Saturday, December 5, 2015

Intertexts in Captain America White #1

When you’re reading Captain America White #1 by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, you are almost immediately thrown into a world of colour and dynamic art that basically moves on the page. There’s an overload of information, a host of characters that some readers will recognize and some won’t (I still don’t know who the Tinkerbell 2.0 is). And then suddenly, you flip the page, and the colours are sullen and washed out, and the reader’s expectations of the story is altered. The change in colour scheme is what stopped me on the page, but the use of intertexts is really what made me stop and think about the implications it has on the stories. Especially in the context of this story, and what Captain America White #1, is portraying story wise. The comic follows Captain America who has been frozen and dead to the world since 1945. Captain America believes that Bucky is dead, so his narration is a letter to him; it’s Captain America recounting everything that he could, and basically giving his side of the story. All this backstory is necessary to the intertext on this panel because the particular reference is crucial to understanding just how long Captain America has been out of the game. While McCloud theorizes that not every single reader will bring the same resources to the story, most comic readers would probably recognize the name James Bond; whether it’s just the name ringing a bell, or if they have a shrine built to him in their closets. The author and/ or artist assumed that the reader would be able to connect with James Bond and that this addition in the story would be useful to portraying meaning. Instead of this intertext pulling you out of the story like Jones discusses, I think that it creates an extra layer of meaning. It works in the story – it connects the reader more closely to the story because it is a common point of interest for both the reader and Fury. Instead of detracting from the story, it adds to it in a non-distracting way. Fury casually throws James Bond into his conversation with Captain America, but since Captain America has been frozen for so long, he has no idea what he is talking about. The intertext alludes to how much has truly changed while Captain America has been out of it; how much the world has changed, the expectations and cultures surrounding Captain America are completely new. When he is confused and asks who James Bond is, Fury just changes the subject. How can one really explain all that is James Bond to someone who has been gone for 50+ years, who just happens to be the same someone who is working through this absence and confusion? The intertext is symbolic and connective for the reader, and so much can be inferred through one line of text; something fleeting said in a simple conversation.

- Kristen Buchanan 

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