I Just Finished – Captain America #695

My son Ethan handed me this and said, “You need to read this.” It explains and excuses, he told me, the faults of the recent “event” which unjustifiably stole the name Secret Empire. It brings back Captain America, the real Cap, not the Hydra agent who everyone should have realized was simply a story device. They didn’t realize it. They got all bent out of shape by it, and suggested that Marvel’s creative teams had actually become Nazis. It seems comics fans have become less sophisticated over the years.

It’s kinda funny, 72 years after their defeat, that we Americans are still seeing Nazis under every bed, with as much fear and paranoia as Joe McCarthy ever brought to his quest for Communists. And, to be fair, there were card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the movie industry, and the much-lauded Dalton Trumbo actually was using his position to propagandize his views. But later generations judged McCarthy’s actions to be extreme. So, when there are no members of the Nazi party in any position of power in our country now, just people who are to the political right of whoever is slinging the term “Nazi” at them, I wonder how future generations will view our current behavior. Continue reading

Getting to the heart of a character… Captain America: The Winter Soldier (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

captain_america__the_winter_soldier___fan_poster_by_superdude001-d68na0lTom Sawyer. Huck Finn. Oliver Twist. The Artful Dodger. Tarzan. Rhett Butler. Scarlett O’Hara. Peter Pan. Alice in Wonderland. To some of us, characters like these, and their many, many young siblings, are more real than the people we work with, go to school with or meet on the street. Their images are indelibly stamped on our hearts, so well did their creators fashion them. They are alive for us.

All of these characters have been revisited, again and again, by authors not their creators. That’s because they are so powerful. Because we want more adventures with them. Because they fire the imaginations of even the most imaginative people… and, yes, sometimes the imaginations of the dullest of people as well.

I daresay Captain America is such a character now, for millions of Americans. Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the pages of Timely Comics (now Marvel Entertainment, thank you very much!) during the early days of World War II, Cap was re-engineered by Kirby and Stan Lee beginning in 1963. Starting as just another patriotic-themed Nazi-buster, in the 1960s, Steve Rogers became a stranger in a strange land, Rip Van Winkle, Buck Rogers, a man who goes to sleep and wakes up in a time not his own. Of course, in 1963 he’d been asleep for only 18 years. Now, since World War II can’t move in time, the movie version of Cap awakes over 65 years in the future, still young, still ready for battle.

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