29 August 2010

My Top 10 Comics #2: Captain America! (Do we sense a trend?)


Well, for my second choice in my top ten, I have to go with Captain America, March, 1941. By now, you all probably sense that I love the Golden Age. Mostly. Hopefully some of my other posts will prove otherwise.

This is in my favorites less because of the story but more because of the cover.Yes, they did redo this one for Captain America Reborn (#2), but the original is sooo Golden Age....smacking Hitler down with a strong right hook. So much more satisfying than choking the bejesus out of him. 

I say that because in the modern rendition, it looks like Cap has a bit of a struggle on his hands. In the 1941 version, it's clear that der Fuhrer has been PWNED!!!! Heck, he's not even concerned about the Nazi soldiers gunning for him! It's all about Adi. 

Much of what I mentioned about Superman holds true for Cap as well, but even more so. One can divorce the patriotism from Supes fairly easily. This doesn't mean that I like that especially, but it can be done. Cap on the other hand...well, his identity is framed by his patriotism. Supes is an alien from Krypton who grew up in the Midwest; Cap was a frail young New Yorker who wanted to serve his country and fight the Nazi menace. Cap even drapes himself in the colors of the American flag.

When Cap died a couple of years ago, there were people who were ecstatic on the news reports. Basically, some people saw it as putting a dinosaur to rest once and for, questioning whether his "jingoism" was even relevant in a post-9-11 world. Again, I use a magic word: POPPYCOCK!

Cap would be the first to say that just because he is ultra-American, it does not make anyone else's country or patriotism wrong or inferior. Cap embodies the ideal that love of country and  
personal sacrifice are laudable goals regardless of where one is from. He embodies this ideal even more so than Supes because Cap doesn't really have any powers. Oh, he's the peak of human conditioning but there is nothing "inhuman" or "superhuman" in his abilities.

I think, for me the scene that best exemplifies this idea is in the Secret Wars series. In issue #1, Wolverine questions why Cap should be the leader of the heroes because, "He's the least of us! He can't do anything!" Thor steps forward, however, and proclaims, "I am a prince of the gods...This man I will follow through the gates of Hades!"

In the same issue, we see Cap's mercy as well. When Doctor Doom is shot down by Kang,  Captain America offers to help Doom. Doom of course refuses, but that does not make Cap's offer any less sincere or noble.

One final thought for the day. Last year,over on YouTube, Just Some Random Guy did a tribute to Cap for the Fourth of July. [I seem to be referencing his work quite a bit; what can I say? He (and Random Gal!) are brilliant!] I'm going to leave you with that for now, True Believers. Excelsior!

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