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Essential Captain America

Essential Cap: Operation Zero Point

Revisit Captain America Theater of War: Operation Zero Point with the one-shot's writers, Daniel and Charles Knauf!

With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology in the Marvel comics.

From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every other Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!

And for even more on "Captain America: The First Avenger" visit the film's official teaser site as well as its hub page right here on Marvel.com!
Captain America Theater of War: Operation Zero Point cover art by Mitch Breitweiser

By Jim Beard

As things heat up with anticipation for this summer's "Captain America: The First Avenger" feature film, we're reminded of some of the amazing comics that influenced the movie. CAPTAIN AMERICA THEATER OF WAR: OPERATION ZERO POINT, by Daniel and Charles Knauf, told the tale of a daring mission behind enemy lines during the dark days of World War II and an incredible mystery for Captain America.

In the story, Cap’s orders sent him to a forest in occupied Poland to link up with an Allied agent--but things didn’t exactly go according to Hoyle. Seems Cap's mission uncovered a secret Nazi UFO project, a cyborg commandant called the Butcher and a workforce of Jewish slaves. To say that the Sentinel of Liberty had his hands full that time would be quite an understatement.

Father and son writing team Daniel and Charles Knauf tackled the one-shot with gusto, creating an authentic atmosphere of vintage Cap action and peppering their script with delicious details. We checked in with the boys for a brief chat about their tour of duty with the legendary Captain America.

Captain America Theater of War: Operation Zero Point art by Mitch Breitweiser

Marvel.com: What was the genesis of CAPTAIN AMERICA THEATER OF WAR: OPERATION ZERO POINT? And what was your initial reaction upon learning you'd be writing it?

Daniel Knauf: Marvel approached us with the THEATER OF WAR project right after Captain America's death in "Civil War."

Charles Knauf:  They wanted a [limited series] that would star the original Cap without hurting the current storyline, so they decided to run with a series that takes place during World War II.

Marvel.com: As writers, what is it about the character of Captain America in general that gets you so jazzed? And more specifically, about Cap during his Golden Age career?

Charles Knauf:  Captain America is a wonderful character; the figurehead of the Marvel universe. There are a few characters that were forged in triumph, not tragedy, and Captain America is one of them.

Daniel Knauf:  With OPERATION ZERO-POINT, we got to explore a time when he was young and inexperienced. We really got to see him grow into the hero we know today.

Captain America Theater of War: Operation Zero Point art by Mitch Breitweiser

Marvel.com: How did you approach the character knowing it would be a WWII story, in terms of speech, attitudes, etc.? What did you concentrate on for that "authentic" feeling?

Charles Knauf: I loved the tough-guy novels and movies of the forties, so most of the speech came naturally.

Marvel.com: What absolutely, positively has to be there for it to be the very best Captain America WWII story it can be?

Daniel Knauf: Oh, man. Nazis for sure. Those guys need a good red, white and blue beatdown more than anyone.

Marvel.com: What about OPERATION ZERO POINT are you most proud of? What one or two things do you look back upon and say "we done good"?

Captain America Theater of War: Operation Zero Point art by Mitch Breitweiser

Daniel Knauf:  It may sound really corny, but that's a hard question to answer because you're so proud of them all.

Charles Knauf: I think, as a pure one-shot, it was the entire book. Lots of fun working on that one.

Daniel Knauf: Plus, we got to see Nazi death rays!

Marvel.com: If you were called up for duty to write another WWII Captain America tale, what kind of a story would you really love to tell about him?

Charles Knauf: A "Heart of Darkness"-style story would be fun. Maybe something set in Japan with Wolverine.

Read CAPTAIN AMERICA THEATER OF WAR: OPERATION ZERO POINT now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, or find it collected in CAPTAIN AMERICA: AMERICA FIRST!

Check out the official "Captain America: The First Avenger" teaser site as well as its hub page right here on Marvel.com for the latest on Cap's big screen adventure hitting theaters July 22!

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