Last week's issue of Captain America provided a big status quo change — Captain America losing his super soldier serum and suddenly becoming an old man — but the story element that caused an online maelstrom and calls for the firing of Los Angeles writer Rick Remender was two characters having sex.
Shortly after the issue came out, critics argued that it showed longtime Cap sidekick the Falcon — who recently made his big screen debut in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" — having sex with an underage character, Jet Black. You can read the full scene here.
One Tumblr post about the perceived controversy received almost 2,000 likes and reblogs. The only problem with the outrage — that character isn't underage.
The issue itself references her 23rd birthday, but some argue that the character couldn't be that old. The character first appears as a child in the first issue of the current run of Captain America, but the comic explicitly shows at least 12 years passing. If the age used in the new issue is approximately in line with the rest of her appearances, that makes her 11 in her first appearance, which doesn't appear to be off-base from the stories themselves.
You can read more about the timeline in this blog post.
The storyline and perceived statutory rape led to the hashtag #FireRickRemender spreading on Twitter, which was also fanned by an Examiner.com article titled "Why Marvel needs to fire Rick Remender."
Marvel comics editor Tom Brevoort responded to the controversy.
"I think readers are allowed to feel however they want to about a particular title and a particular creator, and to follow or not follow that title/creator as they see fit — and even to rail against it or campaign against them," Brevoort wrote. "But this sort of behavior crosses a line for me, it is a disgusting use of the very real and very emotional concerns of a great deal of the population to further an agenda that has nothing to do with the issue in question."
There still exists controversy over the two characters drinking alcohol before sleeping with one another, but it appears that the character has been depicted as an adult. Eat Geek Play writer Mark Stack was among those who listed a number of other problems he and other fans have had with Remender's writing, including using the death of a female character to move along a male character's storyline, as well as perceived racial insensitivity, but Stack wrote on Twitter that he agrees that he was mistaken in his original article and the timeline seems to show the Jet Black character being an adult. Stack also said that he doesn't agree with the calls for Remender to be fired.
Remender thanked those who supported him on Twitter:
Many other notable comic book creators stood up for Remender:
Two creators with similar experiences voiced their support for Remender. One, Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, faced calls for his own firing when fans thought he was having Doctor Octopus sleep with Spider-Man's girlfriend after switching bodies with him. The comic later indicated that this was not the intent. Another writer, Ron Marz, had fans actually buy an ad voicing their anger after he took a character they liked and made him into a villain.
Remender also apparently has Marvel's backing. A tweet from Marvel's editor-in-chief Axel Alonso: