Captain America has arrived at Sun City Peachtree!  For some of our residents, I’m sure he’ll bring back childhood memories of lazy summer afternoons spent reading Timely Comics’s Captain America while lounging in the shade under a tree.

The superhero dates back to March of 1941 when Timely Comics (a predecessor to Marvel Comics) released Captain America Comics #1, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  The character was designed as a patriotic super soldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II. 

Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young artist enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental “super soldier serum,” after joining the military to aid the United States in the World War II effort.  The character wears a costume bearing an American flag motif, and he utilizes a nearly-indestructible shield that he throws as a projectile. 

Joe Simon had first conceived the idea for Captain America in 1940 and made a sketch of the character in a patriotic costume.  In Simon’s autobiography, he stated, “I wrote the name ‘Super American’ at the bottom of the page.  No, it didn’t work.  There were too many ‘Supers’ around.  ‘Captain America’ had a good sound to it.  There weren’t a lot of captains in comics.  It was as easy as that.  The boy companion was simply named Bucky, after my friend Bucky Pierson, a star on our high school basketball team.”

Simon said Captain America was a consciously political creation; he and Jack Kirby were morally repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Fittingly, their first issue featured Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.  That image proved so popular that one million copies of the comic book were sold.

Not everybody was thrilled with the cover, though.  As Simon noted, “When the first issue came out we got a lot of… threatening letters and hate mail.  Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.”  The threats, which included menacing groups of people loitering out on the street outside of their offices, proved so serious that police protection was posted with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacting Simon and Kirby to give his support.

The fans outweighed the objectors, though, and Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character of the period.  The popularity of superheroes waned following the war, however, and Captain America comics was discontinued in 1950.  Marvel Comics revived it in 1964, though, and the superhero has been around ever since.  As of 2007, and estimated 210 million copies of the comics had been sold in 75 countries.

The superhero was the first Marvel Comics character to appear in media outside comics with the release of the 1944 movie serial, Captain America.  Since then, the character has been featured in other films and television series, including The Avengers, released in 2012.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my previous post about Popeye, if any more of his buddies (or enemies) came along to our community, I would let you know.  Although somebody snagged him off the bench before I got there, Bluto made a brief appearance.  The artist photographed the rock, so I could share it with you.

Bluto the Terrible is Popeye’s best-known enemy.  The brute always has a plot to get the better of his rival or strike it rich.  He’s a selfish and greedy dude, and has a devious attraction to Olive Oyl.  Popeye comes to her rescue, though, thanks to his trusty spinach, which makes him strong, powerful, and able to defeat the villain.

These beauties are a few random acts of kindness left on our neighborhood bench over the past days: