Captain America is an iconic hero for the the ages. And, as with many heroes in the comic world, he is often defined by the villains he faces and battles as much as by his own character. In the case of Captain America, who is also known as the First Avenger, and as the Sentinel of Liberty, his character often defines the types of villains he deals with.
As a living emblem of American pride, the American sense of justice and a true believer in American freedom and liberty, Captain America often, and naturally, finds his duty as defeating the enemies of justice, freedom, and liberty. Hence, Captain America’s personal Rogues Gallery is chock full of fascists, tyrants, wouldd-be dictators and genocides. Perhaps unusual for the world of comic superheroes, Captain America’s greatest foe is a real-life villain, the Nazi tyrant, Adolf Hitler. When Timely Comics published its first issue of Captain America Comics, the cover featured the Star-Spangled Avenger punching out Adolf Hitler himself. And this was BEFORE America entered World War Two!
Here is a Rogues Gallery of Captain America’s Greatest Villians and Foes:
Adolf Hitler: The leader of the world’s worst tyranny, Hitler was Captain America’s first target. Hitler (in the comics), commanded the allegiance of several Nazi/Fascist Supervillians who became life-long enemies of Captain America. 1st Appearance,(Timely/Marvel), Captain America Comics #1 (1941)
Red Skull (Johann Shmidt): Leader of HYDRA, the Red Skull was a Nazi villain working for Hitler in World War Two. After the war, the Red Skull continued his villainy and is counted as Captain America’s worst enemy. NOTE: the Red Skull’s power is greatly amplified when he has possessiono of the Cosmic Cube. 1st Appearance,Captain America Comics #7 (1941)
Baron Zemo I (Heinrich Zemo): Nazi war criminal from World War Two, Baron Zemo founded the Masters of Evil after the war and Zemo and his Masters of Evil became major foes of Captain America and his new team, the Avengers. 1st Appearance, Avengers #4, Vol.1 (1964)
Baron Zemo II (Helmut Zemo): Son of Baron Heinrich Zemo, Helmut Zemo formed his own versions the Masters of Evil in order to exact revenge on Captain America and the Avengers, whom he blamed for his father’s death. Helmut Zemo also, like his father, had pretensions of glory and sought world domination. 1st Appearance, Captain America #168 (1973)
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker – Nazi war criminal from World War Two, Baron von Strucker took over leadership of HYDRA and continued as a major foe of Captain America in the modern age. Also known as the Supreme Hydra. 1st Appearance, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #5 (1964)
HYDRA: Terrorist organization that seeks world domination. HYDRA has origins in Nazi Germany and has a Fascistic philosophy. Leaders have included the Red Skull, and Baron Von Strucker. 1st Appearance, Strange Tales #135 (Aug 1965)
Revamping Captain America’s Look With the release of Captain America: The First Avenger this July it was inevitable that costume companies would try to capitalize on the movie buzz by creating new costumes inspired by the film. Disguise has the Marvel costume licensed and they introduced new movie-inspired Captain America costumes into their product line for 2011. Disguise also has a comic book version of the Captain America costume, but the new movie Captain America costume is completely revamped. Here is picture of the comic book version next to the new movie version. Quite an improvement, I think.
The new Captain America costumes have a modern look to them. The blues and reds are much darker on the 2011 costumes and the costume itself has a sleeker look than the comic book version. Also, the introduction of the brown into the costume gives it a more rugged look that makes it look less cartoon-like. Disguise released these new Captain America costumes for both kids and adults, and they’ve also added several new accessories to their line from the movie. The new version of the large Captain America shield is one of my favorites. I’ve also seen the Red Skull costumes they created, but they are not releasing the costume images to the public yet. The costumes are done as well as can be expected for a Halloween costume, so those who are interested in what the Red Skull costume looks like should check Halloween costumes sites often for the updated images. Regardless of how the movie does at the box office I’m confident that the Captain America costumes will do well for Halloween 2011. Here are a couple more images of the movie costume line.
How do you think the movie and the costumes will go over with Captain America fans?
The two commercials shown on the Superbowl broadcast for Marvel Comics upcoming Thor and Captain America movies failed to impress this Marvel comics fan. While true comics and superhero aficionados like myself and likely readers of this post (True Believers, in the words of Stan “the Man” Lee) no doubt will flock to the theaters to see these movies, the casual fan, or the football fan who saw the ads today, were left with a big “Huh?” feeling if they saw these quick and short Marvel Movie ads.
As a big fan of the Avengers, and of Captain America and Thor in particular, I eagerly awaited my first “official” look at the movie trailers. What I saw on Superbowl Sunday left me worried about Marvel’s (er, I mean Disney’s) marketing people, and whether or not they understand how to make an ad that will draw in non-comic geeks. The Thor advertisement was way too short, too quick, with scenes that flew by with the speed of Mjolnir itself. That is good if you are looking to smack Loki upside the head, but did not provide any depth, information, or plotlines to the fan who may not already be into the Marvel Thor mythos.
The Captain America ad was slightly better, a bit more understandable, but again, the scenes flew by like a red, white, and blue spinning shield. I think I caught a glimpse of the Red Skull, but it could have just been a guy who laid out in the sun too long. Again, anyone not overly familiar with Cap the character, may think his actual name is Avenger, not Captain America. His actual name was shown for .25 nanoseconds (Quicksilver sneezes slower than that!), and again, it leaves far too little information in the minds or the retinas of the football fans who saw the ad. On the good side, football fans (I am one, after all), do generally like movies with explosions and guns, and the ad did show some of that type of action. The best look at Cap’s famous shield did so sans red, white, and blue colors or the famous Cap star. Come on!