Happy Birthday America
For me nothing says America quite like Captain Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. Created during WWII, the Cap was one of the most popular characters of the 40’s. He gave an identity, a face, a model for good verses evil (via The Red Skull). Even in the recent film, The First Avenger took both old and new audiences into the murky depths of the Second World War and showed us the virtue of a true hero. Unfortunately, during the McCarthy era (1950’s) the Cap’s popularity waned. The 50’s proved to be one of the most paranoid decades our country has ever seen, regarding the Second Red Scare, and when hero’s such as Captain American would have been beneficial, we simply didn’t know who we could trust, specially folks representing the government. Fortunately, for us, the Cap was reborn, or defrosted I should say, during the 60’s in the face of Americas largest and bloodiest battlefield, Vietnam. The Cap has remained in circulation ever since with even more dramatic story arches, remaining a figure for good in a world where good and evil are constantly blurred.
Captain America remains one of my favorite Marvel characters, even in the star packed Avengers film. The best line from The First Avenger has to be between the small Rogers and Dr. Erskine. When asked if Rogers wanted to kill Nazis, Steve replied: “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullets. I don’t care where their from.” I can’t quite say why this line gets me, except because, perhaps here, Steve hints at the true nature of heroes. Heroes do not seek out violence, but they also don’t back down in the face of danger. Captain America alludes to how, I suspect, many American troops have felt over the past two hundred or so years. Democracy doesn’t seek out fights, but sometimes, in the face of oppression, we gotta do what we gotta do, like knocking out Hitler over 200 times!
With that being said, Happy Birthday America and everyone have a safe and celebratory 4th of July.