Celebrating 75 years of Captain America
“I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”
With that statement in the film, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Steve Rogers declared to Dr. Abraham Erskine the defining characteristic that would make him the world’s greatest hero — the standard-bearer of an idea older and grander than himself.
They were the words that the guilt-ridden Erskine needed to hear. After his first experiments with human enhancement led to the disastrous creation of The Red Skull, Erskine had learned many lessons, but one more strongly than others: That the power of the serum in Roger’s veins would need to be tempered by the strength of the ideal in his heart.
And so Captain America was catapulted from the colorful splash page of the comic book onto the dynamic enormity of the silver screen. The word was out. Here was a true hero — the star-spangled, shield-bearing defender of freedom, bane of all bullies from obnoxious movie theater hecklers all the way up to mutated megalomaniacal despots. The entire world now knew what comic book fans had been trying to tell them for 75 years: Captain America is legit.
Long-time fans of the Captain America comic have been there as the character has evolved along with the nation that inspired him. From his roots as a patriotic symbol of America’s fight against Nazis, to his second coming in the midst of the Cold War and Vietnam, through the fall of the Berlin Wall, and on into a post 9/11 society – Captain America has been there to shine a light in a world made dark by the shadow of war.
However, Captain America is more than a soldier in service to a government. Whether in comics or in films, he remains guided by the ideals that forged him. His resolve to bring an end to tyrants — be they Hydra, Chitauri, Asgardian gods or genocidal robots — has created for him a following far outside of the borders of the nation that named him.
Cap hasn’t met an enemy too big to take on. Even if that enemy is a friend. He takes the punch, digs in, puts up his dukes, and dares his opponent to do it again. Like the man said: “If you get hit, hit ‘em back. If you get killed, walk it off.”
Here’s to 75 years, Cap, and good luck in the Civil War. #TeamCap
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