In honor of the upcoming July 4th holiday, today I’m going to devote this column to Captain America, patriotic superhero!

Cap is one of the original superheroes, created by comics legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, debuting in 1941 as a deliberately political/patriotic character (since, of course, America was then at war). Captain America was originally one Steve Rogers, a scrawny young man who desperately wanted to fight Nazis, and so signed up for a super secret super soldier program that would enhance his physical abilities, turning him into the hero we all know and love today. (You can read his biography at the Marvel website here)

Really, all of Cap’s adventures are worth reading, but with over 600 issues, it’s hard to know where to start. I’m partial to the more recent storylines (starting in 2004) by Ed Brubaker (of Criminal and Incognito, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before). 

Things start off with the introduction of the mysterious Winter Soldier. This storyline does eventually include (SPOILERS) the death of Captain America, but don’t worry, superheroes never stay dead long, and it’s a really compelling story arc (as Cap’s sidekick takes over his mantle).

And if you haven’t seen the recent Captain America movie yet, you should! It’s actually my favorite of the pre-Avengers Marvel movies—I think it has the strongest story, and the love interest is one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel movie universe (she’s totally competent, and also sassy!). 

I will say that the special effects used to make Chris Evans seem like a weakling (before his transformation into Captain America) make him look like a lollipop (his head is HUGE), but I love basically everything else about that movie. 

Watching it is a great way to celebrate our country!