Friday, June 17, 2011

Emails #57: Two-Fisted Justice

RICK: My Captain America feels the losses. He also knows that ending the war quickly is the only way to save lives. He looks over his shoulder at the men who have fallen and it only galvanizes his efforts. Should have copied the interview link but it is since lost. How would World War II have been different if America had gotten involved in 1934? Or 1936? Or 1938? Part of the reason for this isolationist policy was the horrors of WWI. This was Europe's war. The land struggles and ethnic rivalries were European. America was not yet a super power either. It is a sign of the nation's moral softness that we did not intervene earlier. Think of the lesson we did not learn in Rwanda. Evil must always be made to face the righteous fury of those who stand against it. We came to the aid of France, Britain and Russia when they were on the mat NOT because we opposed evil, a European evil so far away. Captain America was dreamed up by Kirby and Simon BEFORE America entered the war. They understood this evil and they had Cap fighting Hitler and Tojo before Pearl Harbor. In their comic, Cap is a hero, a full blown patriot. There were no excuses for him being American. He doled out two-fisted justice where it was needed. This was not some impassioned plea by two Jewish kids for America to sit on the sidelines and wait it out. Simon and Kirby saw America as being in the thick of it, leading by example.

In real life, a giant French flag was returned to France by an American GI who stole it in the days just after WWII had ended. The flag had been hanging from the Arc d'Triumph as a national symbol to the French people that the war was over. The guy kept it for over 60 years and then he returned it anonymously. Do you know what the French said? They were not angry. The GI had risked his life for the lives of the French and "souvenirs" had been taken at war's end. No charges were going to be filed. No recriminations. They were overjoyed to have it back and accepted it in a highly emotional ceremony. This is the America we live in. Strong and weak. Moral and immoral. Honest and hypocritical.

BEN: Exactly. Any "Sorry we're not perfect" is silly--because it's obvious we're not. Should Britain say "sorry we tried to take over the world before the Nazi's great-great grand parents were glimmers in someone's eye."? Blah. Of course don't put it in people's faces "we saved you" because, well, the French saved us once. If folks look at Cap and see an imperialist they're probably going to see that no matter what. My Cap is like yours. You can't write an insensitive Cap. An a-hole Cap. A brash, greedy cowboy Cap. That's not Cap. He's a completely pure can-do boy scout who gets what his job is in the war (eventually.) At first, he might think that protecting the men is his focus or that he's simply a soldier to the max, but he then learns that it's not his muscles that are his gift, but his compassion and patriotism-- a patriotism that is American, but not so foreign that no other country can understand it. It has it's own spin, but it's not like we invented patriotism or freedom-- we just have slightly different hallmarks. We didn't invent republics or democracy, but we made it our own and it's pretty good. The thing with Cap is you can go all the way back to the Constitution with him. He's like a founding father! Screw all the petty politicians and other BS of the day, Cap doesn't care about that. He cares about the real America. THAT is what we're talking about here, the ideal of America. Eff that political BS. Cap is a true American. (Can't imagine dropping a $200M bomb. No idea either how they can spend that much on Cap. Superman at least spins the world on his finger which costs cash... although that last film budget was still too much.)

PROOOOOOF that the new Captain America movie will suck. I am not inspired by these photos. Chris Evans. Steroid use? He is unrecognizable. The skinny Evans was probably a better bet.

My bro pointed out that Evans did bulk up for The Losers. Surprisingly so there. Still, ya, not inspired. Cap bike is awful clean. I like the painted wings, but they're in sharp contrast to the hockey shoulder pads. The Skull bikes look kinda silly. Also no dirt. No dirt is how you usually can tell a low budget period film... just sayin...

Cap's bike is ridiculous. The Skull bikes are even more so. Don't forget that the Cosmic Cube didn't exist for 30 more years in the comics. Cap would have an ordinary issue bike. There aren't enough pieces of equipment to go around and it would be transportation. I don't think that the stunt man should be riding it because it looks like the paint is still wet. It would take about a minute to get bugs, dust and mud all over that thing. The Skull bikes are silly because it tips me off that we are not really in WWII France but rather in some fantasy land where evil is connoted with monocolor precision. If you told me that the bikes belonged to the set of Battlestar Galactica, I wouldn't bat an eye. Too clean? Just off the factory floor. Evans can be seen praying to be released from his contract. He was better off as the Torch and I think he knows it. What happened to his tattoos? The wings on his helmet at this point don't do anything for me? Like an after thought.

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.
-Hamilton Fish

"Our country, right or wrong." When right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.
-Carl Schurz


  1. I wonder what role Kirby and Simon being Jewish played in how and why they created the character when and as they did. At a guess, they might have had a better idea than most in this country what was going on inside the Reich. By 1941, the direction it was headed was fairly clear to anyone who cared to see. Most, even many in power and with influence, didn't even late into the war.

  2. Through the course of this project I have wondered that myself. I didn't uncovering any written materials that would give a clear indication but maybe a Simon & Kirby fan could point to something in the record. Their Captain America comic came out in early 1941, several months before the events of Pearl Harbor. I think I see Cap as an expression of fantasy empowerment on their part. The war was already raging. America was supplying munitions. We as a whole wanted to stay out of this European conflict. Various groups wanted complete isolationism and others wanted complete involvement. Simon & Kirby being Jewish has probably more to do with the publishing business at the time but I might like to think that they recognized the evil being done and felt, strongly, that the U.S. should be involved even if that meant just by superhero proxy. Good question. Thanks for asking. If you can find out an answer, please post it here. RICK