Certain images are iconic and stay with us throughout our lives. Some are universally known like Batman’s symbol or the Rolling Stones’ lips and tongue logo. For me, my brain has never forgotten Captain America knocking Hitler’s block off on the cover of Captain America Comics No. 1, published way back in March of 1941.
I wasn’t born until the late seventies and didn’t see the cover until the early eighties. My grammar school’s library had a book about the Star-Spangled Avenger and it shared that magnificent cover. It was in the Thomas Elementary library that Captain America became my childhood hero and my lifelong love with comic books began (I was going to say affair, but that makes it sound cheap and tawdry).
Captain America’s solo title was one of the first comic books series I collected. Before the advent of the internet and Marvel Unlimited, reading Cap’s early adventures was relegated (by my wallet) to the occasional trade like War & Remembrance. I like those Bronze Age stories and those very first, earnest adventures. A kind of bridge between the two is the 1991 four issue miniseries, The Adventures of Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty.
Cap is now eighty years old and this series was published to help commemorate is fiftieth anniversary. At fourteen years of age, I bought each issue as they were released thirty years ago. A lot has happened in the years since, but the comics still hold up. In the closing decade of the Twentieth Century (that phrasing doesn’t make me feel as old as saying “in the late 1900s”), I always thought if a Captain America movie was ever to be made (a better one, or at least another one), Adventures would be the perfect source material. The final arena battle would have been awesome on the big screen.
Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire went back to the beginning and gave Captain America’s origin story some minor tweaks. They beefed it up and fleshed it out to just the right degree and included Nazi spies, war profiteers, and the Red Skull. This is Steve Rogers, Year One: naïve, ambitious and still learning. Its wham! bang! movie serial style is still cinematic, fresh, and, like in ’91, I wish there were more installments.