Somewhere, Steve Rogers just gave himself eye strain.
USA Today broke the news this morning that Marvel has commissioned a13-foot-tall bronze statue of Captain America, to be unveiled and San Diego Comic-Con this month then paraded around the country before landing in Prospect Park on Aug. 10.
Canonically, there isn’t even a Captain America right now. Everyone watched as Captain America nearly killed Tony Stark with his shield, then left it behind to join his former Russian assassinBFF in the fugitive life. And that “aaw shucks”-sounding quote that will go on the base of the statue — “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn” — rings false now. Steve Rogers has gone from wearing the American flag as his costume to arguing for vigilante justice. Not exactly a vote of confidence in his country.
Not even comics “purists” can claim a better version of the hero. If you heard the chorus of WTFthat went up on the internet last month, it was because Cap has just been revealed as a secret Nazi. If this statue were being created in the Marvel Universe right now, they’d probably opt to shelve it rather than deal with the constant vandalism it would attract.
Granted, Captain America and Steve Rogers aren’t quite equivocal — 17 other characters have taken up the mantle in his 75 years as a superhero. But that quote, combined with the phrase “hometown pride” above the classic Cap shield, does imply it’s a statue of that kid from Brooklyn — who’s as far away from home as he’s ever been.
As Paul Gitter of Marvel told USA Today, Captain America is “the ultimate global icon for freedom, strength and doing the right thing.” We’ll always need a symbol who embodies those values. But right now, it’s not Captain America.