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: Matt Fraction
For a hero created during the Roosevelt era, Captain America is aging quite well, according to Matt Fraction, the star comic-book writer. The reason, in his view, is nothing less than the enduring appeal of the American dream.
“I think there’s a reason why people from all over the world come to America — it’s what America means,” Fraction said. “It’s got nothing to do with borders or language or skin color, it’s about huddled masses yearning to be free. And as long as people want freedom, Cap is relevant.”
Fraction, best known as the architect of “Fear Itself” and for his bestselling work with the X-Men, Thor and Iron Man, said that for him Captain America conjures up potent memories and images: “All the stuff our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for. All of the ideals and optimism the Declaration of Independence and Constitution hold. Our potential and our promise. And great Jack Kirby comics.”
Despite the considerable shadow of Kirby — who co-created the red, white and blue hero in 1941 — Fraction didn’t quibble when it came to his favorite incarnation of Captain America.
“Ed’s run,” Fraction said, referring to the unforgettable and often unsettling tales written by Ed Brubaker, the Fraction friend who brought back Bucky Barnes, crafted the mythology of the Winter Soldier and dared to assassinate Steve Rogers. “He’s really made Cap vital and relevant for a post-national era. It’s an amazing piece of work. And he paid me thirty-five dollars to say that.”
– Geoff Boucher
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