So we get another adaptation of Captain America this weekend. I am looking forward to it with some apprehension–the apprehension a default mechanism to protect myself from disappointment.
I started thinking about Chris Evans, and the version of Cap we’ve seen in the film and what this version entails. Then I started thinking about different versions of the character I’ve run into over the years, both in comics and out, as we’ve mentioned before.
And thus, a bit of time later and here we are. A rundown of my personal favorites–the ones I found Most Entertaining over my long career of reading comics and partaking of comics-related media. Hopefully Evans will appear somewhere on this list. We shall see.
10. Armored Captain America. I know, you’re thinking: what? Seriously? Well, I didn’t say Most Awesome. I didn’t say Most Kickass. I said Most Entertaining. And Armored Captain America amuses me because it’s just evidence that some things you can bank on. One example: Green Lantern writers will eventually send their guy into space when they run out of things to do. Another? Marvel writers will eventually put any character they can into armor. Thor got sick and needed armor. Spider-Man had armor a couple of times. And Captain America also became ill and needed armor. His illness also apparently made his nose disappear, much like Wolverine when he was missing his adamantium.
9. The Dick Purcell serial Captain America from 1944. No shield, but he does wield a pistol. Also, he has a very, very round head. I’m just saying.
8. The Matt Salinger Captain America from 1990. Points for the involvement of Cox, Beatty and McGavin. But beyond that it’s pretty retrotastic. Was supposed to have been released in 1990, finally made it direct to video two years later. I coulda sworn it was getting reissued recently for the upcoming film’s release, but I can’t seem to find the damn thing. So.
7. Captain America, the Captain America Artist. There was a period of time in which Steve Rogers drew the Captain America comic book in the Marvel Universe. Which entertains me because I just think it’s delightfully meta. I remember Bernie Rosenthal coming over to his place and there he was, drawing his own book. I think this was during the early 90s, but I can’t be certain. Alas, I could not find an image of him doing this. Think about what Grant Morrison could do with that idea. Now stop. No need to injure yourself.
6. The Turkish Captain America from 1973. This is from the movie 3 Dev Adam, which pits bootleg versions of Santo and Captain America vs. an evil murderous Spider-Man. Say what you want about this film–it’s still better than Civil War. Here’s a taste of the insanity:
The combat style in that is like a cross between normal wrestling, krav maga and slapfighting. Weird. If you want the whole thing, it’s been posted to Google Video.
5. The Reb Brown Captain America from 1979. I know, it’s a bit hokey. But hey, back in the day live action superheroes were badass. And as for this Cap? He rockets out of the back of a van on a motorcycle! He leaps straight up in the air, eeriely like Wonder Woman! And who is Miguel? You damn well know it. Points are scored.
4. Captain America Fighting For Energy Conservation. It was 1980. It was a kinder, gentler time. No time bullets, no Tony Stark turning into a rabid prick–nothing like that. Steve Rogers could defeat a villain just by shutting a refrigerator door.
To be honest, I’m amazed Marvel hasn’t revived these villains by now. Really dark versions of them. Probably as ninjas too.
3. Golden Age Captain America. The Golden Age just didn’t give a damn. Batman would kill criminals. Superman wasn’t a boy scout. And Cap would punch evildoers into machinery, killing them, or just “conveniently” step back and watch them kill themselves. It was a different time with different sensibilities and I certainly don’t endorse that approach, but it can be entertaining when read in the appropriate context, namely, “Wow. Did I just–?” Yes, you did. If you want to see Golden Age madness taken to its extreme, check out Fletcher Hanks.
2. Captain America from Secret Wars. Yes, I know it’s just “regular” Cap…but really, it wasn’t. It was Cap finding himself leading a group of heroes in an unknown situation against their worst enemies. And yes, I admit that at the end of the series when I originally read it I felt cheated–because nothing had really changed (I was so young then)–I look back on it now with nostalgia. I think it’s one of the more effective “event” books. And through it all, Cap is unyielding. Then he faces off against Doom and the cosmic power…a wheelbarrow for your balls, sir? Here you are, sir.
The one I found most entertaining?
1. Ultimate Captain America. I know a lot of people gripped about The Ultimate Universe but The Ultimates kicked ass for twelve straight issues. And gave us Ulty Cap. Why do I like Ulty Cap so much? Because I want my Captain America to be a complete and total badass. Not just able to brawl with the Hulk but in the middle of doing so, kick The Hulk in the nuts. Plain and simple.
And you? What’s your favorite Cap?