Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero

Critical Essays

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About the Book

For more than 60 years, Captain America was one of Marvel Comics’ flagship characters, representing truth, strength, liberty, and justice. The assassination of his alter ego, Steve Rogers, rocked the comic world, leaving numerous questions about his life and death. This book discusses topics including the representation of Nazi Germany in Captain America Comics from the 1940s to the 1960s; the creation of Captain America in light of the Jewish American experience; the relationship between Captain America and UK Marvel’s Captain Britain; the groundbreaking partnership between Captain America and African American superhero the Falcon; and the attempts made to kill the character before his “real” death.

About the Author(s)

Robert G. Weiner is associate humanities librarian at Texas Tech University. His work has been published in the Journal of Popular Culture, Public Library Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, International Journal of Comic Art and Popular Music and Society.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Robert G. Weiner

Foreword by John Shelton Lawrence

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3703-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5340-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Key to Abbreviations      xi
Foreword by John Shelton Lawrence      1
Introduction by Robert G. Weiner      9

GENERAL HISTORY
O Captain! My Captain!
Christopher J. Hayton and David L. Albright      15

WORLD WAR II
Madmen, Morons, and Monocles: The Portrayal of the Nazis in Captain America
John E. Moser      24
The Invaders and the All-Star Squadron: Roy Thomas Revisits the Golden Age
Mark R. McDermott      36
Graphic Imagery: Jewish American Comic Book Creators’ Depictions of Class, Race, Patriotism and the Birth of the Good Captain
Nicholas Yanes      53

RACIAL ISSUES
Not Just Another Racist Honkey: A History of Racial Representation in Captain America and Related Publications
Ora C. McWilliams      66
Weakness Is a Crime: Captain America and the Eugenic Ideal in Early Twentieth-Century America
Brian E. Hack.      79

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES
Sixty-Five Years of Guilt Over the Death of Bucky
Robert G. Weiner      90
Captain America, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and the Vietnam Era
Shawn Gillen      104

COMPARISONS OF CAPTAIN AMERICA WITH OTHER CHARACTERS
The Historical Value of Bronze Age Comics: Captain America and the Haunted Tank
Nicholas D. Molnar      116
The Ultimate American?
Jackson Sutliff      121
The Alpha and the Omega: Captain America and the Punisher
Cord Scott      125
Captain America and Captain Britain: Geopolitical Identity and “the Special Relationship”
Jason Dittmer      135
History of the Marvel Zombies and Colonel America among the Marvel Zombies
Mark R. McDermott      147

POLITICAL INTERPRETATIONS AND THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA
“Captain America Must Die”: The Many Afterlives of Steve Rogers
David Walton      160
Stevie’s Got a Gun: Captain America and His Problematic Use of Lethal Force
Phillip L. Cunningham      176
A Genealogy of Evil: Captain America vs. the Shadows of the National Imagined Community
Christian Steinmetz      190

LITERARY INTERPRETATIONS
The Man Behind the Mask? Models of Masculinity and the Persona of Heroes in Captain America Prose Novels
Mike S. DuBose      204

GUIDES
A Selected Webography: FanFiction
Freedonia Paschall      215
A Selected Filmographic Essay
Cord Scott and Robert G. Weiner      218
A Selected Bibliographic Essay: Academic Literature
Jason Dittmer and Robert G. Weiner      227
Afterword by J.M. DeMatteis      241
About the Contributors      245
Index      247

Book Reviews & Awards

“An excellent anthology of essays for anyone interested in both comics as well as popular of 20th century America…a great starting point for people interested in studying or understanding Captain America as well as a great tool to enlist in those already involved with studying the character”—NEPCA Journal.