Do you have an Instagram account? When you get a moment, scroll through your feed and track how long it takes to get to a picture of food. My guess is you saw a food pic within a minute.
Chances are, this didn’t surprise you. After all, this Instagram food posting craze has been a thing for a while. However, Captain America hasn’t been clued in yet. Captain America #4 (written by J. Michael Straczynski and penciled by Lan Medina) features an exciting battle between Cap and a demonic villain, and some flashbacks to Steve’s earliest Nazi encounters.
It also contains a scene where Cap struggles to make sense of current social media trends.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Captain America #4!
A hot dog worthy of social media
Captain America #4 opens with Cap battling a demonic villain known as the Emissary. The scuffle leads Cap in the hospital, where he’s visited by Sharon Carter. Steve strategizes his next steps, which involves asking Sharon if he could borrow her cell phone.
This is where Steve Rogers commits a social faux pas.
When you lend a friend your cell phone, do you think it’s appropriate for them to go through your camera roll or your social media apps? Because it seems like that’s what Steve Rogers did.
Cap goes through Sharon’s phone, explaining that he needs to contact Misty Knight, but he cuts off his explanation when he comes across a picture.
“When did you start taking pictures of your food,” Steve asks Sharon. (Apparently Steve is unaware that everyone has been taking pictures of their food for the past decade.)
“All the cool kids are doing it these days,” Sharon explains. “Yeah, but it’s a hot dog,” Steve debates. “A really good hot dog, and shouldn’t you be dialing Misty,” Sharon replies.
Two things to note here. First, we never see the picture of the hot dog, so we can’t confirm or deny if it’s as spectacular as she claims. Second, Sharon is reacting calmer than I would be in this situation. You don’t get to borrow my phone and judge me for my camera roll, no matter how many adventures we’ve been on together.
Of course, Steve just can’t let this whole ‘taking pictures of food’ thing go, so he asks Misty Knight about it as well.
“Do you take pictures of food,” Steve asks. “Sometimes. Everyone does, mister leading-mind-of-the-fourteenth-century,” Misty answers. “Okay, yeah. But would you take a picture of a hot dog,” Steve says. “If it was a really good hot dog, sure, because it’s not about the food, it’s about food as an anchor for the memory of the moment,” Misty explains. Defeated, Steve gets back on topic, and discusses the threat of the Emissary.
What does this scene tell us about Captain America and his allies? One, despite being out of ice for years he still hasn’t caught up with the world. Two, he needs to learn etiquette when it comes to borrowing a friend’s phone. Three, Sharon Carter and Misty Knight know the value of a good hot dog.
Captain America’s long struggle with social media
This isn’t the first time Captain America has struggled with social media. Let’s rewind to 2007. Civil War: Front Line #11 featured a controversial scene where reporter Sally Floyd interviews Captain America. At the time Cap was a fugitive due to his opposition to the Superhuman Registration Act (it was a Civil War thing). During the interview, Cap tells Floyd that everything he did during Civil War was for America. Floyd replies that Cap doesn’t know America as well as he thinks he does.
“Let me ask you something sir, do you know what Myspace is,” Floyd asks. Cap replies that he doesn’t understand the relevance of the question, and Floyd continues her speech. “Do you know who won the last World Series, or who was the last American Idol? When was the last time you actually attended a NASCAR race? When was the last time you watched The Simpsons or logged onto YouTube to watch a stupid video?”
Cap looks down solemnly, indicating that Floyd has him dead to rights. At the time of publication, this scene was controversial. There was plenty of discourse surrounding Sally’s comments. There were plenty of webcomic parodies, LiveJournal discussions (it was 2007), and message board posts reacting to the scene. If you want a sample, simply Google ‘Captain America Myspace’ and see the results. To this day, Sally Floyd is primarily known as the reporter who shamed Captain America for not having a Myspace account. Even Marvel joined in the fun, having Betty Brant tease Floyd about the Myspace moment in Amazing Spider-Man #572 (2008).
Of course, Myspace hasn’t been relevant since the George W. Bush administration, so Marvel recently updated the scene. In Captain America: Steve Rogers #17 (2017), Floyd recalls the interview, but the reference to Myspace is replaced with Twitter. (I look forward to the next update, where Floyd will probably ask Steve Rogers about TikTok.)
Maybe Steve Rogers doesn’t know Myspace, Twitter, or Instagram, but is he really missing out? Sure, he’s probably missing lots of great hot dog pictures, but I like to think his life is less stressful without social media.
Well, as stressful as any life would be when you’re constantly saving humanity from world-ending threats.
Hmmm…I wonder what Cap’s Instagram feed would look like?
An advanced review copy for Captain America #4 was provided ahead of release by Marvel.
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