Captain America

As the war effort had become increasingly intense, superheroes that did not fight directly did not help exemplify the United States’ role in the war. In 1940, writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby had created the hero Captain America: a superhero dressed in blue tights striped with red and white in the middle, blue chain-mail with a star in the center, red gloves and boots, a mask with a white “A” on the forehead, and carrying a red, white, and blue shield. Captain America was the “Star-Spangled Avenger”.

Captain America Comics Issue #1

The first issue of Captain America had hit the shelves almost exactly a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This issue, that had sold more than one million copies, adorned the front cover of the plain anti-Nazi message: Captain America is shown delivering a devistating punch to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. This image had reflected the serious concerns of comic book creators had—with most of them Jewish-Americas who had known the dangers of the Nazis while America was in its isolationist period. The main story of this first issue holds the discussion of the dangers of the “Fifth Column”.

Captain America Comics Issue #7

Hitler depicted as a dog

The anti-Nazi sentiments in the comics often came from Captain America himself. He called Hitler the “Phewerer” or calling Nazi soldiers “Ratzis.” Long before there were “super-villains” in comics, Hitler had stood as a powerful arch-nemesis for many super-hero comic books. With that said, Hitler had a very cartoonish depiction. The writers at Timely Comics (now known as Marvel) portrayed Hitler to be a more egotistical, immature bully. This could allow readers to draw parallels to their schoolyard bullies.

Captain America Comics Issue #19

ThThe call to action on contributing to the war by buying stamps, an easy task for every American no matter how small.

Timely Comics had posted ads showing Captain America asking readers to buy fewer comics and instead sending their ten cents to “Captain America’s War Fund.” Timely Comics had promised to match every dime sent and send the funds to the Treasury Department. This ad had not only shown the need for a unified effort for the war, but it had also encouraged the same idea of the New Deal era in which anybody can contribute, barring some sacrifice, in making a better America.

Captain America Comics Issue #46

Captian America Issue #46

Captain America had depicted real, powerful themes, during the middle and end of the war. An example is in Captain America Comics #46, when Nazi soldiers were plotting to place people into ovens—although not specified as Jews—leaving Captain America and Bucky to rescue these people. This depiction was consistent with reports of Allied forces doing the same throughout Europe during the same period. The other “real world” issue was the justification of the use of the atomic bomb, in which Captain America provided a calming influence to young readers. In the comic, Captain America had learned that the Japanese had begun using “atom water” which was meant to kill many Allied soldiers without any risk to Japanese soldiers. Captain America destroys the “atom water” weapon and is proud to learn that the United States had perfected the atomic bomb that will “end the war immediately.”

Captain America