V Interview: Is America Ready For A Black Captain America?
November 11, 2014 - 10:42 pm
VIBE: Rick, thanks for talking to us man. First, can you explain to our readers the inspiration behind making the new Captain America African American and the new characters origins?
Rick Remender: There’s been a lot of Steve Rogers stories and he’s a great character. I got into Sam Wilson’s character, who readers should know from the character Anthony Mackie played in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the first African-American super hero from Marvel and he’s a great character. There are lots of little gems about him that most don’t know.
As for inspiration, there’s an instance in the storyline where Sam has to rescue a photographer who has a camera with lots of classified info on it. He has to choose between giving it back to her or not and she asks him ‘do you really believe in freedom of the press or only when it’s convenient?’ In that moment, he realizes he can be patriotic but doesn’t have to be such a soldier [than Steve is].
For our readers who may not be as familiar with the character, explain who Sam Wilson is.
Sam Wilson is the Falcon and in 1969, was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colon. The film (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) does a great job of giving the audience an idea of who he is. Up until this change, he was the Falcon. Captain America loses the super serum that kept him youthful and gave him his powers, so he ages rapidly to catch up to his actual age (about 90 years old). He can’t fight anymore.
The interesting thing here, is that Sam (The Falcon) is from Generation X. He becomes the representation of America when America itself is so divided. What ideals will he represent when no one can agree on anything? He grows up in a very violent time in (Harlem) New York City. By the mid 90’s, crime was out of control in the city. But he has a minster father and and a community activist mother who are instilling these virtues in him, which come up later on. They impact what he wants to do on a worldwide scale.
There’s this underlying theme with most superhero characters: how far will they go with their powers? Like, most of them could easily just kill everyone, but they figure out ways to keep from going over the edge.
Right, they all have to figure out what differentiates a human from a villain. That’s very important to him and most of theses superheroes.
What went into the decision to make the new Captain America a black character?
It’s too convenient to say we live in a post racial society and everything is OK. But I think things are getting better in this country. When we announced it, some teachers sent me pictures of classes with predominately black students and a lot of the kids were Captain America. One big problem in the media for a long time, was that it only reflected White people. This is representation and it’s pretty amazing beyond just telling a cool story.
It’s a human need to feel like you’re a part of the society you grow up in. When people aren’t reflected and they feel disenfranchised, they feel like they’re not a part of the culture. We all need to feel represented in the culture we live in.
With reinventing the character, you’re also bringing in a younger audience. I feel like the movies have created a resurgence in interest in the comic books themselves. How have the movies increased the readership, especially among younger generations?
There was a period were kids all but disappeared from the comic book world. You were writing for an aging audience. Now I’m seeing teenagers again. Marvel films are based on comic book ideas and if people enjoy the films/shows, they’ll want to know more about the story. It’s like the Walking Dead, which was a comic book first, has brought people back into the comic series. Or Game of Thrones, people have bought all the books from the series. Anything in our media that leads people back to reading is pretty good. It’s exciting within the industry.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about the new series?
Just that they don’t have to be afraid to jump right in. A lot of times people feel like there’s so much happening in the Marvel Universe that’s there’s too much back story for them to just jump into a comic series. This is totally new series. I want to tell an exciting story and make it accessible for everyone. I’ll reveal some interesting things and along with illustrators Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Garcia, will combine great visuals to tell a story that you can just jump right into.