Tempest in a teacup? or…a tea bag? The first we got wind of this was a story on the right-leaning Newsbusters site protesting the portrayal of the Tea Party movement in the latest issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA penned by Ed Brubaker. Sounds simple enough since Brubaker is not shy about airing his liberal views. But it is not so simple.
Fox News got wind of the story, and it turns out, explicitly ID’ing the Tea Party movement was not Brubaker’s intention — although the ID came only in the form of a protester’s sign based on a real Tea Party sign.
Ed Brubaker, who wrote the story, told FoxNews.com he did not write the “Tea Bag The Libs Before They Tea Bag YOU!” sign shown in the edition, insisting that the words were added by someone in “lettering or production” just before being shipped to the printer. It will be changed in subsequent editions, he said.
“I don’t know who did it, probably someone who thought it was funny,” Brubaker wrote in an e-mail. “I didn’t think so, personally. That’s the sign being changed to something more generic for the trade reprint, because I and my editor were both shocked to see it.”
But the change may come too late to placate a chorus of critics who noticed the apparent jab at the Tea Party movement and who accused Marvel of making supervillains out of patriotic Americans.
More information emerged in this morning’s Cup o’Joe interview with Marvel E-i-C Joe Quesada who states:
There was zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration. Ed simply wrote in an anti-tax protest into his story to show one of the moods that currently exists in America. There was no thought that it represented a particular group.
According to Quesada, it was a production problem — the editor noticed some signs were blank and asked the letterer to put some words in, and the letterer googled some actual Tea Party signs, and added them in. However, the offending panel will be removed from future reprints.
The Fox News story went on to examine Brubaker’s public utterances:
He said he wrote the script “four or five” months ago, which was shortly before he posted critical messages on his Twitter account regarding former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former President George W. Bush.
“Memo to Bachman and the rest of the tea crowd — We had a revolution already, it’s called an election,” Brubaker tweeted on Nov. 5.
Nine days later, he wrote: “What did we learn this week? That Sarah Palin is a lying idiot. Hey, welcome to 2008 again.”
But Brubaker was adamant that he did not intend to imply that the group of protesters in the comic book were Tea Partiers.
“I was simply using them to show the mood in the country in various places outside Captain America and the Falcon’s usual home, New York City,” he wrote. “It’s very similar to other things we’ve done in the comic, showing leftwing protest crowds back during the election season in 2008.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.