Troubling events took place at the U.S. Capitol last week when a violent mob besieged the building during a joint session of Congress to confirm President-elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Thanks to the brave photojournalists and the participants’ posts on social media, countless photos and videos of those who stormed the building are circulating on the internet. Many of these photos wore shirts or patches reminiscent of Marvel Comics characters. Not only was the Punisher introduced, prompting writer Garth Ennis to call those who wore his skull idiots, but some wore the symbols of Captain America.
The symbolism and art of the character did not go unnoticed, although the children of the character’s co-creator made a scathing statement on the subject. Jack Kirby’s son Neil Kirby issued a statement to the rebels posted online tonight by CNN anchor Jake Tapper. Neil’s full statement recalls the people who wore Captain Amerikazi’s symbols and even the recovery of his shield…
Neil Kirby, son of Captain America co-founder Jack Kirby, was upset that some of the terrorists/militants of the 6th were not in the country. Janvier wore shirts with versions of his father’s creation mutilated in the image of the outgoing president. Her message to her: pic.twitter.com/RTH9UNs491
– Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 14, 2021
Kirby’s statement in its entirety: My father, Jack Kirby, and his partner Joe Simon, created Captain America in 1941. Perhaps the most iconic symbol of patriotism since the Spirit of 1776. Captain America has been the symbol and protector of our democracy and rule of law for 79 years. It was created by two New York Jews who hated Nazis and bullies. Captain America stood up for the oppressed and, as the story goes, even before he gained strength and experience with the military, he always stood up for what was right and never backed down.
At 72, I have a personal memory of all the political and cultural upheavals since the Castro revolution in the mid-1950s. In combination with the stories of my father, I could probably paint a picture of the battlefields in northern France around the city of Metz during the Second World War. But the events that took place on the 6th. January at our nation’s Capitol, an uprising inspired and instigated by our own president, will be an event that will haunt me forever.
While watching one of the terrible videos of the Capitol storming, I noticed that someone was wearing a Trump/Capt of America T-shirt! I was horrified and shocked. I think I even saw someone with a sign from Captain America. A quick Google search showed that Trump was Captain America on t-shirts, posters and even on the flag! These images are disgusting and shameful. Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump. Where Captain America is selfless, Trump is selfish. Where Captain America fights for our country and democracy, Trump fights for personal power and autocracy. Where Captain America represents the common man, Trump represents the powerful and the holy. Where Captain America is brave, Trump is a coward. Captain America and Trump couldn’t be more different.
My father, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon, creators of Captain America and World War II veterans, would be absolutely disgusted by these images. These images are an insult to their memory. If Donald Trump had the qualities and character of Captain America, the White House would be a shining symbol of truth and integrity, not a cesspool of lies and hypocrisy. Some of our presidents have championed the same values as Captain America. Donald Trump is not one of them.
Marvel does not comment on the use of their characters and brands by the rioters.