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 countdown 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.
Captain America flew to Merry Olde England and back again in 1981, while a new romance flowered and old foes waited in the wings.
A killer stalked Britain in CAPTAIN AMERICA #253, prompting 1940’s hero Union Jack and Spitfire to call in Cap to help. Why? The shadowy murderer turned out to be the vampire Baron Blood, and in CAPTAIN AMERICA #254 he literally lost his head when he ran up against our hero’s mighty shield.
Still in England, the living legend revisited his origins and the gift of his shield by President Roosevelt in CAPTAIN AMERICA #255. From there he looked into crumbling old Greymoor Castle in CAPTAIN AMERICA #256, and rescued the Hulk from the clutches of the Master of Matrix Eight and his Gammadroid in CAPTAIN AMERICA #257.
Back in the States, Steve Rogers continued to romance Bernie Rosenthal, but things hit a snag when the Blockbuster threatened to burn the town down in CAPTAIN AMERICA #258. Cap received some timely help to foil the bad guy and his boss, a crooked land developer, from a group of firefighters who grieved over the loss of one of their own.
While tracking down a biker gang at the bequest of a father searching for his wayward son, Cap struggled to save his shield from the multi-armed menace of Doctor Octopus in CAPTAIN AMERICA #259. That little adventure also won our hero a new, custom motorcycle from the grateful father. From there, the Sentinel of Liberty helped the authorities test a new security system at Rykers Island in CAPTAIN AMERICA #260, but the whole deal went south when he encountered two old sparring partners in the prison: Thumper and Deacon.
The Avengers renewed their association with Cap in AVENGERS #211, when the hero joined with a new line-up of Tigra, Thor, the Wasp, and Yellowjacket to introduce themselves to an eager public. The joy didn’t last long for in AVENGERS #213 Cap presided over the court martial of Yellowjacket, who stood accused of dereliction of duty and reckless endangerment.
A new Captain America movie being filmed on the West Coast in CAPTAIN AMERICA #261 brought Cap into conflict with the new Nomad and a group called the Nihilist Order. Nomad worked for a mysterious personage known as Teacher, as revealed in CAPTAIN AMERICA #262, but our hero knew him better as the Red Skull.
The Skull tried to turn the Ameridroid on Cap, but he turned the tables back on the villain and also foiled his foe’s plot to use hypnotic suggestions through a TV documentary in CAPTAIN AMERICA #263. The Ameridroid wiped up the place with the Skull and destroyed both himself and the ex-Nazi in the explosive process.
Cap wrapped up his year by facing off against a man and his Telepathy Augmenter and racing through a series of warped realities to get to the bottom of the baffling mystery in CAPTAIN AMERICA #264.