By Jim Beard
Over seven decades ago, history occurred with the debut of Captain America in 1941. 70 years later, Steve Rogers and his star-spangled alter ego have grown to iconic status, remaining a mainstay of the Marvel Universe while also expanding into the realms of television, film and more.
On April 4, 2014, the Sentinel of Liberty returns to the big screen in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" from Marvel Studios. As the count down to Chris Evans picking up the shield once more heats up, we present the definitive comics history of Cap, from his debut to the modern day.
After a period of inactivity, Captain America and his youthful sidekick Bucky returned to active duty in 1954, but to a new world of foreign agents and shadowy intrigue. In the 1950’s, looks could be deceiving.
Cap shared the spotlight with two of his old compatriots, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, in YOUNG MEN #24, which told individual tales of the three heroes’ return to greatness. The Red Skull planned new schemes in the post-war world, but when school teacher Steve Rogers learned of them he once again donned his famous uniform and unbeatable shield and, with Bucky at his side, made the Skull think he’d seen a ghost.
That year also provided Cap with two other homes to hang his cowl. In MEN’S ADVENTURE #27, he confronted the mystery of “The Girl Who Was Afraid,” and over in his own title, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #76, he rejoined the Army and flew to the aide of Betty Ross. After another attempt on his life in MEN’S ADVENTURE #28, Cap confronted the Executioner in YOUNG MEN #25.
A puzzle on the waterfront presented itself to our hero in CAPTAIN AMERICA #77, as Cap defended our atomic-powered sea vessels against the greedy plans of Communist spies. Steve Rogers seemed to turn traitor in YOUNG MEN #26, but it turned out to be a ruse to draw out a dastardly Red agent.
The Red Skull returned to vex Captain America in YOUNG MEN #27, but still failed to conquer his enemy. A Soviet operative with shocking powers named Electro surprised Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #78, but in the end, our hero got the drop on him.
The Sentinel of Liberty’s newest age of heroism came to a swift stop after 1954, plunging him once again into the deep freeze, but his greatest hour came along in the 1960’s, paving the way for one of the greatest super hero revivals of all.
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