Tom Brevoort on the Death of Captain America
Tom Brevoort is an Executive Editor at Marvel Comics. He edits a number of titles, including Civil War, New Avengers and, of course, Captain America. He has an excellent blog at Marvel.com that you can find here. His guest spot discusses the reactions to the death of Captain America in Captain America #25. Enjoy!
It’s an interesting time.
As will be shocking to virtually no one, Captain America was killed the other day. By my hand, though there were other fingers on the murder weapon. And while we all knew that Cap’s death would be something of a big deal, none of us anticipated the enormous media attention this story has been getting. For example, In Manhattan, Cap’s death was the headline on the New York Daily News. Not a small blurb, not a “see page eight”, the freakin’ headline! Clearly a slow news day, but also something of a first. (A replica of Cap’s shield, which I inherited from Mark Gruenwald and has sat in my office for the past decade, is going to occupy a permanent place of prominence on the set of the Colbert Report–how cool is that?)
And the reaction’s been as scattered as you could imagine. I’ve heard from all manner of people: guys who haven’t read CAPTAIN AMERICA for twenty years but are dismayed at his demise, guys who read Cap stories to their children, servicemen, readers who enjoyed the story, readers who didn’t, people who didn’t read the story but dislike it in principle, people who read all sorts of political messages into the act–some of them contradictory. Everything you can imagine.
And this points out how powerful and beloved these characters have become as cultural icons, the main ones at least. And no matter what else you think, Cap’s death has mobilized an entire strata of the public to take a second look at our field, much as the DARK TOWER comic book did, much as Spider-Man’s unmasking did. It’s been a good year for raising awareness of our medium and the different kinds of stories you can tell in comic book form. It’s certainly driven a lot more people into comic shops and bookstores looking for the stuff, and that gives us all an excellent opportunity to hook at least some of them, and turn them into regular readers of one variety or another.