Captain America

captain america

Captain America is a superhero that appears in Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in 1941, from Marvel Comics’ predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. For nearly all of the character’s publication history, Captain America was the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a sickly young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with an indestructible shield that can be thrown as a weapon.

An intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II, Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character during the wartime period. After the war ended, the character’s popularity waned and he disappeared by the 1950s. He was reintroduced during the Silver Age of comics when he was revived from suspended animation by the superhero team the Avengers in 1964.

Captain America Comics #1 — cover-dated March 1941 and on sale in December 1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, but a full year into World War II — showed the protagonist punching Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the jaw — sold nearly one million copies. While most readers responded favorably to the comic, some took objection. Simon noted, ‘When the first issue came out we got a lot of… threatening letters and hate mail. Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.’

Steve Rogers was born July 4, 1917, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, to Irish immigrants Sarah and Joseph Rogers. Joseph Rogers died when Steve was only a child and his mother, Sarah, died of pneumonia while Steve was a teen. By early 1940, before America’s entry into World War II, Rogers is a tall but scrawny fine arts student specializing in illustration. Disturbed by the rise of the Third Reich, Rogers attempts to enlist, only to be rejected due to being in poor shape. U.S. Army General Chester Phillips, looking for test subjects, offers Rogers the chance to serve his country by taking part in a top-secret defense project — Operation: Rebirth, which seeks to develop a means of creating physically superior soldiers. Rogers volunteers for the research and, after a rigorous selection process, is chosen as the first human test subject for the Super-Soldier serum.

After the physical transformation, a Nazi spy reveals himself and shoots the scientist who invented the serum, but because he had committed the crucial portions to memory, the serum could not be duplicated. The United States government, making the most of its one super-soldier and to hide all information about Operation: Rebirth and its failure, re-imagines him as a superhero who serves as both a counter-intelligence agent and a propaganda symbol to counter Nazi Germany’s head of terrorist operations, the Red Skull. To that end, Rogers is given a uniform modeled after the American flag, a bulletproof shield, a personal side arm, and the codename Captain America.

The formula enhances all of his metabolic functions and prevents the build-up of fatigue poisons in his muscles, giving him endurance far in excess of an ordinary human being. This accounts for many of his extraordinary feats, including bench pressing 1200 pounds (545 kg) and running a mile (1.6 km) in approximately 73 seconds. Furthermore, his enhancements are the reason why he was able to survive being frozen in suspended animation for decades. Rogers cannot become intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or impurities in the air and is immune to terrestrial diseases.

Captain America uses several shields throughout his history, the most prevalent of which is a nigh-indestructible disc-shaped shield made from an experimental alloy of steel and the fictional vibranium. The shield was cast by American metallurgist Dr. Myron MacLain, who was contracted by the U.S. government, from orders of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to create an impenetrable substance to use for tanks during World War II. This alloy was created by accident and never duplicated, although efforts to reverse-engineer it resulted in the discovery of adamantium.

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