Pulp Pop 009 – Ultimate Comics Captain America
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In this 4th of July edition of Pulp Pop, Trent recommends the 2010 graphic novel Ultimate Comics Captain America. This episode was sponsored by Twitter user @TKaytt. Purchase this and other Marvel graphic novels from Death Ray Comics, here.
I’m Trent Hunsaker, and this is pulp pop. Birthed just before the dawn of the United State’s most heroic era, Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, two socially conscious New York Jews who saw the atrocities that had consumed Europe and were soon to consume the entire world. Even after the threatening letters and hate mail Simon and Kirby received after first issue’s debut in March 1941, the two felt it was their duty to excuse the pun’ soldier on. Simon wrote in his memoir “The opponents to the war were all quite well organized. We wanted to have our say too.”
Cap continued strong through the 40s but people seemed to lose interest by the time the nuclear 50s set in. His rebirth in 1961 by original Creator Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee, brought him into the pages of contemporary pop culture, where he has remained for the past 50 plus years.
There have been many writers and artists to take up Cap’s Shield in the pages of Marvel Comics. Some stories are flashbacks to the dark days of Nazi Occupied Europe. Other’s are placed in the more fantastic galactic realm fighting the Kree, or the Skrulls, but always fighting anywhere dictators enforce their doctrine. In 2010, writer Jason Aaron and artist Ron Garney, told a 4 issue Cap’ story that stands as an ensign (sorry about the pun) for creators who dawn the star and stripes of Captain America. Theirs is a story that shows how a character, an idea, conceived 75 years ago, is just as important now as it was for America’s greatest generation
The Ultimate Comics Captain America graphic novel, is the story of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, coming to realize that while he was frozen in ice, the military continued the mantle of Captain America with other super soldiers. When he confronts Frank Simpson, the Captain America of the Vietnam Conflict, he sees a twisted, raging, homicidal version of himself staring back, complete with a patriotic Stars and Stripes face tattoo. A lot of this graphic novel takes place in the jungles of a Modern-Day Vietnam. Aaron has a particularly interesting insight to that portion of the world and its history, as he had first-hand accounts given to him by his cousin, the late Gustav Hasford, the writer of the Stanly Kubrik film Full Metal Jacket. Jason Aaron confronts readers with Simpson, the almost anti Steve Rogers: is he just the product of a more complex, drug-juiced, godless era, driven by example after example of government sanctioned murder? Aaron lets readers feel for themselves, in the hot, wet, stifling jungles of Vietnam decide for themselves if Cap’s old timey right and wrong 1940s views are even applicable in a time when his own country authorizes mass homicide. Even though this story was written and drawn 60 years after Simon and Kirby first put Cap’ into the four color pages of Timely Comics; there is no doubt in my mind, that the those two jewish boys from New York, would be proud to see the Captain America still Shielding values and rights worth fighting for.