Captain America, Masculinity, and Violence
The Evolution of a National Icon
J. Richard Stevens
"A great resource for students in courses dealing with comic books,
popular culture, and/or American history."—Terrence Wandtke, author of The Meaning of Superhero Comics Books
"Stevens provides a chronological character study of one of the most
important comics superheroes to have emerged out of the ‘Golden Age’
of comics. This book employs a compelling political/cultural analysis of
the character, as well as an ‘industry history’ of the series."—Gary Hoppenstand, Michigan State University
J. Richard Stevens is assistant professor in media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Book Description »[Close »]
Since 1940, Captain America has battled his enemies in the name of American
values, and as those values have changed over time, so has Captain America’s
character. Because the comic book world fosters a close fan–creator dialogue,
creators must consider their ever-changing readership. Comic book artists must
carefully balance storyline continuity with cultural relevance. Captain America’s
seventy-year existence spans from World War II through the Cold War to the
American War on Terror; beginning as a soldier unopposed to offensive attacks
against foreign threats, he later becomes known as a defender whose only
weapon is his iconic shield. In this way, Captain America reflects America’s
need to renegotiate its social contract and reinvent its national myths and cultural
identity, all the while telling stories proclaiming an eternal and unchanging
spirit of America.
In Captain America, Masculinity, and Violence, Stevens reveals how the
comic book hero has evolved to maintain relevance to America’s fluctuating
ideas of masculinity, patriotism, and violence. Stevens outlines the history of
Captain America’s adventures and places the unfolding storyline in dialogue
with the comic book industry as well as America’s varying political culture. Stevens
shows that Captain America represents the ultimate American story: permanent
enough to survive for nearly seventy years with a history fluid enough
to be constantly reinterpreted to meet the needs of an ever-changing culture.
View other series books Television and Popular Culture.
6 x 9, 376 pages, notes, works cited, index