Marvel Comics and the fight against Nazism

in Disney, Entertainment, Marvel

Captain America

Credit: Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios

Disney fans can’t get enough of everything Marvel as Marvel Studios has taken over the film industry, producing mega-blockbuster hits that have us all coming back to the movies over and over. These heroes, based on the stories of Marvel comic books, come from the beloved publisher of the same name who has told these stories for decades. However, as these old characters continue to rise, it’s worth looking back at their origins. Something younger generations (and the newest fans to these characters) many not be all that familiar with.

When most think of Captain America, they think of peak super strength, durability, and accelerated healing. However, what they don’t think about is what he stood for at the time of his creation to the many readers who found escape and solace in this hero–including his creators.

Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

Some of the early comics, including Captain America, were made by poor New Yorkers with predominantly Jewish and other ethnic minority backgrounds. Most of which, had suffered during the great depression and knew of the rise of terror and antisemitism in Germany. These writers faced all of these hardships head-on and wanted to create heroes who fought for a nation and all of its citizens, regardless of class or race.

In a sense, these heroes were imagined warriors who could combat the Nazi threat and many of the other hardships the world was facing at their time of creation. In these comics, they created characters that were not only destroying evil but they were also allowing readers an escape into a fantasy where the good guys were coming out on top.

Captain America
Credit: Marvel Comics

One of the most famous characters today in the MCU who most closely draws from these times is Captain America, who originated while the Nazis were Blitzkrieging London. This time of war inspired Joe Simon, who grew up in a poor Jewish family, and was hired as a freelancer for Funnies, Inc. (an American comic book packager in the 1930s) to create an all-new superhero in part with Jack Kirby, who grew up in the slums of New York. One who dressed like an American flag, had big biceps and was able to burst into Nazi headquarters and knock Hitler over with a haymaker to the jaw.

For fans of the recent Captain America films and comics, you may also be familiar with the saying “Hail Hydra,” which is said in both the films and comics when Hydra members would greet one another. This is directly inspired by the phrase “Heil Hitler,” which is a Nazi salute. This was once used as a common greeting in Nazi Germany. The inclusion of this phrase shows the original roots of this character, which Marvel continues to hold the Captain America true to even today.

The next time you’re watching “Avengers: Endgame” or are looking back at the past decade of Marvel films–don’t forget the great heritage of some of these characters. They not only make for galaxy-shattering entertainment today, but they also provided many people (including their creators) with hope during some of the world’s darkest times.

Source: The Guardian

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