With Captain America’s recent revival in movies such as “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “The Avengers,” the character has become very popular. But still, many fans of the modern incarnation of this superhero do not know anything of his origins. Captain America has appeared in over 7,000 comic books. He was the creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and first appeared in “Timely Comics,” later to become the comic book “king”: Marvel Comics.
Simon and Kirby were very against Nazi Germany, as were almost all Americans, so they needed a hero that would embody the “American intervention,” when the USA joined World War II in 1940. So Captain America’s premiere issue was released in December of 1940 with him on the cover, punching Hitler right in the face. Captain America’s story starts with a young fine arts student named Steve Rogers growing up during the Great Depression. His father died as an alcoholic while Steve was still young, and his mother died from pneumonia after he graduated high school.
Seeing Nazi Germany’s awful actions, Steve wanted to enlist in the army to defend the land that he was born and raised on. He was too scrawny to pass the army’s physical requirements, so Steve was the first test subject to volunteer himself for a freak project called Operation: Rebirth; a project to create physically perfect US soldiers to send into war. Steve was injected with all kinds of chemicals, including the “Super Soldier Serum,” created by Professor Erskine, making him grow, reach maximum human efficiency, and enhance his strength and reflexes greatly.
Soon after Steve became a “Super Soldier,” (Captain America), Professor Erskine was assassinated by a Nazi spy, leaving Steve as the only Super Soldier and America’s hero. Wearing a costume based on the American flag, and given a very American-looking shield, Captain America’s mission was to serve as a counter-intelligence agent and a symbolic US hero against Nazi Germany’s advances towards the US. Along with World War II, the Golden Age of comics also came to a close, and Captain America fell silent, as there were no more Nazis to take down.
So along came the Silver Age in the 50’s, where Communists and the Red Scare were a big deal. Steve Rogers spent this period beating up Communists anywhere and everywhere. But eventually, as the Red Scare came to end, Steve Rogers needed enemies to fight again as there were no more Nazis or Commies to punch. After the Red Scare, in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Steve Rogers starred in Captain America’s Weird Tales, where he fought aliens, monsters, and super villains. He fought all evil regardless if it was currently in conflict with the United States or not.
The idea of Captain America as an American hero was revived once again in the 60’s with “Avengers #4,” where he was discovered in a block of ice, thawed, and given a leadership position in the Avengers. This is the Captain America that everybody has come to know and love today. In the Bronze Age of 70’s and into the 80’s, Captain America’s stories began pushing new boundaries, taking a shot against Nixon, with fighting a “Nixon-like” government official as the head of the evil Secret Empire. For Five issues, Captain America turned in his shield and suit to fight evil as a “non-America-affiliated” Nomad.
He eventually realized that one could fight for the American Dream without working for a corrupt government. For America’s 250th issue in the early 80’s Captain America considered running for the presidency. Realizing that being president would take away time from fighting for the American Dream, he decided against it. And after almost 2-decades of consistent success with the public, Captain America got another shot at the big screen: Captain America. Ten months after the release of that movie, a sequel came out: Captain America: Death Too Soon.
When the Modern Age of comics, the 90’s, came along, all comics were known for basically being awful. Characters weren’t true-to-life, and their outfits and uniforms became pointless. Captain America couldn’t avoid it, and yet another Captain America movie was released. But as quickly as the 90’s came, they ended, and Captain America had a turn of events. He was murdered in 2007, only to make a come back, to allow Marvel to continue to print “Captain America” comics. He starred in the Avengers, and yet again, has his own movie. And this is the Captain America that we know today.
“A History of Captain America.” Film School Rejects. N.p., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
“Captain America (Steve Rogers) – Marvel Universe Wiki: The Definitive Online Source for Marvel Super Hero Bios.” Marvel Universe Wiki RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
“Captain America.” , Steven Grant Rogers (Avengers). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.