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The Hero of Now and Then

Captain America in battle
Captain America in battle
Photo: Marvel Studios

Perhaps he is the old man of the crowd; the one with old morals and ideals. Perhaps he is the symbol of what this country should or would be in certain circumstances. He is inadvertently proud, embodying the morals of a generation once past. He was the first. And he lives still.

The man in question is Steven Rogers. True… he may only be a fictional character, noted for his patriotic colors and emblematic shield, but he is chronologically the first man to be considered any kind of superhero. A time of war brought forth the need for someone to embody truth, justice and honor. Hence there was the creation of Captain America.

Some people, especially the younger generation, find this superhero a bit cliché. ‘He is too good,’ they would say. His motives are too pure and he is not real enough.

Consider the era when the young, normal, Steve Rogers lived. This was a time in human history where the patriotism that can be seen as unnatural in this day and age came into the forefront of necessity. A country needed to pull together. They needed a symbol to rally behind. They needed their first recognized hero, with high standards and near perfect principles. But where does that kind of hero fit in today?

In America today, things are different. It is recognized that having flaws is okay, even in superheroes. Even in comic books, people want a hero they can connect to and not just look up to. The more popular superheroes are the ones who live and struggle in everyday life. But, Steve, waking up decades after the war he was created in has been thrown into the fast paced and skeptical generation. He is the old man here; not old in age or body, but old in beliefs and integrity.

Despite these ‘old’ ways that the Steve acts by, Captain America is still a widely accepted superhero. People look forward to his continuing story on screen and in the comic books, an example being the new movie coming to theaters in early April. America still wants to have him as a symbol. The people still want an icon to measure up to all the good that the country can no longer find, even in the society today. Our need for the honest hero has not diminished, but is idolized in a character that embodies what the country has forgotten.