Despite the obvious disconnect between their ideologies, it seems many of the right-wing extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week take inspiration from a most unlikely icon.
Namely, Captain America.
In the aftermath of the violent uprising, several photos surfaced of rioters in Captain America t-shirts and other gear as they laid siege to the United States Capitol. The son of the Marvel Comics character's co-creator is not having it.
In a statement, Neal Kirby—son of late Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby—slammed the domestic terrorists for appropriating his father's character.
Neal Kirby, the son of Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby, was distressed to see some of the January 6 terrorist… https://t.co/nwrplRJIk1— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1610593697.0
Kirby's statement—obtained by CNN's Jake Tapper—is a searing indictment of the rioters and a declaration that Captain America is the opposite of everything they stand for.
"...Perhaps the most iconic symbol of patriotism since the 'Spirit of 1776,' Captain America has stood as a symbol and protector of our democracy and the rule of law for the past 79 years."
"He was created by two Jewish guys from New York who hated Nazis and hated bullies. Captain America stood up for the underdog, and... always stood for what was righteous, and never backed down."
Given many of the insurrectionists carried flags bearing neo-Nazi iconography and wore shirts emblazoned with pro-Nazi slogans, it's easy to see why Kirby was outraged.
Kirby went on to describe the mob's usage of Captain America imagery as "disgusting and disgraceful."
He characterized defeated Republican President Donald Trump as the polar opposite of his father's creation.
"Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump. Where Captain America is selfless, Trump is self-serving. Where Captain America fights for our country and democracy, Trump fights for personal power and autocracy."
"Where Captain America stands with the common man, Trump stands with the powerful and privileged. Where Captain America is courageous, Trump is a coward. Captain America and Trump couldn't be more different."
And Kirby clarified precisely how his father and his collaborator would feel about the insurrectionists.
"My father, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America and WWII veterans, would be absolutely sickened by these images. These images are an insult to both their memories."
On Twitter, people applauded Kirby's statement.
@jaketapper At this point, I gotta' figure that even villains like Dr. Doom would be like, "Trump doesn't represent me or my ideals".— HATE BIT POET (@HATE BIT POET) 1610594105.0
@pattonoswalt As an amateur student of comics history, from everything I've ever read about Jack Kirby, he hated fa… https://t.co/peZRN8RfRA— Steve Kretzer (@Steve Kretzer) 1610594660.0
I love it. Do NOT mess with or even associate alt-right with #CaptainAmerica! I completely agree with Neal Kirby.… https://t.co/PGIcTgVSix— Mark S. Zaid (@Mark S. Zaid) 1610593807.0
I read the statement to the insurrectionists that Neal Kirby, Jack Kirby's son, released, and cried. Then read it t… https://t.co/ZUQMnyG7X2— Angel Young (@Angel Young) 1610642921.0
I had the honor of meeting Jack Kirby. This made me cry. Thank you, Neal. Thank you. https://t.co/UcvMmKXE9G— Kelli Stanley (@Kelli Stanley) 1610594287.0
Long live King Kirby. Thank you, Neal. Joe and Jack were true American heroes. https://t.co/S9pDSEqAt0 https://t.co/On3bYk3ZKF— Matt Wood (@Matt Wood) 1610598475.0
And several shared an anecdote from Jack Kirby's life further confirming the insurrectionists and Captain America would never be on the same side.
An encounter Kirby had with Nazi sympathizers back in the WWII era was found to be very apropos.
@jaketapper One of my favorite Jack Kirby Stories, the Nazis who showed up to his NYC office to fight the man who m… https://t.co/iOAacpXoF7— Nick Walker (@Nick Walker) 1610594208.0
Cap would seriously lay out every single one of these Nazi clowns running around now. https://t.co/AUjcIa1uk3— Rei (@Rei) 1610594679.0
@Nickwalkernw @jaketapper Bet he would’ve kicked their butt all day. https://t.co/vvJ36HPigK— LuckyDaley (@LuckyDaley) 1610639552.0
As for Captain America himself, actor Chris Evans also weighed in on the Capitol riot by retweeting Kirby's statement denouncing the rioters.
Take that, "patriots."