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. He also gets his own feature film this summer, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and to mark the moment we’ll be talking to writers, artists, actors, directors and musicians about the star-spangled icon’s legacy and future. Today: Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins.
Billy Corgan is in a good place to consider history these days — the musician turned 44 on Thursday and this May marks 20 years since the release of the “Gish,” the first Smashing Pumpkins album. But when we asked him about the 70-year milestone just reached by the Marvel Comics character Captain America, the dark rock autuer (and comics fan) was more interested in talking about the hero’s present than his past.
“I think Captain America is very relevant to today because he represents the best ideals of American values; a sort of ‘We need to do what’s right no matter what the consequences,” the Chicago-area native said.
Corgan added that in a Marvel Universe crowded with ancient gods, planet-eating aliens and killer robots as big as buildings, it’s endearing and inspiring that Steve Rogers excels as a mere mortal (albeit one enhanced by the super-solider serum).
“I love that the character is not imbued with superhero powers,” Corgan said. “He just has a great faith in America, and what American freedom represents, and that is where his power comes from. I see him as a symbol of faith in the human spirit.”
– Geoff Boucher
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