Captain America, Propaganda, and Imperialism

Hey guys! For today’s post I covered two of the readings for today. One is a pdf copy of “Meet Captain America”, the first comic of his character. The second is an article by Chris Gavaler titled “The Imperial Superhero”.

I really enjoyed reading the first Captain America comic! Not only is it entertaining, but also I love how it feels like such a piece of history. From the get go, the comic is pure war propaganda and it’s so great. In the first part with the character from Germany who sneaks into the American army there is so much suspense. Already in panel 4 we get the war general calling the Germans “vermin”. It displays so accurately a time of upheaval and confusion in our country; a time when men joined the army without question because it was the right thing to do based on all of the propaganda they heard. Captain America, to me, seems like the best propaganda I have seen yet from WWII. His becoming strong parallels a young boys step from adolescence to adulthood, creating an idea for men that once they become strong enough, they too should defend our country. Without question, after being injected Captain America is named as such, and right away begins to defend the country. Young boys and adult men alike at this time would have already been reading comic books, and so having such a powerfully charged comic about war as we were getting into it really creates a social support for the war effort. It is a very creative use of persuasion.

This ties in so well with the Gavaler article “The Imperial Superhero”. Captain America really drives the difference between self and the other. And as America up until this point has been steadily growing as a world superpower, imperialism plays a huge role in that expansion. Captain America “personif[ies] empire-authority” as it comments on the Germans and the desire to fulfill America as having a powerful role in the world. An example of that in the Captain America comic is when he is given his name, the scientist says “We shall call you Captain America, son! Because, like you—America shall gain the strength and the will to safeguard our shores!” As America continues to gain power, its superheroes continue to promote imperialism and distinction between self and other.

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading! Feel free to post questions or comments!

Captain America, Propaganda, and Imperialism

One thought on “Captain America, Propaganda, and Imperialism

  1. I really like your tie in with imperialism in Captain America. I feel the same about this comic as I too feel that it is a big piece of history and fun right from the get go. This distinction between the self and the other is very interesting and did not even occur to me when reading this comic. How did you feel about Captain America’s use of violence. Did you like his approach better or worse?


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