Very sad news as writer Robert Morales passed away this morning in his Brooklyn home at the age of 54. Morales is best known for writing the controversial 2003 Marvel Miniseries Truth: Red, White & Black with art by Kyle Baker.
Truth: Red, White & Black told the story of the black Captain America, Isaiah Bradley. The United States government used black soldiers as guinea pigs in an attempt to recreate the “super soldier” serum that produced Captain America; killing hundreds and leaving Bradley as the sole survivor. The series was based on the real life Tuskegee Experiments.
It showed World War II from the perspective of a black soldier, fighting for freedom overseas but treated like a second class citizen at home. The series exposed that the price of freedom and democracy in America was at the expense of many. Fighting for America cost Bradley 17 years of his life spent in solitary confinement for wearing Captain America’s costume, made him sterile, and nearly brain dead from the effects of the serum and lack of medical care. For all he sacrificed, mainstream US history never acknowledged him. Truth brought up questions on how to accept our past as a nation and move forward into the future.
Current Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, who edited the limited series, stated “When we posted our first image of Isaiah Bradley — the silhouette of an African-American man in a Captain America costume — the media latched onto it as a story of interest, but a lot of internet folks lined up against it, assuming, for whatever reason, that it would disparage the legacy of Steve Rogers. By the time the story was done, the dialog around the series had substantially changed. One high-profile reviewer even wrote a column admitting he’d unfairly pre-judged the series, that he now saw it was about building bridges between people, not burning them — which I deeply respected. It’s especially meaningful when you edit a story that functions as a little more than pure entertainment.”
Morales was an entertainment journalist who had a run on Captain America with artist Chris Bachalo. He formerly teamed with Kyle Baker for satirical cartoons in Vibe magazine, where he served as former arts editor.
Neil Gaiman stated his condolences:
Stunned & shocked. Just learned of the death of my friend Robert Morales. Writer, editor, good guy. (He wrote this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth:_Red,_White_%26_Black …)
Science fiction legend Samuel Delany wrote the following on his Facebook:
Robert Morales was one of my closest friends–and had been since he was seventeen year old. He died at his home in Brooklyn this morning, leaving his father and mother. He was fifty-four. We spoke on the phone for many years, at least once a week and often more. I am shattered. His many friends will miss him deeply. He had agreed to be my literary executor, and the idea that he would pre-descease me never entered my head. For me and many others he was an indispensable friend. To say he will be deeply missed is an incredible understatement.
Let us remember the icons that created the myths that have inspired us and shaped our morals and values. Robert Morales will be missed.
Jay Deitcher, LMSW(
@mrdeitcher) embraces the term MUTANT and proudly represents his MUTANT brothers and sisters. He is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly. You can see a listing of his incredible articles and his highly energetic videos here.