Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada says that while he can understand why some people are upset by a "tea bag" reference in Captain America #602, he thinks "there’s also a portion of this story that is being blown out of proportion and taken out of context."
Some members of the Tea Party movement are offended by a scene in the January issue, Part 1 of the "Two Americas" storyline, which depicts an anti-tax rally in Boise, Idaho. Among the protesters is a sign that bears the slogan, "Tea Bag The Libs Before They Tea Bag YOU!"
That displeasure -- from "a chorus of critics" -- received national attention this morning in an article at FoxNews.com that quotes writer Ed Brubaker as saying the slogan wasn't written by him but rather was added later in the production process.
"I don't know who did it, probably someone who thought it was funny," Brubaker wrote in an e-mail to Fox. "I didn't think so, personally. That's the sign being changed to something more generic for the trade reprint, because I and my editor were both shocked to see it."
A board member of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition isn't buying Brubaker's explanation, though, and accuses the writer of "blame-shifting." Fox News reporter Joshua Rhett Miller goes so far as to quote a sampling of Brubaker's Twitter comments as evidence of his "political leanings."
But in the just-posted edition of Comic Book Resources' "Cup o' Joe," Quesada said that "There was zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration. Ed simply wrote in an anti-tax protest into his story to show one of the moods that currently exists in America. There was no thought that it represented a particular group."
Quesada goes on to explain how the slogan was included, with an editor asking a letterer to "just fudge in some quick signs" on a last-minute art correction. So the letterer searched online for slogans from actual protest placards, and ended up with the one in question.
"All that said, we caught the mistake two weeks ago, after it was printed and removed the sign from the art files so that it no longer appears in future reprints of the title or collections," he said. "So, while the crowd protesting has nothing to do with the villains in the story, we in no way meant to say they were associated with the Tea Party movement, it was a simple perfect storm of screw-ups. It happens, we’re human."
Quesada goes into more detail at CBR.