CAPTAIN AMERICA: A 70-YEAR SALUTE
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: Mark Millar
It was a very different country when Captain America first brought his message of patriotism, adventure and courage to young readers. A skeptic might say the innately wholesome hero’s best days as beloved symbol were in the past — flags were far more fashionable than the Roosevelt era — but Scottish comics writer Mark Millar said he has a different view from the other side of the Atlantic.
“Actually America’s economic decline makes Captain America more attractive to people in a strange way,” said Millar, one of the top names writing for Marvel Comics and a creator who has watched his anti-heroes hit the Hollywood screen in the films “Wanted” and “Kick-Ass.”
Millar said the purity, legacy and hopefulness of the Captain America icongraphy take on strength when the readership is confronted by real-world anxieties or eroding national stature.
“Like Superman, he was created in a difficult time to give the country a little hope and the U.S.A. could use some good news right now with a nice, straightforward hero making everyone feel a little better,” Millar said. “James Bond performed the same function for post-imperial Britain after World War II. We’d lost our empire, but here was a hero who represented the best of being British and made us feel good about ourselves. As Brazil, Russia, India and China threaten the American empire in these difficult times, it’s nice to have a hero out there kicking ass and wearing a flag we all feel comfortable with.”
What do you think: Is Cap built for the 21st century?
– Geoff Boucher
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