Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the "idea" of Captain America still a superhero?

In the early 1940's some people in America new the dangers of Hitler and Nazi Germany, but for the most part the nation wanted to let what happened in Europe stay in Europe. Some people chose to show the world their fear of Nazi Germany, by what ever means they could. To this end we see the conscious creation of a political comic book character Captain America. He appeared a year before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and was a huge success. It should also be noted that some people were strongly opposed to what Captain America stood for, and the creator’s received a lot of threatening letters and hate mail.

Captain America fought everything from Nazis to space aliens, but throughout his career he wrestled with, and in some cases was a sounding board for, events happening within and attitudes prevalent throughout the United States. As the series progressed from the early 1940's to the 2000's his overt opposition to the real world Nazis became covert opposition to threats such as terrorists, anti-nationalism, anti-registration, and many other ideals opposed to - who? The United States or to, what Captain America once stood for.

I have heard many times that Captain America is out dated. I don’t believe this is true, because if it is, you may as well say that freedom is out dated. The red, white and blue shield carrying superhero is the embodiment of what makes this country great. He fights against evil, he questions what is right and what is wrong, and he is not deterred. Killing off Captain America is more of a metaphor for pushing aside the values and beliefs of the United States. The scary part of understanding what people are saying when they say Captain America is out dated, is that they are saying the values and ideals of America are out dated.

Here I believe that the detractors of Captain America are wrong. In the future the comic book character will be brought back, and it will coincide with a shift in the attitudes of America. I am looking forward to that day, but until then it looks as if the superhero of choice will be one that reflects the shift in the political climate and the attitudes of America, perhaps someone such as Flag-Smasher is a more appropriate supervilian for the current climate sweeping across America.

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