There is a pretty interesting piece over at Birth Movies Death about the death of pop culture fandom. Author Devin Faraci makes some excellent points about the consumers attempting to take control of the creative process by heaping giant piles of hate (via social media) on writers, artists, filmmakers, etc.
Recently, there was a twist in the newest Captain America comic that sets up Steve Rogers as not only a Hydra agent, but a secret one for almost his entire life. We have no idea what the arc of this story is or where it is going, but fandom has decided that the writer is a nazi and that he has undone 60 years of what has made Captain America great. It's a bold and controversial character choice to be sure, but isn't that what we want from comic books nowadays? An actual attempt at a story comic collectors haven't seen before?
What I found the most interesting was that writer Nick Spencer and Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort have started receiving death threats over the matter. Over stories being told about fictional comic book characters. Here's one Brevoort received via Tumblr:
Spelling errors kept in:
"As a Former Active Duty US Marine and a Disabled Veteran, I want you to know that when I joined the Marines back in 95’ I did so under a strict Code of Ethics. Truth, Honor and Justice. This Code was inspired by Steve Rogers. I knew I could never be the person he was, I just wasn’t mentally built for it, but it gave me something to strive for. Yes, the Character of Steve Rogers AKA Captain America is a fictional one, but it is also one that emboydies what the Idea Human Being, not just American should strive to be. Steve Rogers never claimed to be perfect, but he tried his best every day to do the right thing no matter what.
For the last 21 years I have modeled my own Moral Code after the belief that I would NEVER tell a Lie, No matter the consequences. There is no such thing as “a little white lie”. My Honesty, and My Honor was everything to me. It kept me from becoming the Monster that I could have easily become. Thanks to your idiocy and disregard for what an American Symbol stood for, you have made it “OK” to disregard those Ideals. It apperantly is ok to Lie, Cheat, Steal and Murder, because Fuck It, who cares right? Steve Rogers aka Captain American has been doing it for 75 YEARS.
Fine, congradulations, you have made the last 21 years of my life and the Code I lived by, the hardships I endured because I refused to sacrifice that Code MEANINGLESS. You have disgraced what Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had the character stand for. The whole point of that Character was to showcase the potential of what human beings could be. Dispite the Odds stacked against them.
So, thanks to you two I will be throwing away my Moral Code, and become The Monster, that people feared I might become, that I myself feared I would become. I will use every resource at my disposal, every avenue that I can to locate and track you down. I WILL find you eventually, and I WILL kill you in the most painful way possible that I can think of. The ONLY way to stop me is to have me killed. But hey, that should be a walk in the park for you right? I mean I am just one disgruntled Marine, what is one more life compared to the MILLIONS of LIVES you just dismissed by making Captain America a Hydra Agent ALL ALONG. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING you say will erase what you have done, HYDRA was ALWAYS SYNOMOUS with NAZIS. You CANNOT seperate the two. So enjoy your “Fame” while you are able to still draw breath. It’s just a matter of time before I find you."
This could be a serious threat or someone who has taken trolling to an entirely new level. Regardless, this is a staggering amount of care and effort taken to make someone afraid for their lives over a creative choice they are making. When did loving something so fiercely that it made you feel part of a tribe become knuckle popping anger about not liking how another kid is playing with your toys?
The point of this isn't just to say "Why can't we all just get along," but to just shed some light on the fact that pop culture creations do not make us who we are. Defining ourselves by the things we like can sometimes be fun, but when threatening lives and contemplating murder become an offshoot of fandom, we're missing the forest for the trees (or just burning the entire forest down to spite it).
Watching movies in the theater have definitely proved to me that common courtesy is a dead language, but there's still a chance to save decency. Sure, be upset about how your favorite comic character is being treated, but guess what? This is comic books. After one writer does a 6-12 issue arc, someone else comes on and changes everything altogether. If you don't like the weather, wait for it to change. Don't try to murder the clouds because of the rain drops.