With Marvel's highly anticipated Captain America: The First Avenger movie coming out at the end of the week I though I'd dedicate The Warlock's Home Brew to my favorite comic hero.
Captain America burst onto the world in December 1940, a full year before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, with a jaw shattering smash to none other than Adolph Hitler. With his iconic star spangled costume and shield he captured the patriotic imaginations of both kids and adults in the tense months before America entered the war. When a 90 pound weakling, Steve Rogers, volunteered to be part of an experiment to become a super-soldier, an American hero was born.
Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Timely Comics which later would become Marvel. The publisher, Martin Goodman, loved the idea so much they decided to debut Cap in his own title, something unheard of back in the early days of the colorful medium.
Though the comic hero, along with his sidekick Bucky, were a smashing success, not everyone embraced the patriotic hero. Simon and Kirby received threatening hate mail and death threats from isolationists, pacifists, and fascists who found it antagonistic to depict a 'respected' leader of a sovereign nation getting pummeled by the American flag. Within a year though, America would be dragged into Hitler's war and Captain America, in the hands and back pockets of the American GIs, would be marching towards Berlin and Nazi Germany. Cap would be fighting along with the Allies against saboteurs, spies and the notorious Red Skull!
With the great 'evils' of the Axis powers defeated, the post war saw a decline in the Superhero, replaced by horror, crime and romance stories. It wasn't until the early sixties that costumed heroes made their explosive return.
Again, it was Jack Kirby, this time along with Stan Lee, that brought the red, white and blue avenger back. Being frozen in ice since the end of World War II (the post-war years erased), Cap was found by the colorful new team of the 60's The Avengers! Captain America would soon take his place as leader of that group.
Over the years Steve Rogers/Captain America would struggle with being a man out of time and even (post Viet-Nam) what it meant to be a patriotic American hero. But through all the struggles Cap has always held that shield high.
In 2007, Marvel 'killed' off it's major hero. But like all comic book deaths (a post for another day) Cap is back and fighting for the red, white and blue.
Jack Kirby on Captain America:
Next Issue: Captain America Must Die!
Captain America Week:
Day 1: Eat it Hitler!
Day 2: Captain America Must Die!
Day 3: And A Phoenix Shall Rise
Day 4: Bring On The Bad Guys!
Day 5: Silver Screen Hero