The "new Captain America" is not gay, but if he were, so what?
Homophobia is a supervillain to fight and young Aaron Fischer is an urban and queer hero that knows it well. Eighty years after the birth of "Cap," it's still the same thing.
All progress, especially cultural progress, takes time to find its place, especially in this era where attempts are made to reflect social diversity in the television industry, literature and, of course, comics.
If Disney has already set to work to be more inclusive by expanding the Marvel universe, the print editions of the super franchise has not lagged behind and has announced some interesting releases for this year.
The main one, and not without controversy, is a limited series of comics centered on the iconic Captain America that Marvel is making to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the appearance of the American hero, who has always been depicted as a white, muscled, cis man.
Mind you, it's not that Captain America himself is going to change too much, but in The United States of Captain America, which goes on sale in June, there is Aaron Fischer, whose inclusion in the series has been a real thermometer of the prevailing homophobia in social media.
Fischer is a young queer activist who encounters the Captain's shield and, inspired by the values he espouses, transforms himself into a sort of Robin Hood for outsiders of the system — runaway teens, victims of poverty, LGBTQ and minority people. Where's the problem?
Certainly not Marvel, but many who, alerted by simplistic click-bait headlines, believed there was a new gay Captain America — what would be the issue if there was? Right now, there are four Captain America's in the franchise and it wouldn't be a bad thing to include one more.
Although misinterpreted, Marvel has tried to reflect the social reality of the moment with a very clear message: any American can become a hero, without exception. It's even more so in a context like the one we live in, where we need them so much. That, in short, is what Aaron represents.
The first Captain America, Steve Rogers, was born during the Great Depression and enlisted in the army during World War II to fight the Nazis, but he was too puny. It wasn't until Professor Rammstein turned him into a Supersoldier in his lab. Later, during McCarthyism, he would also hunt down communists.
From there, he splintered into several captains, one of whom was discovered by The Avengers, and so he progressed through other timelines that humanized him — that's the key — as in the one in which he ends up aging with Peggy Carter and looking for a successor.
He's an ordinary guy who is not so ordinary. Someone who only seeks to put an end to injustice and who surrounds himself, as in Marvel's new limited series with urban warriors for social justice.
While the team behind The United States of Captain America consists of writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Dale Eaglesham, the Aaron Fischer issue features Latino creators, including screenwriter Joshua Trujillo and Mexican artist Jan Bazaldua, who helped create the character.
"Aaron is inspired by the heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders and people fighting for a better life. He stands up for the oppressed and the forgotten. I hope his story resonates with readers and helps inspire the next generation of heroes," concluded Trujillo.