I have never been as professionally envious of anyone as I am of my Washington Independent colleague Dave Weigel, whose iconic “Tea Bag The Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You” photograph is now featured in Captain America #602.

Joe Quesada, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, is deeply embarrassed about the resulting political controversy about Bucky-Cap appearing to oppose the teabaggers:

On the following page featuring the protestors again, there were signs, but nothing written in them. From a continuity standpoint, this omission stood out like a sore thumb, but was easily fixable. So, just before the book went to the printer, the editor asked the letterer on the book to just fudge in some quick signs. The letterer in his rush to get the book out of the door but wanting to keep the signs believable, looked on the net and started pulling slogans from actual signs. That’s when he came upon this one.

And used it in the scene and off it went to the printer. Unfortunately, to make the deadline, the work wasn’t double-checked thoroughly, and it was printed as is, which is where we as an editorial group screwed up. We spoke to the letterer, and he was mortified at his mistake and was truly sorry as he had no political agenda. He was just trying to do his job, but ultimately the onus falls on me as E-i-C. All that said, we caught the mistake two weeks ago, after it was printed and removed the sign from the art files so that it no longer appears in future reprints of the title or collections. So, while the crowd protesting has nothing to do with the villains in the story, we in no way meant to say they were associated with the Tea Party movement, it was a simple perfect storm of screw-ups. It happens, we’re human.

Will you forgive me for being dubious? I haven’t read the issue, but I’ve read Ed Brubaker’s run as Captain America writer and this strikes me as entirely commensurate with the stories Brubaker tells portraying Cap as a redeeming figure for an increasingly hysterical country. (And his “death” as jostling America’s moral gyroscope.) Captain America would tell the teabaggers that they ought to consider that freedom is something rather more than the top marginal tax rate. Marvel is a huge corporate entity, so I get that it can’t be so overtly political, but c’mon — one of the villains of Siege’s accompanying Embedded book is based on Glenn Beck. Norman Osborn demands that the enemies of the Dark Avengers be taken alive “for enhanced interrogation.”

Plus, if the Teabaggers feel disrespected, they can take comfort in the fact that this version of Captain America actually used to be a Soviet agent. Socialism is everywhere.