The Avengers was always my favorite comic book as a kid. Of course, at the helm, there was always Captain America. Cap (that's what his good friends, like me, call him) has to be my absolute favorite super hero.
Now, I know that the Super Soldier program that made him the hero he is sounds suspiciously similar to steroids and human growth hormones. Admittedly these are the same things that cause me to now despise other childhood heroes of mine (despite how unlikely it is that Mark MGwire is reading this, I would like to tell him at this point to go pound sand). However, let’s remember it was a comic book written in the early forties and assume they didn’t know what they were eluding to just yet.
The reason I’ve always liked Captain America is because he was a regular guy. Ok, well he wasn’t regular, but he was a hell of a lot closer to regular than the other super heroes with their ability to fly or zap people. Science made him unusually strong and gave him a shield. The rest was his attitude and mental toughness. The things that made me love Captain America are similar to the things that make Batman the best of the DC characters. It’s like comparing an athlete with incredible talent who keeps his head level and performs under pressure to the many that blow their chances. It’s Michael Jordan compared to Kwame Brown. You now ask, MJ and who? I then answer, exactly. When a guy makes the most of a gift, regardless of how fictional he may be, it’s uplifting.
In 2006 and 2007, Marvel had their heroes engage in a Civil War. The events that unfolded did two major things. First, they got me hooked once again on comic books (it was a great series). Second, they resulted in the death of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America. While I was once again fascinated by the Marvel Universe, I was nothing less than scarred by the loss of my champion of freedom and liberty.
During the following years, I would randomly sigh, prompting my wife to ask what was bothering me. “I miss Steve,” I would say. “I can’t believe he’s gone.” She wouldn’t respond. I know! How about some comfort during my grief? Sheesh!
Anyway, when I subscribed to several comic books in the coming months, I left Captain America off my list. To put it another way, I pouted. Sure someone took over the identity of Captain America (his old sidekick Bucky Barnes, like I didn’t see that coming) but it just wasn’t the same to me. I was upset that Steve Rogers was dead and I planned on showing Marvel my displeasure by only paying for several of their other titles. I refused to subscribe to Captain America. I’d show them. Hmph!
As time went by, my grudge weakened. I’d find myself in the graphic novel section of the bookstore, flipping through the newest volume of Captain America. As it turned out, the powers that be at Marvel did a pretty good job of keeping Bucky on the straight and narrow. I imagined Steve Rogers smiling down from heaven. I knew then that Cap, the original Cap, would not have wanted me to take this out on Bucky, or myself, which is what I was doing. Soon, I subscribed to Captain America as well.
Shortly before my first issue of my new subscription came in, I was reading one of my other comics: The New Avengers. As I reached the end of the issue, I found the final frame was a full page picture of Steve Rogers himself, encouraging the Avengers not to give up.
My wife thought I was choking on something form the other room and came rushing in. I tried to find the words to tell her my main man Steve was alive and ready to kick some bad guy ass once again. I’m still not sure what came out, but the tears in my eyes must have conveyed everything because she looked annoyed. I won’t get into the details here, mostly because I’m not sure I understand all the made-up science behind it myself, but I was excited and he was definitely still alive.
Even in my euphoria, there was a part of me that stung. I spent so much time holding that grudge and I didn’t realize that I had missed several issues explaining how Steve Rogers made it back to the land of the living. Instead of pouting, I could have seen it all first hand. I felt like an ass.
There is a lesson to be learned here that I feel Cap would want me to share. The lesson is: buy anything and everything that you can, because you never know what it might be worth later or what you might miss out on. Besides, spending as much money as possible helps the economy and anything you end up not wanting can be sold later on eBay.
That’s the American way!