Captain America in The Eighties is My Jam Right Now
After finding corruption to have reached the highest levels of power, the Captain has parted ways with the U.S. government. Not just as Captain America but his alter ego, Steve Rogers as well. He took an American motorcycle across the country in an attempt to renew his connection to the people at large.
The hero’s introspection defines this era of Captain America. The Captain has seen the way even the ideal democratic government could be subverted by the raw ambition of man’s pursuit for power. In the past, he was confident in his actions by placing faith in the chain of command and allowing it to guide him. He’s living with a new understanding of the world. No longer able to take his rightness for granted, he often struggles with his ethics.
Meanwhile, Steve Rogers is no longer a soldier. As a civilian and a proud individual he needs a new career. He wants to be with the people. Live a life as a citizen and feel more connected to what he fights for. To that end, he decides to pursue his own dream, beyond fighting villains. Steve wants to nourish his soul with the pursuit of artistic craft.
Steve Rogers becomes a graphic artist. I really admire how he goes about it; first as a commercial artist for advertisements, later as a comic book artist illustrating the adventures of Captain America. Licensed by Marvel Comics with permission from the Avengers, of course. What I appreciate is that he took a very working-class approach to become a professional artist.
This is a Captain America that no longer is a representation of the American Government and its laws du jour. This is Captain America embodying the spirit of an American dream and it’s people. A man, striving for an ideal with humility. When he makes an assumption about someone, he questions it. He refuses to generalize people and tries to understand individuals.
This version of Captain America is why I love Cap and even might explain a big part of who I am. As I read these issues today, I see so much of who I have tried to be in his character. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Copper Age Captain America is a part of who I am. I feel good about that.