Word spread online this week about the new story line in Marvel's Captain America comic called "Two Americas." In the story line, Captain America and his African-American partner the Falcon go after a white supremacist, anti-government group.
In one illustration, the two heroes observe a protest of people holding signs that read "stop the socialists" and "tea bag libs before they tea bag you" -- a phrase actually used on a sign at a Tea Party rally. Captain America devises a plan to intentionally anger the group by having the Falcon pose as a tax collector.
The comic sparked a minor outrage online.
"So, there you have it, America," wrote Warner Todd Huston of Publius Forum. "Tea Party protesters just 'hate the government,' they are racists, they are all white folks, they are angry, and they associate with secretive white supremacist groups that want to over throw the U.S. government."
Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada subsequently told Comic Book Resources that "there was zero discussion to include a group that looked like a Tea Party demonstration" in the story line in question. The comic was simply intended to depict an anti-tax protest to show one of the moods that currently exists in the country.
The picture of a sign referring specifically to the tea party movement, however, is "something that we need to apologize for and own up to, because it's just one of those stupid mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents," Quesada said, explaining that the slogans on the signs were added late in the editing stage.
Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips told Yahoo News that Quesada's explanation "sounds less like a genuine 'we're sorry' than it does a 'we're sorry we got caught' statement."
He added, "It's really sad to see what has traditionally been a pro-America figure being used to advance a political agenda."
The "tea bag" reference will be removed from future editions, a Marvel Comics writer told Fox News.