Saturday, March 10, 2007

Death of a Comic Book Superhero

Captain America #25 marks the fate of Captain America after Marvel Comic's epic Civil War event. The icon of patriotism and World War II hero (at least in the comic books), was assassinated in front of a court house where he was supposed to stand trials for actions against the Superhero Registration Act.

Being the icon that
Captain America is, and given the mass appeal he has (ordinary kid transformed to the epitome of human fitness, patriotism and justice), this comic book death has been given quite some real-world media coverage. International news providers CNN and BBC carried the news on their respective websites (here and here) and so did a number of US newspapers. Even our local Malaysian newspaper, The Star, carried the story, but strangely under the Showbiz section (Friday 9th March 2007, W39)

What was also interesting was despite their enthusiasm in reporting the death, both the Star and BBC carried the wrong picture. I don't have a screenshot of the BBC front page at the time of error but I did snag one while looking up the article in that website:

And now for The Star's; the following is a photo I took of the article:

Both pictures are actually the same (BBC's is cropped) and it's Captain America in the picture; the problem here is this is not the Captain America who died in issue 25. This image is of Captain America from Marvel's Ultimate imprint and is a different Captain America altogether. The Ultimate Marvel imprint, as defined by Wikipedia, features reimagined and updated versions of the company's most popular superhero characters, therefore their origins and motives differ to that of their original versions.

I should know better as well because I'm a big fan of the Ultimate Marvel line, especially the comic book series The Ultimates, which features who else but the Ultimate-ized version of Captain America. Comic book purists will also agree that these pictures are in error but given the media attention to Captain America's death, it might do some good to the comic book industry in light of competition from other forms of media such as television, film and especially the Internet.