The original Captain America was the creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, first appearing in March 1941's Captain America Comics #1 from Timely Comics, the company that would later become Marvel Comics. The book made waves from day one by featuring the title character punching Adolf Hitler over a year before the United States declared war on the Axis powers.
Since that time, Captain America has had an illustrious career as the Avengers' most famous leader, but also as something like the moral center of the Marvel universe. We've picked ten of the very best Captain America stories by some of his many notable creative teams.
Welcome to Costume Drama, a recurring feature where we turn a critical eye toward superhero outfits and evaluate both the aesthetics and the social issues that often underlie them.
For this installment we're looking at one my favorite designs from the 1980s: the black costume Steve Rogers wore as "the Captain." As far as my research can determine, the costume was designed by Tom Morgan, who drew its first on-panel appearance in Captain America #337, although it obviously owes a lot to Simon and Kirby's Captain America design. Cover artist Mike Zeck also paid homage to Kirby with a cover based on Avengers #4. The storyline that introduced the costume, and this role for Steve Rogers, was by longtime Captain America writer Mark Gruenwald.
This weekend we were at Flame Con in Brooklyn to capture the kaleidoscopic cosplay strutting through the queer comics convention's second exhibition. Highlights include Stevonnie, Wiccan, Jubilee, Stranger Things' Barb, Rufio, multiple Magnetos, and a disgruntled Asgardian coffee shop employee!
Is it Watchmen's fault that Captain America is a Nazi?
That's the strange question I found myself asking after the last month's developments in superhero comics. Thirty years after Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen made its debut, the characters are being integrated into the DC Universe as part of the current DC Rebirth publishing initiative, seemingly as totems of the sort of superhero grimnness that Rebirth hopes to move away from. Meanwhile, at Marvel, the publisher's most principled hero has been retconned as a secret agent of a far-right hate group, at a time when a vocal segment of the audience wants to see a lot more love than hate in the character's life.
Both developments are indicative of a tension at the heart of superhero comics. Thirty years after Watchmen, is it time to stop pointing out that heroes can have flaws, and time instead to acknowledge that heroes can have value?
Steve Rogers is a trans man. I don’t say this as an argument, I say this as a truth. Steve Rogers is trans. Rebirth is fundamental to who Captain America is. Before his rebirth, he was scrawny Steve Rogers, who fought in the streets of Brooklyn. Then he became Captain America, the soldier that he always dreamed he would be.
Steve Rogers is certainly the man of the hour at Marvel right now; star of one of the biggest superhero films yet, and he's just returned to his old role as Captain America working alongside Sam Wilson who also shares the title.
This week saw the release of the new ongoing series Captain America: Steve Rogers by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz, which spins out of the events of the recent Avengers Standoff crossover. However, the issue contained a huge revelation about Steve Rogers' upbringing that may change how we look at the Sentinel of Liberty forever! Spoilers for the issue follow. If you want to read the book unspoiled, don't read this article; but if you need to know what everyone is going to be talking about this week, carry on.
Since the dawn of the Silver Age, legacy characters have been a staple of superhero fiction, and having a new character step into a well-loved role can open up new opportunities for writers and artists to tell different kinds of stories. In this new feature, I’ll be looking back at some of the notable and not-so-notable heroes and villains that have assumed some of the most iconic mantles in the superhero genre.
For our first installment, we’re looking at the legacy of Captain America, and the men who have carried the flag in Steve Rogers’ stead. From America’s wartime shame to Steve’s very best friend, there have perhaps been more people to wield the shield than you may have realized, and not all of them have been as virtuous and upstanding as the man himself.
What do we talk about when we talk about love? That Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes love each other is inarguable. It's all over those first two Captain America movies. It's in their goodbyes and their reunions. It's in the pain on Steve's face when Bucky doesn't recognize him, and the pain on Bucky's face when he does. It's in Bucky offering frail young Steve a place to stay, and in superhero Steve offering damaged cyborg Bucky a helping hand.
So we can all agree that Steve and Bucky, Captain America and the Winter Soldier, love each other a lot. It's only the nature of their love that's up for debate. We all know they're close friends, but whether they're more than friends is a matter of subtext and speculation. Of fantasy and fan fiction.
This week's announcement of a second Captain America title, Captain America: Steve Rogers, to run alongside the current Captain America: Sam Wilson series, is the latest example of a Marvel legacy hero getting to share a name with its originator. It's a trend that reflects two facets of Marvel's approach to major heroes. On the one hand, the publisher almost always gives big name legacy identities to characters that provide greater diversity than their predecessors, whether it's Cap, Spider-Man Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Nick Fury, Giant Man, or Ms Marvel. On the other hand, Marvel's big name heroes almost always come back.
The new Cap comic has plenty of promise; Steve Rogers is a popular and beloved character, and the team of artist Jesus Saiz and writer Nick Spencer should deliver great stories. Spencer is also the writer on the Sam Wilson title, so it's reassuring to know that he hasn't passed up Sam for Steve, and that Sam will still hold on to the iconic round shield. But Marvel's decision to make Sam Wilson the Captain America felt like a big deal. Is it still a big deal if he's just a Captain America?
With the Captain America: Civil War movie fast approaching, and the Civil War II crossover to go with it, the return of Steve Rogers to (physical) youth and the Captain America name was basically inevitable. And now Marvel has officially announced that Steve is getting his own Captain America: Steve Rogers series this spring, written by Nick Spencer, with art by Jesus Saiz, and featuring a new version of his costume and a brand new shield designed by Daniel Acuña.
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