Marvel Comics' "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #1, which touches on the real world sociopolitical issue of illegal immigration in the United States, has proven to be a polarizing release for the publisher, but it looks like those in favor of the issue's contents will end up outnumbering those opposed.
Petitions have been launched on each side of the argument, with one calling for the resignation of series writer Nick Spencer attracting only 46 digital signatures as of this writing, and another expressing support for Spencer has drawn 792 backers.
Released last week, "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #1 by Spencer and artist Daniel AcuÃ±a depicts former Falcon and current Captain America, Sam Wilson, fighting longtime Cap villains the Sons of the Serpent. In the issue, the ultra-xenophobic Sons of the Serpent are seen attempting to stop illegal immigration -- an action consistent with their earliest portrayals dating back to the 1960s -- and refer to Captain America as "Captain Socialism."
This past Saturday, Fox News' "Fox & Friends" discussed the issue, with pundit Tucker Carlson decrying the Sons of the Serpent as demonized stand-ins for American conservative ideals.
"So who is this Serpent?" Carlson asked. "Is this Serpent an Islamic [extremist], an ISIS member bent on destroying Western civilization? No. The Serpent is an American who has misgivings about unlimited immigration and the costs associated with it. That, according to the comic book, is evil."
"He's got a new, odd enemy," Carlson's co-host Clayton Morris said. "Instead of going against Hydra and the typical Captain America villains, he's going up against conservatives.That's his new enemy."
While Spencer received negative feedback over the issue and its subsequent interpretations, there's also been a noticeable outpouring of positivity. In addition to the disparate responses to the two petitions, multiple fellow comic book professionals have shown their support on social media:
dear @nickspencer having been on the receiving end of some fox and friends horseshit in my day let me congratulate you on the sales bump :)
- BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) October 19, 2015
Never been jealous of another comic writer, but Fox slamming the new issue of Captain America by @nickspencer has made me green with envy.
- David F Walker (@DavidWalker1201) October 19, 2015
In case you were rooting for them and curious. pic.twitter.com/KWBqOy2ado
- Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) October 20, 2015
As have fans, including at least one who has self-identified as a conservative:
- Conservative Hipster (@ConservHipster) October 19, 2015
Spencer himself has commented via Twitter that the book is not meant to be a partisan series, promising that he has plans for good and evil characters on both sides of the political spectrum. "One thing I do hope is conservative readers will give 'Sam Wilson: Captain America' a shot. The book's intent is to be topical, not partisan," he wrote. "I really have no desire to preach to my own choir, or only confirm my own views. There will be villains with ideologies most would consider 'left-wing' and their will be conservative characters shown in a positive light."
"Captain America: Sam Wilson" #1 is on sale now; issue #2 is scheduled for release on Oct. 28.