Oh My Gosh! I’m Viper!

Having hit my teens in the early 70s, I often used comic books to escape from the worry of the Vietnam War, riots as seen on TV, Watergate and gas rationing. It was nice to read some form of cheap ‘fantasy’ and tune out the real world.

Those were the days when you would go to the local neighborhood grocery store, mine was the Woodland Villa Market, and there on the metal turnstile rack would be anything from the old standard favs of Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Captain America to the less popular G.I. Combat, Sgt. Rock, The Unexpected, or Plastic Man. Today, you literally have to go to a book store to find a comic book – or subscribe to them like one would for any magazine.

One of my favorites was Weird War Tales, published by DC Comics. The anthology series came with supernatural overtones with horror, mystery, fantasy and science fiction elements – and was “perfect for a growing adolescent mind,” as my old man would say.

Recently, I went to Barnes and Noble to have a look around and I happened upon the January edition of Captain America. In it, a super-villain named Viper complaining about American exceptionalism and saying, “Someone has to make America marvelous again.”

Kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Viper also has the audacity to whine about “overreaching government” and even asks, “Where in the constitution is anyone promised clean air, anyhow?”

It leaves me wondering — when did I become the enemy of Captain America?

For that answer one has to go back to August 1973, where Captain America was battling a conspiracy that led all the way to the White House. In the end, the head of the evil Secret Empire was then-president Richard Nixon, who killed himself, preferring not be captured.

 

Good thing I still have a trunk full of Weird War Tales to help me escape this adult world of twisted propaganda.

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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