What’s The Deal With The Marvel Civil War Meme?

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For about a week now, Tumblr (and by association everybody else) has been contemplating various frivolous reasons for Captain America and Iron Man to go to war in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. The premise of the meme is pretty simple: someone, usually Tony, says something unpopular or even downright offensive, Steve Rogers reacts, and thus the Marvel Civil War begins. It’s funny enough to see Captain America and Iron Man go to war over the pronunciation of gif, but within the context of an actual Civil War adaptation it becomes slightly disheartening.

For those of you that don’t know, Civil War is a 2006-2007 Marvel crossover event that involved most of the Marvel superhero catalogues battling against each other. Why were they fighting? Well, the government passed the Superhero Registration Act, which was designed to bring super-powered individuals under official regulation. Those against the act – led by Steve Rogers – found themselves as fugitives fighting against those that supported the act – led by Tony Stark.

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While the Civil War event is not widely popular amongst Marvel Comics fans, it is incredibly recognisable and it did alter the Comics universe in a significant way. The event was heavily influenced by post-9/11 discussions of personal freedom vs. security that ran rampant in the mid 2000s, although the allegory was fairly simplistic and didn’t really affect the debate in significant way. Besides, the Civil War event was really just an excuse to pit Marvel favorites against each other… people just love to watch Superheroes fight.

f***yeahblackwidow said is best:

Civil War succeeded because its themes felt important, because it seemed to raise hard and high questions and challenge heroes with ambiguity and realpolitik. In the end, though, it is a story about a dude in an all over body condom with wings on the head trying to punch a law but settling for punching a grown man who pretends to be a robot.”

Given Marvel’s recent track record with cinematic adaptations, chances are that they will make the Civil War work (The Daily Dot and Badass Digest have posts about how it might work). But that doesn’t really alter the fact that it’s still just an excuse to make Iron Man and Captain America fight each other. And that’s why the Civil War meme is both hilarious and heartbreaking because there’s a chance that any of these frivolous arguments could actually be the cause of Steve and Tony’s rift. But, hey, at least we get to make fun of it.

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Author: Undie Girl

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.

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