When you take a minute and think about the long history of comics, it’s kind of amazing that we’re still rabidly devouring stories about characters who have existed for several decades. Captain America made his first appearance in 1941, and we’re all losing our minds over the release of a new film starring the superhero over 70 years later. That’s crazy!
The lasting power of Cap and many other characters in comics wouldn’t be what it is without different artists, writers, and editors coming on board over the years to put their spin on the character and his stories. Whether creators were revisiting the origin story or introducing new milestones in Cap’s history, their contributions kept readers engaged. We wouldn’t go back to the comic book shop month after month if Captain America was being portrayed the same way he was in the ’40s. He’s had to evolve, and since he’s a man out of time, he required a different approach than any other hero. Several talented folks have risen to the task.
Captain America: Red, White, & Blue is a sampling of the varying perspectives disparate creative teams can bring to the table. With short stories from over 50 creators, there’s bound to be something for everyone. The stories range from serious to heartwarming to ridiculous. The fact that so many poured so much soul and sweat into their tales about Cap is a testament to the hero and the man under the mask.
It’s easy to find a piece of yourself somewhere in Steve Rogers or Cap. The scrawny guy who didn’t like bullies became a super soldier and was finally able to protect his country in ways he’d only dreamed about. He was a symbol just as much as a hero and though his super strength and powers are impressive, I’ve always been more interested in the fact that he’s a good guy. Most of the time.
Anyway, there are plenty of facets of his personality for creators to latch onto, and the book showcases a wide range. Sure, you can witness Cap’s heroism, but also his compassion, his loneliness, his bravery, his self-doubt, and so much more. As someone who has yet to read all the Captain America titles ever, the book is a wonderful sampler of possibilities.
Clearly, they were holding out for The Winter Soldier.
If nothing else, Red, White, & Blue is worthwhile because of all the impressive art on display. Bruce Timm, Alex Ross, Frank Quitely, Evan Dorkin, and more bring their interpretations of the character to the pages, and I had to flip through the pages without reading the stories to really look at their work. None of the artists draw Cap in quite the same way, and I’m endlessly fascinated by the differences.
I enjoyed seeing everyone’s take on Cap, Red Skull, and others, and on top of it all, Red, White, & Blue also has several pages of back matter that make it even cooler. The spotlight section includes interviews with Ed Brubaker, Gene Colan, Steve Epting, Steve Englehart, and more. They discuss Cap and their runs on the comic, and it’s intriguing to see their opinions and perspectives. It takes more than serum to make Captain America a super hero, it takes all the people who have ever worked on the comic.