Comic Villain Just Needed Some Therapy
Hot takes on the Captain America kerfuffle were similarly sloppy. A Daily Mail article reported that Peterson was "angry" to learn of the resemblance, while entertainment website Uproxx said he was downright "pissed." "Red Skull, thin skin," tech blog Boing Boing crowed.
While Peterson's initial tweets expressed surprise at the discovery, he's clearly bemused rather than upset. Instead of objecting to the idea of Coates casting him as a villain whose Marvel origin story is "head of Nazi terrorist activities" trained by Hitler himself, Peterson took ownership of the character and promptly put him through reform school.
In memes shared on his Twitter page, the Red Skull now parrots Peterson's philosophy of self-improvement. "If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth," one reads.
The contrast between exaggerated comic book imagery of a red-faced, glowering menace and practical advice for leading a fulfilling life underscores the absurdity of painting Peterson as a malign influence better than a sober YouTube lecture or an exhaustive written rebuttal ever could. If Coates meant to make the professor a cautionary tale, Peterson turned the tables with pitch-perfect parody.
Twitter followers are in on the joke, too. One imagined Peterson as Lobsterman, a reference to the first chapter in "12 Rules" that compares humans' and lobsters' physical response to defeat, noting that the mood-regulating hormone serotonin affects dominance hierarchies in both species.
Peterson embraced the lobster motif, tweeting an illustration of a red-and-black shield featuring a stylized six-legged crustacean fit for display on a caped crusader's chest.
Coates overlooked the downside to writing a rival into a timeless tale, rendering him immortal in a narrative sense. A villain can always become a hero; redemption arcs, after all, are as much a comic book trope as the heel turn.
Corey Friedman is an opinion journalist who explores solutions to political conflicts from an independent perspective. Follow him on Twitter @coreywrites. To find out more about Corey Friedman and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.