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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Captain America Turns 70

“It was 70 years ago this month that Captain America, the greatest of all the patriotic-themed superheroes, first hit newsstands with a red, white and blue shield gripped in his gloved hand,” writes The Hero Complex’s Geoff Boucher. He also gets his own feature film this summer, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and to celebrate, The L.A. Times Hero Complex is doing a salute with 18 images from the new film, as well as interviews and retrospectives.

The film takes us to the 1940’s and war-torn Europe. And though Captain America has carried his shield through space, time and magical dimensions, fought against (and beside) gods, monsters and aliens, for Ralph Macchio, senior editor at Marvel, there’s no place where the character thrives the way he does as in the battlefield settings of World War II.

“The version of Captain America which resonates most with me is the World War II version. Although Cap has been brilliantly integrated into contemporary society since his return in the early ’60s, to me, he will always be a creature of World War II. He was created to battle the Nazis and take down Hitler, and it’s in that setting that he is most alive and vital to me.”

Mark Millar, one of the top names writing for Marvel Comics and a creator who has watched his anti-heroes hit the Hollywood screen in the films “Wanted” and “Kick-Ass,” said, “Actually America’s economic decline makes Captain America more attractive to people in a strange way.”

Millar said the purity, legacy and hopefulness of the Captain America icongraphy take on strength when the readership is confronted by real-world anxieties or eroding national stature.

“Like Superman,he was created in a difficult time to give the country a little hope and the U.S.A. could use some good news right now with a nice, straightforward hero making everyone feel a little better,” Millar said.


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