Thursday, May 13, 2010

More than a Soldier

(Partly inspired by this)

Whenever someone makes the arguement "Mark Millar's take on Captain America in Ultimates is a realistic portrayal of the attitudes of real World War Two vets." Please point out the following.

1) Jack Kirby? You know, guy who co-created Cap? Brought him back in the Avengers? Actually had a run at scripting him? Yeah, that guy? WAS A BATTLEFIELD SCOUT IN WORLD WAR TWO. Just saying he might know a thing or two, and his portrayal might be based on something a little more accurate than whatever Millar is working with.

2) Millar's concept works if and only if you operate on the theory that Steve Rogers was an everyman. The one problem with that is that the everyman would not be BEGGING TO ENLIST IN THE ARMY NEARLY TWO FULL YEARS BEFORE THE WAR CAME TO AMERICA.

I really can't overstate this point - before Pearl Harbour Americans were deeply divided on the war and many if not most were hoping to avoid it altogether. And more than a few Americans knew about the horrors of World War One (you'll note there isn't a lot of popular fiction/movies/comics set in that time frame? There's probably a reason for that) and were justly afraid of being cut to pieces in a meat grinder. Even the most patriotic volunteer would probably breathe a sigh of relief at being classified 4F.

But not Steve Rogers. No, this is a guy who, having seen the worst of the Great Depression, having it killed his entirely family and left him sickly and frail, and in all probability knowing full well the horrors of war, decided that wasn't going to get in his way. He was going to sign up for an experimental and likely lethal effort to help America save the world.

That's not an everyman attitude.

That's Captain America


Thud said...

wow -- i couldn't agree more about Kirby's Cap. ...I miss that guy

Thud said...

but then, Cap has always been my favorite. Like Bats, he had no super power. But, unlike Bats, he had optimism with his idealism. It may be cheesy, but Cap inspires me out of my cynicism.