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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,651
Subj: The Anti-Mandarin
Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 at 07:29:25 pm EST (Viewed 228 times)

So I decided to put a Mandarin-style manifesto in my signature box. Mine represents Tony.

Hey, I'm America's Captain, which you might assume is a reference to Captain America, but Tony is a captain too - a captain of industry. Scholars will be studying the brilliance of my screen name for centuries to come.

As for the manifesto - I actually think this is important in a way that transcends comic books or, better, helps give meaning to comic books. Something weird has happened to the American zeitgeist post-Summer of Love (1967). Notice how my manifesto has a picture of John Wayne on it. That's him in his 1947 role, The Tycoon. The American zeitgeist was different then. Industry was viewed as a very positive thing. Not surprising since, as a result of the American Industrial Revolution, the United States had become a major world power rivaled only by the Soviet Union.

Here's an article on the American Industrial Revolution:
3 Key Elements of the Industrial Revolution in the United States

I believe this is the mindset Stan Lee and Don Heck were laboring under when they first created Iron Man. Yes, I know, Stan later wrote that he made Tony the way he was as a challenge. Stan supposedly wanted to see if he could create the most unlikable character possible and make him a popular superhero. I personally think this is revisionist history. I love Stan Lee dearly but I do in fact think he tells a fib now and then. Iron Man in his earliest stories was a Cold War hero. He was a 1950s style leading man. He was a character who might have been played in the films by Clark Gable - who played Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. I've attached a photo of Clark Gable. Tony Stark was Howard Hughes as a superhero. Here's an article on Howard Hughes - aviator, engineer, industrialist:
Howard Hughes

I think all of this was very straightforward and non-ironic. But then 1967 happened and oops - it wasn't cool any more to be Howard Hughes.

But post-2017 (fifty years later) the time has come, in my opinion, to reclaim the original intent of Iron Man and, in so doing, reclaim at least a smidgeon of the pre-Summer of Love zeitgeist. Industry is a very good thing. It's awesome. It's the best thing to happen to human economics since - well, since agriculture was first invented, some 15,000 years ago. Nevertheless, it has a dark side. Combating that dark side is what my Tony Stark stands for. Notice the vertical red stripe on the right hand side of my manifesto and what is written there: "Respect for the Law - the Environment - Common Decency." That's how industry needs to operate. That's how Tony Stark operates. That's also, incidentally, how AT&T (my employer) operates.

Our pal the Mandarin has his Mandarin. Well, your pal America's Captain has his Tony Stark. This, in my opinion, is the true mirror image. If one were to embrace my Tony Stark, one would immediately see the point of the Mandarin as foil and arch nemesis. Tony the nutty professor has no obvious symmetry with the Mandarin. Tony the captain of industry is a very different story. The symmetry is obvious and compelling.

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