In “Captain America Volume 9 #28,” which was released by Marvel Comics on March 31, Red Skull preaches his “Ten Rules for Life” as well as “Chaos and Order” and “The Feminist Trap.” This appears to reference Peterson’s self-help book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” released in 2018, and Peterson’s contention that “chaos is represented by the feminine.”
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Late on Monday, Peterson posted screenshots of the “Captain American” issue, asking his followers to verify his suspicion that he was the inspiration for Red Skull in its story.
“Do I really live in a universe where Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a Captain America comic featuring a parody of my ideas as part of the philosophy of the arch villain Red Skull?” he tweeted. He currently has the tweet pinned on his profile.
A representative for Marvel Comics did not respond to a request from Variety to comment.
The main theme of the issue alludes to internet influences who use their platforms to radicalize young men online in order to fuel reactionary fires and their own agendas.
“What has happened to the men of the world is truly one of the great tragedies of our time. Once, the American man was a conqueror. Now he is but a caretaker,” Skull says in one of his online speeches. “No more shall women be summoned to fight your battles. I offer steel for your spine and iron for your gut. I offer you the sword of manhood.”
Captain America mentions a young boy “disappearing into the internet,” emerging with a “new theory of the world” fed to him by Red Skull — what appears to be another reference to followers of Peterson’s who have taken to his philosophy largely through his YouTube channel.
“[Skull] tells them what they’ve always longed to hear,” Cap says. “That they are secretly great. That the whole world’s against them. That if they’re truly men, they’ll fight back. And bingo. That’s their purpose. That’s what they live for and that’s what they’ll die for.”
Coates’ issue eludes to other issues that are currently roiling the US. One page depicts a divided rally, with one side’s picket signs reading “America Forever!” while the others read “Equality Now” and “Stop Hate Now.” At the end of the issue, Sharon Carter is tending to Captain America’s wounds, while telling him about how the Power Elite, a Hydra-based group inspired by Red Skull, is trying to attack the idea of America, and references attacks at the US Capitol.
Coates is an influential best-selling writer who came to prominence first with a 2014 reported essay in The Atlantic titled “The Case for Reparations,” followed by his 2015 book “Between the World and Me.” He’s also written “Black Panther” comics for Marvel, and started his current run on “Captain America” in 2018.
In February, Warner Bros. tapped Coates to write the script for a new Superman film with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot.
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