Why Marvel Should Really Publish A #STUCKY Comic After Secret Empire

When it was first announced, a year or so ago, that Captain America was going to have big headlining news, some people seized on the possibility that Captain America may be getting a boyfriend. Instead, the reveal was that he'd been a sleeper agent for decades for the fascist organisation Hydra, which led to the current Secret Empire storyline with the US now under his dictatorial rule.

So, the outcome was slightly different than what people were hoping for.

The conversations surrounding Steve Rogers' sexuality as portrayed on the page were familiar ones. You can't make a character portrayed in stories as straight for decades, gay. First of all, yes you can — it's comics, you can justify near-anything. And Cap was on ice for most of those decades. Secondly, there is such a thing as a bisexual person. Pairing Cap with a man doesn't suddenly negate his previous relationships with women. Sexuality is a spectrum, the nuances of which can't possibly be understood in black and white.

And sure, you might lose an audience. But you'll gain an audience, too. It was "terrible" when they did it with Iceman, it was "great" when they did it with Iceman. And so on, and so on, and so on. And hey, anyone you lose from something like this, well, they're not so great anyway.

Couldn't it be a fun way for Marvel Comics to try and reintegrate Captain America back into fandom, get a few headlines in the process, and possibly mess with Kevin Feige over at Marvel Studios into the bargain? And to do so using one of the hashtags that summed up the feeling?

And it doesn't actually have to be in the continuity that enrages longtime fans. Gwenpool exists, and that is barely in continuity. And there's a stellar example: that character was a variant cover by Chris Bachalo, combining Deadpool and Gwen Stacy for the yucks, and nothing more, until people started dressing up as her and Gwenpool cosplay started to become a big thing. Some backup strips later in Howard The Duck, and suddenly Marvel had an ongoing series for the character, guest stars in other books and, today, getting Venomised in Edge Of Venomverse #2.

Marvel also publishes Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, continuing an out-of-continuity state of affairs with a married Peter Parker and Mary Jane and child. It goes against explicitly stated Marvel policy from the highest levels, and only exists in a non-continuity state of grace. And it's fine, even surviving the Marvel Legacy purge.

And neither take anything away from the standard (ish) continuity Spider-Man, Deadpool or Spider-Gwen. They're all fine.

Indeed, publishing a comic with Peter Parker married to Mary Jane would fetch more objection from Marvel executives than one in which Captain America and the Winter Soldier were at it.

And that's also a thing. While #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend was a big thing, #Stucky, which specifically portmanteaus Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, is even bigger.

So, we have a certain niche-but-committed fanbase that would really like a Stucky comic. We have a publisher looking to redeem Captain America in socially concerned eyes. And we have a system where you can publish multiple versions of a character without harming the originals. If it's successful, why not back-ups for #Stony, #Spideypool and #Thorki and #Hawksilver while you're at it?

And, yes, you call it #STUCKY. Hashtag and all. If Marvel doesn't do it, someone else might, defined as a parody to work within US law.

Maybe you ask ex-Marvel PR Andrew Wheeler to write it. Or Steve Orlando. Or Joe Glass. There are all sorts of possibilities.

If not, it's just money left on the table. And we know how much Marvel Comics hates that.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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