He's dead, Jim
and I play with live wires
electrocuted on a rainy autumn day
I see Death over my shoulder
and I feel his cold touch
and the Wichita lineman has bitten the dust
Twisted lyric rewrite by the Late Great Jeff Webb, who went down to that long sleep from which there is no waking himself, lo these 14 years and almost two months ago.
What put me in mind of this was the news, forwarded to me early this morning by SuperFiancee, that, along with Glenn Campbell's Lineman For The County and the Late Great Jeff Webb, Captain America has also bitten the dust.
Oddly, the pic of 'Captain America' on that news story is not the real Captain America, but, rather, the faux Cap-creep who has been strutting around in a badly modified 'hyperrealistic' version of Cap's costume for the last several years over in the godawful, appalling and emotionally retarded Ultimates universe.
Like every other denizen of this noxious, twisted offshoot of the Marvel mainstream, the Ultimates Cap is a badly dysfunctional, barely sentient asswipe whose personality could only be improved, and IQ could only be increased, by firing a full 15 round clip of explosive rounds directly into his brainpan. I'd love to think that the Cap Marvel just killed is the Ultimates Cap; in fact, few things would bring a broader grin to my face at this particular moment.
But, alas, I'm sure it's just a sloppy graphics choice by an ignorant compiler. I have little doubt that if any Captain America is going to get the gaff from Marvel's current editorial staff, it will be the Cap who fought Nazis in WWII, who was frozen in an ice floe in 1945 and later thawed out by the Avengers in the fourth issue of that seminal superteam serial, who was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and whose adventuring arcs in the 1970s under Stainless Steve Englehart were perhaps the most brilliant exploration of superhero comics ever done by a mainstream comics publisher.
It's a sad, bad day for the Marvel Universe when the one true Captain America finally gets toe tagged. But in point of fact, it's also fitting. The Marvel Universe has been swirling around the drain for quite a long time now; with the events of the just concluded CIVIL WAR miniseries, pretty much the entire continuum has now been thoroughly flushed. Neither the Marvel Universe nor the DC Universe are fun sites for escapist fantasy any more; neither, at this point, is a place anyone sane would ever want to hang out in, even briefly, even only in their heads. DC, at least, still has some good writers; Marvel, on the other hand, seems to have put their entire line up into the hands of horrifyingly inept, creatively corrosive, blunderingly botulant Alan Moore wannabes like Mark Millar, Warren Ellis, and Brian Bendis.
(Botulant may not be an actual word. Life moves pretty fast; I type even faster.)
The Captain America I knew and loved, the Cap who led the Avengers for forty years, the Cap who was beautifully drawn for decades by the likes of Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Sal Buscema, and John Byrne, the Cap who was never written well, not even once, after Steve Engelhart left Marvel except for that tragically brief period when Roger Stern took over the book in the early 80s -- that Cap, my Cap and perhaps, if you're a decent, right thinking American, your Cap as well -- that Captain America just got gunned down in cold blood by idiot editors unworthy to shine his shield or fold down the tops of his buccaneer boots for him.
The Living Legend of World War II -- lives no longer.
They say death isn't necessarily final in comic books. They say Cap might come back, just like Bucky did a few years ago. They say -- don't give up hope, True Believer.
I say, I gave up hope in the entire Marvel Universe a good long while back. I say, don't stop with Cap, put a bullet in every Marvel hero's head, turn the mainstream universe into a cosmos-wide open grave full of restless corpses, and devote all (non) creative efforts from this point forward to the 'orrible 'orrible ULTIMATES.
I say -- True Believer? Marvel Universe?
Contradiction in terms, baby. Contradiction in terms.
Entropy always increases, all good things come to an end, and now Steve Rogers, like Elvis before him, has left the building for good and all.
If you're a fan of the Silver Age Marvel Universe, well... you don't have to go home.
But you can't stay here.