More for the archive...my brief thoughts on the Society of Serpents trade, which reprints the brief Mike Carlin run and the earliest issues by Mark Gruenwald.
Has anyone ever given any real consideration of Mike Carlin, the writer, before?
Everyone knows where Denny O’Neil stands as a writer, but as the other guy who helped shape DC in the ‘90s, Carlin is largely a mystery.
Actually, Carlin only wrote CAP for a few issues when Marvel had no idea what to do w/the book. THING is his only real run as a writer, I think.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #303 - I like the way Machete uses the UPC box as a prop.
Carlin, CAP’s asst. editor, stepped in to replace DeMatteis, following his disagreement with Shooter re: Cap retiring.
Carlin has Cap give lip service to the idea that he fights for the American Dream, even though he can never have it, yet…
…Cap has a pretty normal life at this point. A fiancée, a job, an apartment -- he’s not doing so bad.
Gruenwald’s the one who takes the idea of Cap sacrificing his own happiness for the sake of The Dream and runs with it.
“Well, that Alan Moore fellow has had some luck with Captain Britain overseas. Maybe we should do a team-up?”
The Epic trade reprints Gruenwald’s editorial from Carlin’s last issue. Carlin’s moving to THING while editor Gru will become CAP’s writer.
While Carlin’s run is pretty generic superhero material, Gru lays out his take from the beginning: Cap’s devotion to freedom forces him to live a specific lifestyle--
--one that isn’t going to allow him the standard civilian life of a Marvel hero. That’s tricky to pull off & it might be one reason why fans turns against Gru’s run towards the end.
I’m a few issues into the early days of Gruenwald’s CAPTAIN AMERICA. 3 issues in & Cap’s already ditched his job & his sidekick.
Honestly, does Cap really think drawing a toothpaste ad is contributing to a “consumer-oriented” society that “places more value on possessions than people”?
Gru had a tendency to take sudden and somewhat arbitrary moral stands in the book. Cap feeling uncomfortable with drawing advertising work--
--reminds me of Gru’s later stance that the Super-Soldier Serum was just like a steroid & that Cap should abandon it.
Gru, to his credit, recanted that one after fans basically told him he was being ridiculous.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #311. So this is where “Steve Rogers draws Cap’s comic” comes from. Assumed it was from Silver Age.
Gru has the MU version of Mike Carlin acknowledge that CAP’s sales are slumping and it’s close to cancellation. He wasn’t joking!
CAP’s impending cancellation was the inspiration for Gru’s upcoming “Captain America No More!” arc, which blew up the book’s status quo.