04 July 2011

Onscreen History of Captain America

Although Captain America: The First Avenger is set to position the Cap within the big screen Marvel movie universe, this will not be Captain America's first tour of duty. First appearing in 1941's Captain America Comics #1, Steve Rogers AKA Captain America is one of Marvel's oldest superheroes with a history of popping up onscreen throughout his 70 years.

The patriotic pummeler made his onscreen premier in the 1944 Captain America movie serials, though sadly he appeared without his now iconic shield.

In all the highly regarded 15-chapter serial had to hold fans of Cap over for more than 20 years until his next appearance.

In 1966, Captain America got his own night each week as part of The Marvel Super Heroes which adapted various Marvel storied directly from the comics.

In addition to giving Cap's mighty shield some screen time, the Captain America segments also provided a platform for the onscreen introduction of The Avengers.

In 1979, Captain America appeared in a made for TV movie which seemed a bit reactionary to the success of the live action Wonder Woman series. Although he was called Captain America, Steve Rogers was the son of a WWII agent who was nicknamed Captain America. He underwent a similar treatment of super soldier serum, and was recruited as a modern day agent with a tricked out motorcycle. His shield was in fact also the windshield on his bike.

Cap scored a follow-up TV movie in 1979 with Captain America II: Death Too Soon with a slightly more traditional costume... There was no Captain America III.

In 1981, Captain America returned to animation, spicing up the solo Spider-Man series episode, The Capture of Captain America along with nemesis Red Skull.

Cap also joined Spidey in several episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

The super soldier even inspired a little hero worship from Iceman at the Spidey and Friends costume ball (at which Spidey went as Spidey).

In 1985, Captain America did his duty by starring in a public service announcement warning against energy wasters the Thermal Thief, the Wattage Waster and the Cold Air Crook.

In 1990, Captain America did not return to the big screen. Although movie was made, it was not released theatrically in the US due to its poor production value. Even though the Red Skull was Italian, at least this Captain America was an actual WWII soldier. The movie was eventually found on home release.

An extended directors cut was planned to coincide with the 2011 live action Captain America: The First Avenger movie. Ironically, making the movie shorter, not longer, may have been the better improvement.

Captain America made the rounds during Marvel animations heyday in the 90's, first appearing in the 1992 X-Men series along with Wolverine in a WWII flashback episode, Old Soldiers.

An alternate version of Cap and his Avengers appeared in the episode One Man's Worth which depicted a modern day in a world without Professor X.

Cap also threw his shield in a few episodes of the 1994 Spider-Man animated series including one of the series final stories arcs retelling the Secret Wars.

The less said about 1999's The Avengers: United They Stand series the better, but even though Captain America was prominently featured in the title credits, he only appeared in a single episode, Command Decision with the C-string Avengers.

Although Marvel rolled out many of their heroes including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spidey, and Hulk, a Captain America series never moved beyond the planning stages.

Nevertheless, a promo for a Captain America series was produced in which Steve Rogers was a cover name for US Army soldier Tommy Tompkins.

In 2000, the X-Men: Evolution revisited the story of Wolverine and Captain America teaming up in the good ol' World War 2 days in Operation Rebirth in which the two combined efforts to save a young Magneto.

In 2006, Captain America got a real spotlight in the Ultimate Avengers movie which began during the second World War.

The movie continued to follow Captain America through his modern day thawing and a showdown with an engaged and inedible Hulk.

Captain America returned with his teammates later in 2006 in Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther.

Although Captain America was only briefly mentioned in 2008's Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, James Rogers, love child of Captain America and Black Widow is one of the film's primary kid heroes.

James had a force field version of Captain America's iconic shield.

In addition, the heroes ended up facing off against the Iron Avengers including a robotic Captain America.

Marvel Studio's first three live-action films contained Captain America Easter Eggs. In 2008's Iron Man Captain America's shield can be glanced on a table in Tony Stark's workshop.

In an even better hidden "egg" in a deleted scene of 2008's The Incredible Hulk, eagle eyes can spot Captain America frozen in a glacier along with his shield.

Finally, in 2010's Iron Man 2, a proto Captain America made a slightly more visible cameo once again in Tony Stark's workshop.

Captain America has also appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show in which he has been depicted as a leader who rambles about the 30s and 40s Grandpa Simpson style.

Most recently, Captain America has joined The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes as a key team member.

The super soldier will next appear in Captain America: The First Avenger hopefully giving the hero some much deserved live-action dignity.

1 comment:

  1. Re-design from Avengers could be also there) Nice article, many thanks! I'll try to find and watch the 70s tv-movies abiut Cap.