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Jul 20, 2011

Some Thoughts on Captain America and history

So I was watching the surprisingly good Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon and they did the whole recovering-Captain-America-from-the-ice routine and it got me thinking. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with that idea in 1963, World War II had only ended eighteen years earlier. This would be comparable to someone from 1993 being revived today! What a strange new world they would awaken to!

Obviously, as time passes and Captain America remains locked into WWII the time difference is going to keep growing and growing. Eventually, that war is going to seem as distant as, say, the Civil War does from us today. Will they ever “bump him up?” Maybe in fifty years—when the wars we’re fighting today will be boring high school students of tomorrow—he’ll be frozen by Osama Bin Laden after he and Bucky capture Saddam Hussein.

The cartoon was interesting in that while they featured Cap fighting the Red Skull and used Nazi imagery they never refer to him as a Nazi or tie the Skull to any nation. If one was learning about history solely from this cartoon you would think WWII was caused by the Skull and H.Y.D.R.A. trying to take over the world. 

I suspect that as time passes and people become less educated World War II will sort of take on a pop cultural life of its own, separate from any real world events. Hitler, Nazis, etc will become sort of generic “bad guys.”