The red-herring…

Hitchcock was a big fan of it, and countless other story-tellers throughout history have used it as well. A “red-herring”, from a story-telling perspective, is the act of deliberately inserting a plot point into a story so as to set audiences to expect one outcome so that they are taken completely by surprise when the real plot emerges.

A good example is found in the film Psycho. (oops! Spoiler!) Janet Leigh’s character steals a bundle of cash from her employer and then leaves town, hiding the money within a newspaper in the trunk of her car. She makes an ill-fated decision to stay at the Bates Motel, where the plot takes an unforeseen NEW direction, and the money is promptly forgotten.

Now let’s take into account, the recent events within the Marvel Comics Universe, most notably-Captain America’s death/murder/assasination. I’ll admit I fell into the trap yesterday and responded with outrage to it, then subsequently went to the comic book store yesterday evening. I was played, and easily, too. Along with the rest of Amerika. That’s right, we all got played. Anybody remember the “Death of Superman”? Over ten years ago, DC Comics pulled the same BS and murdered one of their icons. The resulting national attention of the (fictional) death of one of our country’s most recognized icons ended up meaning big bucks for DC Comics and, by default, parent company Time-Warner Inc. The same is happening here, with Stephen Colbert talking about it on cable television and even Variety publishing the obituary of Steve Rogers (aka. Captain America).

But I was talking about red-herrings. I was, wasn’t I? Yes, Marvel Comics has a trump card, a way to get the genie back in the bottle, or a way to get Spider-Man back behind the mask. Maybe it should be seen as more of a safety net. You see, three years ago, Marvel Comics, or its writers more specifically, revealed to the world that one of its “Heroes”, the Scarlet Witch, had the ability to “alter reality”. She did so and attacked her friends and colleagues, killing some of them. Two years ago the heroes confronted her about it which resulted in her “rewriting reality” again (actually twice over). Last year the fallout of her actions led the heroes of the Marvel Comics Universe into Civil War culminating in the past week’s event where Captain America was murdered. The Scarlet Witch is still in play, in hiding, but still there, waiting in the wings until the powers-that-be at Marvel Comics decide it’s time to fix things.

Yes. I am outraged at the “murder” of Captain America, but not because he’s gone. I’m mad because it’s only a matter of time before he is resurrected and all the pieces are put back into place. On the surface and publicly, Steve Rogers was murdered in the name of “good story”, less directly and even less publicly he has been murdered in the names of things such as “god-almighty dollar” and “units shipped” and “profits expanded”. I shouldn’t be disgusted, I know, it’s the nature of the beast, but to cheapen Captain America in this way… I don’t know, I’d like to think there’s a better story to tell, or a better way to tell it. But then, that’s me.







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