It is no secret that Marvel Comics collaborates with the United States government. Stan Lee wrote an anti-drug story for the Amazing Spider-Man on the request of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare (Department of Health and Human Services) in 1971. Marvel also publishes military specials for US servicemen and servicewomen. There are inescapable political implications in this collaboration.
One of the things that stands out in X-Men: First Class is the period setting and its world-historical conflicts: 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. By contrast, the Cold War and anticommunism were not that central to the hokey X-Men stories of the 1960s, which were almost apolitical and predominantly set in New York, with some occasional appearances by the FBI.
The film, indeed, is at variance with the original print series, breaking with continuity, changing timelines, revising character histories and introducing characters who did not appear until the 1970s and 1980s (e.g., the villains Mystique and Sebastian Shaw). But all of this is allowed in the market-oriented Marvelverse, where alternative realities proliferate. X-Men: First Class is set in a reality Marvel has designated as Earth-10005.
On this super-epic Earth with a “secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon” [“About the Movie,” X-Men: First Class], one will find the X-Men as Cold Warriors thrashing Soviet soldiers and protecting US security interests from the Soviet government. As with the premodern genre of the epic, super-epic is built on the “transferral of a represented [heroic] world into the past,” creating a “national heroic past” separate from reality (Bakhtin).
The use of superheroes for propaganda is not new for Marvel. Captain America and Bucky, crude icons of nationalism, beat up Nazis and “Japs” from 1941 to 1945 and were a “Commie smasher” team in 1954 during the McCarthy era. Even Superman at DC Comics has, until recently, been long associated with “truth, justice and the American way.” What is the objective situation for the politics of the latest X-Men film?I think that's a pretty good article, more than a review, and suggest you read it.
And after you've read it, make a point to read Elaine's post on the movie too.
This has turned into comic book week and, for tomorrow, I want to do a top ten. But I need your help. E-mail me about what comic book you wish they'd film. I know which one I want to see and I'll write about that but I want to know which ones you like as well.
Mine lasted less than 30 or so issues. It was my older brother's comics (my oldest). I got all of his comics (thanks, bro) and I think this one would be a great one. So if you have one you want to see, drop me a line at email@example.com before 7 pm EST Friday and I'll include a top ten of your choices.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"