Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Captain America: Civil War” End Credits

Civil War!

Chadwick Boseman leads an all-star cast in Black Panther: Civil War, quite to my delight.

The worldwide phenomenon about two unique individuals from very different worlds — one with his armor and his billions, the other with his enviable muscles and his onetime fervor for The American Way — will rank high among other films in the $300-million U.S. box office club at year’s end. Once again the major studios prove they’re still capable of putting out product that can contemplate serious topics even while reveling in visual dynamics and not shying away from moments of emotional intensity.

No, not the one with the Marthas’ boys in it.

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Happy July 4th from My Favorite Patriotic Marvel Comic Ever

What If? 44!

Except where noted, all art in this entry is by Sal Buscema, Dave Simons, and George Roussos.

Behold the big save-the-day rallying moment from What If? (vol. 1) #44, cover-dated April 1984, which left an indelible impression on me when I was eleven. Three decades later you can take this dramatic splash page totally out of context and pretend it’s symbolic of you as the one true arbiter of What America Is Really All About, Spider-Man and alt-universe Sam Wilson’s army are your friends who agree with you on everything as far as you know, and the other Captain America is everyone whose idea of America is the exact opposite of yours, thus making them evil impostors who must be crushed. With all those Zip-a-Tone layers giving it more lighting depth than any other page in the issue, I have no idea why no one ever turned this into a poster.

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My Heroes Don’t Always Need to Be White Guys

Avengers NOW 2014!

Not nearly enough pundits are complaining about Marvel’s all-new White Power Iron Man.

For those just joining the fray: pictured above are the new incarnations of Thor and Captain America that Marvel Comics will be introducing later this year. A recently depowered Steve Rogers will be passing on the Captain America mantle to a black man, most likely his old partner the Falcon. Meanwhile, the Norse god Thor will be transferred into a female identity under as-yet-unrevealed but probably magical circumstances.

The media thought these developments were so vital to our nation’s integrity that I first heard the news from morning-radio DJs while we were on vacation last week in Minneapolis. If commercial radio thinks it’s big news, then clearly it’s Big News whether I agree or not.

In what may or may not be a similarly themed development, the media was alerted today that Hollywood A-lister Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has reached a deal to star in a film based on a DC Comics character to be named later this week. All hints seem to point toward DC’s Captain Marvel, a.k.a. SHAZAM!, whose skin tone doesn’t match his. Preparing their rebuttal days in advance of the official announcement, comics fans nationwide have rushed to brainstorm their list of nonwhite DC characters that the Rock should be allowed to play. How nice of them to be so vigilant in helping the major publishers keep their cross-media adaptations demographically unmodified. And all without being asked first or getting paid for the job.

It’s my understanding that certain loud, obnoxious parties are up in arms on message boards and social media and such, because How Dare They or whatever. Fortunately these overhauls bounced harmlessly off me and my not-so-fragile peace of mind. And here’s why…

Unironic Wishes for a Happy July 4th

Backward Knee Bends!

Art by Joe Giella.

Y’know that one irritating relative who shows up for all your birthday parties whether he’s invited or not, never enjoys hanging out with you, loves sniping about your flaws to everyone, scoffs when anyone compliments you, goes above and beyond in ruining the party for anyone who cares about you, but eats twice his weight in cake and finger foods while he’s in your house?

You don’t? Cool. Neither do I. But when America’s Independence Day rolls around, any number of internet hangouts feel much like that every year. I’m not really in the mood for it just now.

I was trying to come up with some balance of “America” and “sincerity” to mark the occasion here on MCC, and the first icon to leap to mind was Captain America, because that’s how my mind rolls. I could’ve spent hours digging through my collection and scanning pages from the greatest Cap stories I’ve ever read. Instead I’ve consciously opted for a mix of quaint simplicity, practical wisdom, and childhood nostalgia that brought a smile to my face when I revisited it for the first time in years.

The clickable image shown above is page 122 from the 1976 self-help classic The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book, in which some of Marvel’s greatest heroes teach readers a series of exercises to improve their health, tone their physique, get their blood pumping, dispel their couch-potato image, and give them an edge in crime-fighting. The book isn’t exactly one of the classics from the Marvel library, but its advice and demonstrations are useful and encouraging to anyone seeking that sort of thing.

Among the participating big names are Captain America and the Falcon, along with the Falcon’s li’l sidekick Redwing. Modern readers may find this all dated and a wee silly, but consider what’s demonstrated in the space of that single page besides the exercise itself: teamwork; perseverance; trust; inter-demographic cooperation; focused dedication toward a shared goal; and complete disregard for whether or not anyone else thinks they look foolish. So many great features from the factory showroom model of Classic America.

The short version: they’ve got each other’s backs no matter what. It’s wildly off-topic, sure. It’s no one’s idea of an overt “Happy Fourth of July!” greeting card, but it exemplifies much of what I’d love to see in one. Your move, Hallmark.

Happy 4th. Stay safe. Go find something in your country to enjoy. Maybe stow the partisan rhetoric and played-out “‘Murica!” jokes till at least the 5th, what say?

Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Captain America: the Winter Soldier” End Credits

Winter Soldier FTW

The Winter Soldier meets his worst enemy: springtime.

You already knew that, right? If you’ve seen a Marvel film, you know the drill. Even though Marvel’s penchant for end-credits epilogues is public knowledge, many viewers still refuse to see for themselves and don’t want to know details till after the fact because they’re dying to exit the theater and go buy ice cream or whatever.

That’s why Midlife Crisis Crossover includes end-credits coverage in its consumer-reporting movie coverage. If we see a movie, we’re there till the bitter end whether there’s a treat waiting for us or not. My wife and I are sticklers for getting our money’s worth for the ticket price, even if it means skimming past listings for quasi-participants such as Production Babies, legal counsel, and caterers’ gofers. Imagine the pride they’ll feel, knowing there’s a remote chance that someone besides their parents spotted their names at the end.

…what were we talking about? Oh, yeah — Captain America: the Winter Soldier, my new favorite 2014 movie so far.

This way for all-American action!

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