The internet wants Rick Remender fired


A social-media firestorm that erupted late last week urging Marvel to fire Captain America writer Rick Remender fizzled out by Sunday as the Twitter hashtag was hijacked and a Tumblr post explaining that the Falcon didn’t have drunken sex with a 14-year-old gained traction.

The controversy began shortly after the release on Wednesday of Captain America #22, which depicts Sam Wilson waking in bed next to Jet Zola (aka Jet Black), the daughter of Arnim Zola, after the two shared a little too much wine. Although Jet appears to be a prepubescent child when introduced in the first issue of Remender’s run, time passes rapidly in Dimension Z, where we’re told Steve Rogers spent at least 12 years. A rough estimation that Jet would now be in her early 20s is confirmed by a reference to her 23rd birthday during a brief flashback in the issue in question.

Perhaps some readers didn’t fully understand the timeline, or they confused Jet with her significantly young brother Ian (in fairness they did look a lot alike), and skipped over — or, in some cases, disregarded — the mention of the 23rd birthday. Whatever the case, some concluded from the three-page scene that Sam Wilson committed statutory rape.


One early and widely circulated Tumblr post, noting the many “heinous and massively harmful stereotypes there are about men of color and sexual violence,” called on outraged readers to stop buying any comics written by Remender, and to email Marvel to express their views.

Under the headline “Why Marvel needs to fire Rick Remender,”’s Gloria Miller dismissed the reference to Jet’s 23rd birthday as contradictory to “everything Remender has told us,” before stating that even if she were 23, “It’s still hard to ignore the fact that she’s still mentally immature and has suffered some pretty massive emotional trauma of late — not exactly a stellar example of unhindered ability to consent.”

Like Miller, Eat.Geek.Play’s Mark Stack framed the Falcon/Jet scene in the context of Remender’s other “offenses” since taking the reins of Captain America, including the (apparent) deaths of Sharon Carter and young Ian Zola. (It should be noted that both Stack and Eat.Geek.Play expressed their dislike for the #firerickremender campaign; after reading this Tumblr post explaining the timeline, Stack tweeted, “I am genuinely embarrassed and ashamed,” and to Remender, “I owe you an epic apology.”)

Remender had his fair share of defenders, both on Twitter and on blogs. The Daily Dot chimed in early with, “Relax, Captain America comic fans — that Falcon rape scene never happened,” while Marvel’s Tom Brevoort offered his thoughts on the controversy on his active Formspring.

“First off, rape and the possibility of rape is an omnipresent danger for at least half of the population, and one that many people are extremely sensitive about,” he wrote in response to an anonymous question. “It’s a serious issue, and should never be taken lightly. But secondly, there are a few readers who are upset with Rick for slights real or imagined who have no compunction about misrepresenting the work he’s done in order to stir up anger among people, in the hopes of getting him fired. [...] I think readers are allowed to feel however they want to about a particular title and a particular creator, and to follow or not follow that title/creator as they see fit—and even to rail against it or campaign against them if they so desire. But this sort of behavior crosses a line for me, it is a disgusting use of the very real and very emotional concerns of a great deal of the population to further an agenda that has nothing to do with the issue in question — and those doing the campaigning know it. Just leaves a bad taste around our entire community.”


So there’s been a little social media storm over recent issues of Captain America written by Rick Remender.

The problem? It goes like this.

Jet Black is the daughter of big bad Zola. The argument goes that we first meet her as a young girl, she spends time in  Dimension Z for twelve years and, in this week’s issue, she has sex with Sam Wilson, the Falcon.

The argument goes that she must be only 14 or 15 at that time. And even though she says she’s 23, she can’t be, and this makes the Falcon a statutory rapist.

And even if she was 23, she’s mentally immature and a sufferer of emotional trauma. Oh, and they’re drinking.

Throw in the recent death of Sharon Carter as a motivating force for Captain America and there’s only one conclusion. #FireRickRemender, tweet @Marvel and write to to complain.

Basically, to act like OneMillion Moms over a comic book you don’t like.

Well, I’ve done some extra research and have confirmed that the script for issue of the current Captain America series, where Jet Black made her first appearance, says that she was ten years old.

John Romita Jr. may have drawn her with dimensions that we may associate with someone younger, but it’s certainly not inconsistent with the scripted age.

Then we knew there was at least twelve years spent in Dimension Z, with Steve Rogers.

And now she says that she celebrated her twenty-third birthday. And if there is some flustering on Sam Wilson’s behalf over his subsequent actions…

And clearly alcohol played its part…

Wilson’s issues are more about the complications of interoffice relationships rather than anything to do with age.  No one was insensible, no one was paralytic, no one was slurring their words or being taken advantage of.

And this is the Marvel universe, a place that regularly encounters alien invasion, massive property and life damage and all manner of trauma. Marvel characters are not like real life characters in that they find a way through, they find a way not to be constantly mentally scarred by the madness around them, because if that were allowed to affect people’s social lives in they way it actually would, we’d have a very different line of comic books. It is something the audience accepts.

I can’t help but wonder if this is more of a problem that this is a black man in his late twenties having sex with a white woman in her early twenties, but again that would probably be just as unfair.

But when it comes down to it, buy the comics you want to read, don’t buy the comics you don’t want to. Argue the toss online all you want, call out the work that you like and don’t like and explain why in depth. That’s all great. I’m certainly a part of that.

However when you start calling for someone to be fired for writing a comic book in a way you don’t like, given the influence that social media can have when it snowballs, that’s a very dangerous route to go down. Worth asking how you would feel if a customer of the company you work for started targeting you with a social media campaign for your bosses to fire you for some imagined slight.

And even if everything that has been claimed against Rick Remender’s work on Captain America were true (as opposed to all of it not being true) then I’d argue that it is still fiction. Rick Remender is a considered enough writer to have understood the consequences of such actions and would have written such a scene in a very different context.

I also need you to check out this new stage play called Romeo And Juliet. Do you know how young Juliet is in that, as actually stated in the text? There’s only logical action in response.


paw comments:  I haven't read the issue in question, but Rich Johnson of Bleedingcool (  - cited above) has panel images that appear to definatively prove his point.


Shit, those weird feminazi bitches are trying to say comic books are about rape now?

These bitches literally twist everything into something about rape, it's fucking weird and is doing more harm than good to actual rape victims.

Breevort hit the nail on the head with his comments, someone needs to sort these crazy bitches out.

this is bullshit

Dante11 - this is bullshit



UPDATE: and Brett Schenker has traced the whole thing to a reader with a vendetta against Remender.

In last week’s issue of Captain America, #22, two characters were shown having a few glasses of wine and tumbling into bed only to wake up the next morning wondering what happened. The characters in question were Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, one of the few prominent African-American characters in both the Marvel comics and film universes. The woman was Jet Black, aka Jet Zola, the daughter of Arnim Zola. Although she runs around in a skimpy costume reminiscent of Leeloo from The Fifth Element, this is perhaps explained by her having been raised in an alien dimension. Although she was born only a few years ago in real world time, she has aged more in comics time.

However, one blogger on Examiner saw it as the Falcon banging a 14 year old and over the weekend—even though a panel in the comic explicitly states that she is 23 years old— a #firerickrememnder hashtag spread across the viralnets saying that he had a beloved minority character commit statutory rape. Remender has been in hot water a few times before, so this found some purchase.

Now, I’m not am expert on current Marvel continuity, but apparently a reader named Khat is in a detailed tumblr post, it was explained about parallel dimensions and time and aging and other stuff. Anyway, maybe Falcon made a mistake, but at least she was of age.

The outrage itself spawned more outrage, especially among comics pros who are sick of being held up to political level scrutiny, and for calls for the man to lose his job over a storyline they objected to for erroneous reasons.

Former Marvel editor Tom Brennan even blogged about this:

I understand there are complications to this scene that some offended comic book fans would use to argue that the scene was somehow an instance of statutory rape or that it degraded the Falcon, a major character in comics who finally got his due in this year’s Captain America movie.  I appreciate how these people feel.  I also think they’re wrong in their understanding of the book.  The scene definitely made me uncomfortable – but that’s because it’s drama and sometimes drama makes you uncomfortable.

But arguing the story is not what I’m interested in doing right now.  What bothers me – and should bother *everyone* — is that people are calling on a company to fire someone because of something that company asked him to do.

There seems to be a grave misunderstanding in today’s protest-hungry world of entertainment fans into how far their opinion should really matter.  You don’t like a story? That’s fine – don’t read a story.  But unless that massive dislike leads to a nosedive in a book’s sales (which has not occurred, despite how much comics journalists like to spin the numbers), then you not liking someone is not equal to a moral judgment.  And to call for someone to be fired for doing a story that was approved by a group of very good, very talented and very smart editors, editors who represent the interests and opinions of a broader corporation, is offensive.  Imagine saying a police officer should be fired because you don’t like that he gave out parking tickets, or if a teacher was fired for teaching a sex ed curriculum approved by a school – that’s what these people are demanding.  Rick’s not writing in a vacuum here, not with a character as important as Captain America.  Like the stories or hate the stories, they’re not just Rick’s stories, they’re Marvel’s stories.  A fan who demands one person lose their job because they don’t like a story is a fan who has demonstrated a severe lack of understanding of how any of this really works.

It’s no secret that internet outrage is a constant these days, over matters great and small. And sometimes, as with real issues of harassment and discrimination, it’s a powerful tool. (The Skyler Page incident is an example of a real problem being played out in real time on social media.) But a lot of people just troll around looking for something to be outraged about. And there are powerful psychological reasons for this:

A 2013 study, from Beihang University in Beijing, of Weibo, a Twitter-like site, found that anger is the emotion that spreads the most easily over social media. Joy came in a distant second. The main difference, said Ryan Martin, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, who studies anger, is that although we tend to share the happiness only of people we are close to, we are willing to join in the rage of strangers. As the study suggests, outrage is lavishly rewarded on social media, whether through supportive comments, retweets or Facebook likes. People prone to Internet outrage are looking for validation, Professor Martin said. “They want to hear that others share it,” he said, “because they feel they’re vindicated and a little less lonely and isolated in their belief.”

Rick Remender > The Internet Phone Post 3.0

Kneeblock - 

Sounds like a stupid non-controversy, but I'm glad my man Sam is getting some attention. Hopefully writers will make him more of an A-lister.

My main problem with this whole thing is that Sam is a social worker and should know better than to be drinking with effed up ex-supervillains, but having been in his shoes (sort of), I can't condemn him. 

There's a rumor that Sam is going to take over for Cap......

^^ I'd read any story that has that storyline