On March 1st, 1941, we were gifted with the presence of Steve Rogers. The first Captain America comic was released on this date 77 years ago, and thus our love of Steven Grant Rogers began. In the first issue, we watched as Doctor Reinstein transformed Steve Rogers, a man who was denied entry into the United States Army because of his physical ailments, into the Captain America we’ve come to know and love.
In comparison to the world we know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve’s tranformation was only slightly different, though his best friend, Bucky Barnes, was, in fact, a 12-year-old boy who just wanted to be a hero like the Captain America he read about in papers, who was recruited after stumbling into Steve’s tent.
The comic is very much a 1941-era story, one that even includes Steve threatening to give Bucky a beating because he came into his tent, but it’s the basis for one of the greatest heroes of our age. I maybe screamed a bit when I read Bucky’s first line to Steve, “Oh Steve … Steve! Lookit,” partly because it was a nickname I had in high school but also because it’s so different from the Bucky Barnes we know from the MCU and even subsequent stories within the Marvel comics.
77 years ago today, the world was introduced to Steven Grant Rogers, and we have only continued to be enrapt with his story. When the world was against him, when he was staring into the eyes of his best friend who had been turned int an assassin by Hydra, he never gave up hope, and that’s something that the MCU has captured quite beautifully.
Even when he’s starting a civil war with Tony Stark because of Bucky, he’s still doing it because he sees the best in everyone around him, even if his best friend maybe blew up a building to kill the king of Wakanda.
So, thank you to Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. You both gave us a figure of hope, someone we can look up to and appreciate in the darkest of times.
(image: Marvel Entertainment)
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