Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cap is Dead; Long Live Cap!

On January 30, 2008, National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" reported "Captain America, Back from the Dead (Sort Of)". It reports a changing of the guard and a reconfiguration.

Last Spring, the death of Captain America had played hard with folks who read comic books or followed pop culture. See: Captain-America posting "Events Leading Up to the Death of Captain America"; PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Captain America: RIP?" (03/19/07); and Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog posting "Captain America Dies -- What Does His Will Say?" (03/17/07).

Rumors were reported last Fall, however, that Captain America might be resurrected somehow. The NPR News Blog posted an article regarding that speculation entitled "The Return of Captain America" (10/16/07).

Captain America is on his way back. And this time he'll be armed.

As you may remember, the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, was shot and killed a few months ago during a civil war in the Marvel Comics universe.

But there's a new Captain America, although we won't learn his identity until his debut in January. The big differences already: He's carrying a gun and he's wearing a new uniform.

I confess I've never been much of a Cap fan. Spider-Man is my favorite read. But growing up in Canada, I always had a sense of Captain America being, you know, a stand-up guy who fought the evil-doers with his fists and his wits. I don't recall him using a gun in the few times I remember reading his comics.

But as The Washington Post notes, back in the '40s, Captain America carried a gun. And not just any gun ... a machine gun. And his sidekick, Bucky, had a flamethrower. So perhaps it's just a case of everything old being new again. * * *

This most recent report by NPR confirms the revival & reintroduction of a new Captain America.
In the alternate universe of comic books, there's a crisis brewing between the U.S. and Russia. America is being threatened by a former Soviet general and his Nazi partner.

Sounds like a job for Captain America.

But Captain America died last year, shot by assassins on the steps of the federal courthouse in New York City.

On Wednesday, a new issue of Captain America hits comic book stores and with it comes a new Captain America.

It's not the same character ... he's still dead. But the comic didn't die with him. * * *

This restoration is a replacement, not a resurrection, and it clearly represents a change. But it finds roots in the comic book's past storyline:

Steve Rogers (Captain America) was found frozen in ice in the mid-1960s and revived to become an American hero, thwarting villains with his signature Shield.

Bucky was also found frozen, but he was revived by the Soviets, who turned him into an evil killer known as The Winter Soldier.

This character is now, once again, a good guy, but he's no Boy Scout. Unlike the modern version of
Captain America, Bucky carries a gun. * * *

A message here for the rest of us is about change and revival -- how we can retool, rethink, resolve, reorient, reinvent, restore, restart, and reintroduce ourselves.

It is a good storyline that should sell comic books. But, it also represents a good attitude for living.

"The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."

--Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
(121 AD - 180 AD)
from his Meditations (167 AD)
(posted in full by M.I.T.'s Internet Classics Archive)