Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Captain America #247

Marvel Comics' Captain America has starred in three movies from Disney Studios that are some of the most successful in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's also costarred in three Avengers movies with two more in the works.

Marvel and Disney are to be commended on how well they've handled their hero 'out of time.'
When Jack Kirby and Joe Simon introduced Captain America just prior to WWII Cap was an instant success.  When the war hit he became the red, white and blue symbol for everything America stood for.

After the war ended Captain America disappeared in the pages of comic books until an unsuccessful short run during the height of the Cold War Commie Scare.

It wasn't until the early 1960s that writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby brought Cap back.
Discovered in a block of ice, frozen and in suspended animation, Cap was revived by the newly formed Avengers and soon became their leader.  Cap would go on to star in his own series, most notable by his creator Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee.

For a number of years afterwards nobody really knew what to do or make of Cap-until writer Roger Stern and artist John Byrne took over Cap's title.

Stern and Byrne captured the essence of Captain America as a man out of time.  The reestablished him as a viable character, brought in a new love interest, established him in a career and gave him a new life in the 20th Century.

That's not to say they ignored his past.  In fact in the first issue of their run Cap faces off against one of his most deadly foes: Baron Strucker-or did he?

S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury have Strucker incarcerated, only to have him escape and attack Captain America in Fury's flying car.

When the battle is over and Strucker recaptured and he is destined to spend his remaining years behind bars he gives a quick Nazi salute and explodes!

To everyone's surprise Strucker is a robot.  But who sent him and why?

In later issues Cap tackles Baron Blood, Mr. Hyde, Dragon Man and various other bad guys and even is urged to run for president!

Unfortunately Stern and Byrne's run on Captain America was short as creative and editorial conflicts with then editor-and-chief Jim Shooter resulted in Stern and Byrne leaving the title.

Their run on Captain America is credited as being one of the most influential in the series by making Cap a fully-realized and viable character.  Much of their influence can be seen in later issues by other creators and in Cap's screen adventures.