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September 19, 2012

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Spadedust

hey mark, i been a fan of your blog, and i am too, a huge captain america fan, but i always wanted to get your opinion on this

cap has sometimes been linked to nazi mythology

cap/steve rogers being a blond haired blue eyed, "aryan"... and becomes human perfection, but also at the same time being build to be the anti-nazi, what do you think

Mark D. White

Hi, Spadedust --thanks for your comment, and sorry it took me so long to reply.

I see your point and the irony of it -- but I don't remember many mentions of it in the comics, aside from an occasional comment by the Red Skull. For instance, when Arnim Zola puts the Skull's mind in a clone of Steve Rogers, Skull refuses to wear his mask, saying "it would be a pity to hide this beautiful Aryan Face" ("Resurrection," Captain America, vol. 1, #350, Feb. 1989). But when he faces Steve Rogers, he says that he is posing as a "disarmingly handsome American businessman," and does not mention anything about his Aryan appearance ("Seeing Red," same book).

You definitely hit the nail on the head when you said he was created to be the "ideal man" -- becoming a sort of Ubermensch -- but for the explicit purpose of combating Nazism and fascism. So even though his appearance and his creation ironically echo some Nazi themes, I think it's more important to look at the ideals he represents, especially his inherent belief in the equal worth of all people -- definitely not a Nazi ideal!

Spadedust

thank you Mark, i agree with you..... what makes Steve Rogers, a great man... is not his physical enhancements or his looks..... its his character, his belief in the good of all and the equality of everyone...

another interesting thing s the different codes between Steve Rogers and Bruce Wayne

Steve Rogers kills, if he has to.... Bruce doesn't kill

what do you think about that sort of contrast

Mark D. White

So sorry again for the delay... I've been thinking about this for a while. Despite his much-lauded ideals, ultimately Cap is a pragmatist; as the narration in Captain America #184 reads, Cap acts according to "principles, tempered by understanding, honed by reality." He doesn't want to kill, and he looks for any way to avoid doing so, but at some point he recognizes he must, nonetheless doing it with regret. (Look at the storyline in Cap #321-324 in which he is forced to kill a terrorist -- marvelous exploration of Cap's thoughts before and after.) Cap maintains his principle of not killing as long as he can, but once it conflicts with other principles -- such as saving other lives -- then he makes a judgment call. And as I explain in my upcoming book on Cap, his judgment has evolved over the years as the stakes have increased so that he more often endorses killing and torture that he never would have abided before.

Batman, on the other hand, is more stubborn, as I explained in this post: http://www.comicsprofessor.com/2012/04/another-perspective-on-why-batman-doesnt-kill-and-the-problems-with-it.html. He holds to one principle and doesn't recognize the existence of others, so he never has to balance them as Cap does. Batman will never kill the Joker, no matter how many lives he would save by doing so, because he adheres to that one principle above all -- but Cap might, especially if the killing is imminent and there's no other way to defuse the situation. (Of course, Batman's writers will never put him in that situation, as the writers of "Man of Steel" did to Superman this summer!)

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