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The Death of Captain America, a rebuttal

I’m a big fan of the Marvel Comics super hero, Captain America. He’s my favorite hero out of all the hundreds to choose from. He’s America’s iconic super hero. New York City might have Spider-Man, and the whole planet might claim Superman, but Captain America is all of America’s, and just America’s.

Many news outlets reported a couple months ago that Cap’s dead. Shot to death on a courthouse steps. I had several friends and co-workers mention this news story, and give me their condolences. Thanks for the thoughts, but I’m not concerned. Cap’s been dead before. Hell, he started his whole post WWII career by coming back from dead about 20 years after the war ended. In the 90s, he died again, and came back.

Any comic book super hero, from any comics publisher, who has been around for more than 10 years (and some have been around for 60+ years) has probably died at least once. Just to name some super heroes you non-comics-fans will recognize:

Spider-Man has been buried at least once that I can remember off the top of my head. He dug back out six issues later.

Superman has died. He got better. Supes was dead for about a year.

Batman has had his spine broken and was a paraplegic for a while. I don’t know how he recovered.

Iron Man was shot through the spine, and he died at least once (I think twice). Super technology fixed his spine, and his death.

I haven’t been following (buying or reading) Captain America comics for about a decade now, so I haven’t read the issue where Cap gets killed this time. I know someone will tell me that I’m not a “real fan” because I haven’t been keeping up with the title. Well, I have the issue where he “died” last time, so I’ll keep my fanboy license.

Comic writers have to come up with new stories and scenes and action all the time. It’s not easy coming up with something new and exciting every month, year after year. Sometimes a comic series gets stale. Sometimes sales numbers fall too low. Sometimes a writer has to shake things up and get attention and press. “Killing off” a major character can shake things up and get the press.

So, Captain America gets shot and killed. It’s a big event in the comics universe, it gets press attention, and hopefully that attention will bring new, curious readers to the title. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of event that will bring me directly back to that book series. But it does turn my head back to the comic book shelf, in general. It makes me think, “Hmm, I wonder what else is happening in the Marvel Universe these days.” This has prompted me to pick up an issue or two of other books. And when I hear that Cap is back from his death, I’ll probably pick up an issue or two of the Captain America title, just to see what it looks and reads like.  So it may bring me back to that book series, indirectly.

Bringing in new or returning readers, directly or indirectly, is pretty much the whole reason for a story like Captain America dying. It’s cheesy, but it works.


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