Captain Sheen and the Inside Joke

Does the cover of this comic book look familiar?

If not, does this jar your memory:

The second picture is Martin Sheen in an iconic pose from the seminal Vietnam movie: Apocalypse Now (1979), directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Now, 32 years later, Captain America apes the pose in an apparent homage to Kubrick. It also serves the plot, in which this Captain America is on some sort of black ops mission (Note #1: I’m obviously not well-versed in Captain America canon, so I’m not going to try …).

This sort of “double meaning” could be defined as intertextuality. If you recognize both meanings, you have cultural currency; you’re part of the “in”crowd. (Note #2: “In” is a relative term, meaning “others who recognize the double meaning.”)

This cover helps prove, once again, that most of contemporary popular culture is just one big inside joke.

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