In case you haven’t been near a comic book shop or on social media in the past week, let me fill you in on the news. Captain America is a murdering, Nazi-loving Hydra agent. That’s right, the worst kind of goose-stepping, hero killing bad guy ever seen in the entire history of comics. At least, that’s the story if you listen to the hordes of fans complaining over the most recent first issue of the new Captain America series where Cap is revealed at the end of the issue pledging his allegiance to Hydra, an evil, cult-like terrorist organization responsible for their fair share of chaos in the Marvel Universe.

The uproar has even escalated to both the writer and editor of the series receiving online death threats from comic readers for “changing Cap into a Nazi.” For those of you who can’t see me as I’m writing this, I typed the words “comic readers” in the last sentence while making air quotes fingers because it’s much too obvious that the majority of those complaining didn’t even read the issue in question.

One of the points of anger amongst those raising a fuss is that changing Captain America into a villain is disrespectful to the character and the character’s Jewish creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. Wrong. Changing a superhero into a super villain is a familiar plot device as old as comic books themselves. It’s been done short-term and long-term to several characters over the decades. “But this is different! They made Captain America a Nazi and that’s taking it way too far!”

Firstly, Hydra is not a Nazi organization. True, they were allies with them in the first Captain America movie, but that’s the movie universe. The real origin of Hydra goes back centuries, long before the existence of the Third Reich. Also, the word “Nazi” never even appears anywhere in the issue. And second, if making Cap a Nazi is going too far, then prepare to take your anger out on his co-creator Jack Kirby. In Tales of Suspense #67 published in 1967, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created a Captain America story that clearly showed him brainwashed by The Red Skull to believe he was a Nazi super soldier and giving a snappy Heil Hitler salute to Adolf Hitler himself! Guess how many people were outraged by this back then. Correct. None.

There is an obvious change in the mindset of the average comic book fan from the past to the present. There are some present day comic readers whose sensibilities are too quickly rattled. Complaining about this new Captain America story after only one issue is the equivalent of walking out of Star Wars in the first ten minutes because Princess Leia was captured by Darth Vader. How can you judge a story in its entirety when you haven’t even taken its journey yet? Unfortunately, we live in a lightning fast internet age where dubious news stories are shared before being verified. We’re encouraged to react rather than digest. Why read an entire article when it’s easier and quicker to form an opinion over just the headline?

Sadly, there’s no way to convince people to be more open to what may be a compelling story if they aren’t able to jump over that first hurdle of a shocking twist that shakes up a character outside of a readers comfort zone. There are those that refuse to continue reading this new Captain America series after the character they love is revealed to be a Nazi (despite that not actually happening) and have even gone as far to film themselves burning their copy and uploading the clip to social media to show the world their outrage. Of course, we all know who else burned books, don’t we? Oh, the irony.

– By Eddie deAngelini