Writers tackling social issues in comics have good intentions though the products of those intentions range the gamut from outstanding to just plain bad. The two part story in Captain America #385 and 386 from 1991 falls closer to the bad side than not. It came to my attention in an Ebay search because of the seller’s description: “Cap rescues pornographers, gay rights activists, rappers and others from the right wing Watchdogs who are out to enforce their brand of All-American morality with the unwanted “help” of US Agent who is out for revenge”. Captain America rescuing gay rights activists? How did I not know about this story?
It turns out gay activists are never mentioned as I discovered while recently reading the pot boiler two parter with the titles “Going to the Dogs” and “For Righteousness’s Sake”. However, including the LGBT community as targets by the right wing group Watch Dogs, who are the villains in this tale from Mark Gruenwald and Ron Lim, isn’t a difficult stretch of imagination. They have more back story than seen in this story including a connection with USAgent, which you can read here and here. The Watch Dogs are ostensibly stand ins for the Ku Klux Klan. White robes were swapped out for purple spandex uniforms and orange metal vests emblazoned with a snarling dog face symbol and topped off with visor helmets. The color scheme practically shouts comic book villain though who can imagine macho, right wing villains actually choosing purple and orange as uniform colors? Their mission statement is spelled out in their initiation vow:
“I solemny vow to walk the virtuous path, to safeguard society from the forces that would corrupt it, and destroy the enemies of decency, of morality,and of the values upon which our country was founded”.