Iron Man is a Dry-Drunk Fascist

Whose side are you on?

Yeah, as they say in The Wire, I’m back on that stuff.

I should have recognized it when I went to the library to return some “books” a month ago. The things I checked out were late, and when I was handing everything over, I asked the librarian how much I owed.

“Oh, not that much, Mr. Marsh. Most of these items are from the teen section.”

Ouch.

I had checked out a couple Marvel comics compilations. Two volumes: one a collection of old Spider Mans and a collection of The New Avengers.

It was a junkie’s first spike after a two decade layoff.

I haven’t been into comic books since the mid-’80s. I was into Spider Man, and Captain America, and Iron Man. When my dad gave me a ride to get my allergy shots, he would soothe me with post-anaphylactic trips to Shinder’s Maplewood outlet. My geek peak was probably in ’84-’85, when I was ten-years-old, and Marvel’s Secret Wars mini-series–where a team of heroes fought a team of super villians on an alien planet–was as important to me as Star Wars, GI Joe, and the Transformers. But as I got older, I realized that that stuff was for nerds, so I somewhat desperately channeled all my male energy into sports. I renounced Peter Parker for Larry Bird. It still didn’t help with the ladies, but I felt better about myself, and was better able to look my father in the eye.

I never really gave it up though. I read “graphic novels.” I talked about “Chris Ware’s genius.” I overpaid for an out-of-print copy of McSweeney’s 13. And I snuck the occasional peek at Frank Miller and Alan Moore’s superhero stuff in the name of cultural awareness. But when my girlfriend admitted a crush on Wolverine, I used it as an excuse to dabble once again in the dork arts. I bought her a Chris Claremont collection at Dreamhaven for Christmas and read the whole thing before wrapping it.

After that Dreamhaven trip, I started to get the sweats. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have picked a worse time to become a loser again–because Marvel is fan-fucking-tastic. These comic books are clearly aimed right at pasty 30-somethings, with sexual innuendo and political allegory (and ads for “Classic WWF” figurines–I mean, what kid remembers Ravishing Rick Rude?). These cartoons are making me doubt the relevance of rock and roll or contemporary fiction. I honestly believe the only popular art forms that even attempt to reflect what’s going on on the streets of our post-9/11 world are hip hop and comic books. This new Civil War storyline is incredible, amazing, spectacular…pick your favorite superhero hyperbole. The super-villian Nitro blows up 700 kids in Stamford, Connecticut on a reality-TV show and Congress passes “The Registration Act” compelling every superhero to register his or her secret identity with the government or become a fugitive from the law. Iron Man and his “cape hunters” are on the security side and Captain America and his “secret Avengers” are on the personal freedom side. The mini-series has a kind of pro-Iron Man bent, but there’s a companion series, Frontline, that’s very conspiracy-theory-rich. And the Civil War’s aftermath is just as intriguing. They assassinated Captain America! A brainwashed blonde did it (figures, right?). I’m sure you heard about it on CNN, but did you get a call from Dreamhaven informing you that your reserved copy of Captain America #25 (which is already going for more than $20 on the internet) is being held safely behind the counter for you?

Yeah, I know I’m losing it. I have what my dorky new buddies down at Nostalgia Zone refer to as “the fever.” I’m a super hero guy again. Fine. I’m not ashamed. And don’t worry too much about me. Sure, I’m a 1950’s menace–I read comic books and smoke dope–but I’ve buttressed my intellectual defensiveness with close readings of both Fagles’ new translation of The Aeneid, and that New York Times Magazine cover story about our Darwinian compulsion to believe in God…I guess what I’m saying is when I want to get lost in a Keanu-esque “WHOA!” mind-fuck, I do it right.

If the Packers sign Moss…

I’m switching sides.

I’m allowed to do that, right? Once you’re age four, you’re supposed to recognize that your parents are fallable–so why am I still loyal to daddy’s team, anyway? I’m 30–about to be 31–so the way I see it, being a fan of The Purple is just an unfortunate spandrel created by living in Minnesota during my developmental years.

I could take a more Marxist view, and argue that this belief system has been engineered by a larger, more powerful system, to keep me distracted and assimilated. I’m merely a product of a nefarious network, beamed into my home on Sundays. I’m not the first to point out that football is the new opiate for the masses. Furthermore, this opiate doesn’t even work: The Vikings suck. Not only do they suck, according to SI, their owner, Zygi Wilf, wants them to suck so he can move the team to LA. Red half-heartedly tried that, but Red was a used-car salesman–this new bastard seems to be saavier.

But I do hate Brett Favre. But why? Why do I hate Brett Favre? There’s no reason to hate Brett Favre. In fact, Brett wants my favorite player of all time, Randy Moss. I feel like Brett. I loved Randy Moss. I still love Randy Moss. “Straight cash, homey.” Has anybody ever been more entertaining, either on or off the field? But the Vikings traded Moss for…well, why exactly? We didn’t get anything in return. Troy Williamson? Nap Harris? Yuck. That’s not why. There are only three possible reasons why we traded him: (1) because Culpepper pulled a Lady MacBeth, (2) because Red wanted to stick it to the populist masses for refusing to give him a stadium, even though he took them to the NFC champion game twice, or (3) the local media was responsible because they fed those same populist masses what they really wanted: a caricature of a selfish black monster, despite reports from people that knew Moss privately. Anybody that met him or hung out with him while he was here said he was a shy, if somewhat moody, pro athlete with a lot of money. He wasn’t that much of an asshole. So if we traded Moss for reason (2) or reason (3) or even a combination of (2) and (3), why would I care what our evidently racist community thinks? Fuck you guys. You forced the Vikings into trading our best player ever because you hate black people. And now the team is owned by a shady slumlord-type dude who’s killing the team so he can move it. Is this something I should worry about? Why, when I can be watching Favre to Moss for the next two years in my beautiful new #84 Packers jersey?

Go Green and Gold.