The Genesis of Captain America

Posted 9 years ago by myetvmedia

Captain America was born in 1941, the creation of the newly formed comic artist dream team Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Captain America Comics #1 published by Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) December 1940 would sell 1 million copies in its first year, one year before the bombing of Pearl Harbour.

In early 1940 Simon and Kirby had only just started collaborating as comic artists, a collaboration that would become historic. They needed a new character, one that would really pop. So of course the two Jewish dreamers made a blond haired, blue eyed, six foot something ubermensch ripped straight from Hitler’s wet dreams. Steve Rogers was just another guy, sickly, scrawny, a nice guy but not an especially cool one, until Doctor Josef Reinstein took him in as a subject in a super soldier experiment. Hitler had an ideal, let’s throw that back in his face and see how he likes it.

Cap made his first appearance by delivering a mighty right hook straight into Hitler’s chops. Simple, direct, to the point. Later adventures had him in the Pacific theatre, fighting demonic Japanese soldiers. The comics were followed by the popular serials, where Cap battled a madman with the Dynamic Vibrator (patent pending). In the modern age, the astonishing racism may turn many away, but back then it was a simpler time. The Nazis are probably the truest expression of evil in human history, it’s pretty hard to make them look worse than they actually were. And here’s a guy turning them back. A soldier with a shield, not a gun, created by guys who actually fought in the war.

After the war, the character’s popularity waned. An attempt at revitalising Cap as a Commie Smasher didn’t take, and the character was tossed aside. A similar fate awaited many of the Golden Age comic characters, like The Fighting Yank or The Gay Ghost (he was cheerful!) Time passes, the world moved on, into the Swingin’ Sixties.

When Kirby and Lee hit gold with the Fantastic Four, they decided to try something bigger. So they took different individual heroes and threw them together into another team. So Giant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk assembled as the Avengers, another Marvel team alongside the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. When it was decided the Hulk would leave the team, there was a space that needed to be filled. To test the waters, Kirby and Lee cooked up a very strange story where the Human Torch fights a Cap imposter. Reader response was good, and so the Avengers found the frozen corpse of the real Captain America bobbing around in the ocean and reanimated him.

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The Genesis of Captain America

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