges from beyond the grave, it will somehow be seen as a "betrayal" from any new fans who may wander in on the news of his historic death. I think that most hardened fanboys realize the drill by now, and realize that Brubaker has already managed to resurrect Bucky (dead since 1963) in the pages of Cap, along with fakeout 'deaths' of the Red Skull in Cap and another big fakeout death in his first storyline in Daredevil. This doesn't diminish the stories at all, it's pretty much a genre convention at this point, and Brubaker has handled all of his faux-deaths to this point in his career really effectively. But the doe-eyed optimist in me thinks maybe some of the newly interested people might approach comics with something other than rubbernecking or short-term speculative greed in mind, and the cynic in me says this is the sort of big attention and then deflation that contributed (but by no means created) the horrific crumbling and near-death of the funnybook industry back in the 1990s. All because of a couple of slow news days.
I somehow managed to overlook the spectacular career of Mr. Eng until very recently; apparently he's been getting a lot of attention recently for his Coulteresque column about how he hates black people. To be fair, he seems to hate literally everyone but Asians (and anthropomorphic dragons, which I realize sounds like a racial caricature but is apparently very, very true) and believes that all other peoples of this Earth hate and envy the Asian for their obvious superiority.
What does this have to do with Captain America? Well, guess who used to work for Marvel? That's right, Kenneth Eng! He doesn't have many nice things to say about the whites, blacks, Jews, Italians, homosexuals and women that populate the House of Ideas, and in details physical challenges and protests against their citadel of hate. And let's be honest, what figure at Marvel most effectively embodies their hatred of the Asian Man? Why, the World War II veteran and former Jap Slapper himself! Who is conveniently dead now, just as Eng's profile is on the rise. Well played, Marvel. Well. Played.
(Seriously, Eng was apparently at the New York Comic Con a few weekends ago and took the time out of his busy and superior schedule to harangue Brian K Vaughan for being a racist. I thought maybe BKV had fucked up some culturally sensitive topic in his dealings with Dr. Mann in Y the Last Man or something, but apparently it was just someone who is crazy. Good to know that no White Liberal Guilt for liking the book is neccesary!)
Oh, and I almost forgot, Eng puts forth an even more boneheaded defense of ______ as Art as Mr. Chris Hecker, who is already backpedaling, lest he fall victim to assassination-by-Wii-nunchuck. More on that later.
A new conspiracy theory tomorrow, this one potentially more sincere.