Marvel Comics reportedly edited an essay critical of America in a special issue meant to celebrate the franchise’s 80th anniversary.
The Marvel Comics 1000 issue, available Wednesday, pays homage to many of Marvel's most recognizable characters, including Iron Man, the Hulk and Spider-Man, and also spotlights some lesser-known ones. Each page is devoted to a year in Marvel's history, with the first one recounting the creation of the Human Torch in Marvel Comics No. 1 in 1939.
Controversy emerged Tuesday after The Hollywood Reporter posted a story noting that the text on Captain America's page representing 1944 had been altered from an early version that pointed to inequalities in America and flaws in its systems. The revised text has Captain America talking about fighting injustice and how hatred, bigotry and exclusion are not patriotic values.
However, according to THR, the original text penned by writer Mark Waid contained a message about inequality and the American Dream not working as intended in a “deeply flawed” system.
This image provided by Marvel Comics shows a page devoted to 1944 from Marvel Comics #1000, the publisher’s 80th anniversary issue. (John Cassaday/Marvel Comics via AP)
“The system isn’t just. We’ve treated some of our own abominably,” the old text read in part. “Worse, we’ve perpetuated the myth that any American can become anything, can achieve anything, through sheer force of will. And that’s not always true. This isn’t the land of opportunity for everyone. The American ideals aren’t always shared fairly.”
The essay ended on a somewhat hopeful note, discussing how the building blocks are in place to fix all these problems.
“America’s systems are flawed, but they’re our only mechanism with which to remedy inequality on a meaningful scale. Yes, it’s hard and bloody work. But history has shown us that we can, bit by bit, right that system when enough of us get angry. When enough of us take to the streets and force those in power to listen. When enough of us call for revolution and say, ‘Injustice will not stand.’ That’s what you can love about America.”
Representatives for Marvel did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the change.
This image provided by Marvel Comics shows the cover of Marvel Comics #1000, the publisher’s 80th anniversary issue. (Alex Ross/Marvel Comics via AP)
The remainder of the issue is a mix of serious and humorous stories, like the page devoted to 1944 in which Captain America explains why he fights, Dr. Strange's struggle to keep his magic cape smelling fresh (1951), the introduction of Groot (1960) and a page devoted to Iron Man's suit for 2008, the year Marvel's blockbuster film franchise launched.
"I definitely wanted this to be a range of experiences and not have it be an 80-page chucklefest" nor "an 80-page downer," said Tom Brevoot, the issue's editor.
Brevoot said he gave the issue's dozens of creators general guidance, but also the freedom to explore a character or storyline in a single page. Many of the pages adopt what Brevoot called a "confessional" approach where a character is speaking to an interviewer. The page for 2017 features superheroes' answers to "What do you regret," or another in which Deadpool takes a little too long to answer one of the issue's recurring questions, "Why do you do what you do?"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.