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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Here's to Captain America

RIP, 1941-2007.

The venerable superhero is killed in the issue of his namesake comic that hit stands Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported. On the new edition's pages, a sniper shoots down the shield-wielding hero as he leaves a courthouse.

As the article notes, "resurrections" are not unknown in comics, and Cap's been resurrected more than most. He disappeared at the end of the Golden Age of Comics, the returned in the 1960s after being discovered frozen in a block of ice. They killed him off briefly in 1969:

Captain America began during World War II, prior to America's entry into the war. Steve Rogers was one of the weakest men in the Army, but was chosen to try a special serum that would turn him into a "supersoldier".

Cap actually entered the war before the country he represented, with his first appearance coming in March 1941:

His creators were the legendary Simon and Kirby. Cap (along with his sidekick Bucky Barnes) battled the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II, then gangsters and crooks after 1945. Along with many other superheroes, he was "retired" in the early 1950s as those features came under pressure from the horror comics fad. He was briefly resurrected in 1954 for three issues by Atlas (forerunner to today's Marvel Comics), but the series didn't take.

Skip forward to 1964. Atlas had begun a tremendous resurgence as Marvel Comics with a new style of superhero--ones with problems and bickering between characters. Their sales soared with the Fantastic Four, Amazing Spiderman, Thor, Iron Man and others seemingly popping up monthly. Marvel had resurrected two of its famed GA characters, the Human Torch, and the Submariner. In Avengers #4 (March 1964), they brought back Cap. He had been frozen in a block of ice. When the ice melted, Cap returned to life, but now was a man tormented by the death of his former partner, Bucky.

Marvel gave him a spot in Tales of Suspense with Iron Man. There were many classic stories during that run, including the Sleeper Saga, which I blogged about at Silver Age Comics. With issue #100, the title was changed to Captain America.

Captain America has not always been a patriot. In the mid-1970s he changed his name to Nomad for awhile in disgust at the Watergate revelations. And in recent years the comics he has appeared in have often been suffused with anti-American sentiment as Michael Medved noted:

The indictment of the United States becomes even more explicit in issue #6 (December, 2002) in which Captain America listens to yet another sympathetic rant from a terrorist mastermind. “Guerillas gunned my father down while he was at work in the fields — With American bullets,” the militant helpfully explains. “You know your history, Captain America...You played that game in too many places... The sun never set on your political chessboard- your empire of blood.”

To this verbal assault, The Sentinel of Liberty responds meekly, “We’ve changed. We’ve learned...My people never knew. We know now. And those days are over.

To those who remember when Captain America bled red white and blue, that's a shocking change. So perhaps we should not mourn for Cap, but for ourselves.

Similar takes at Hot Air and Ace of Spades HQ. If you've taken your blood pressure medication today, check out the wankers at Wonkette:

But his last comment was left on, after the wretched conditions at the Walter Reed Army hospital were revealed last week:

I can’t take it any longer. This country … it’s … it’s all just SH*T. I thought we DEFEATED the Nazis.

He was immediately banned, and hours later he was dead. Cops say a “sniper” fired the gun, but everybody knows Captain America shot himself, in the bathroom, with his blood and brains sprayed all over his Declaration of Independence bath towel.


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