This blog is an attempt to chronicle all of the ethically memorable moments in Captain America’s 50+ years in comics since his Silver Age revival in 1964. Of course, the most important ones were included in my book, The Virtues of Captain America, but there are so many more I couldn’t fit in there! In this blog, I want to show how, like with most Marvel Comics heroes, almost every issue in which Captain America appeared reflected his basic character traits and ethical code.
In the book, I discuss many different comics in the context of each topic in ethics, but on this blog, I will focus on individual issues or batches of issues, from the beginning, highlighting the ethical themes in each one—and having a little fun in the process. (After all, they are comics!) I hope this project is of interest to comics fans, budding philosophers, and anyone who wants to learn more about ethics or Captain America (including students and instructors using my book in class).
(If you’re interested in what I have to say about current Cap comics, see the relevant posts at my other blog, The Comics Professor.)
Note that the posts on this blog do not present complete synopses of the stories. Although most posts do go through the stories in page order, and I do try to provide enough details to appreciate the panels shown and the points I make about them, I do leave out some story details that a detailed synopsis would provide. I focus mainly on the aspects of each comic that show ethical aspects of Captain America’s behavior—for better or worse—and as a result I end up skipping some great storytelling. But do not fear: at the bottom of each post I provide links to the digital and collected version of the issue(s) discussed so you can check out the real thing for yourself (as you should).
Also, some issues have more ethically relevant content than others. Often, the ones with less are grouped together, while the more “weighty” issues are taken separately. (And sometimes I just make a lot of jokes—again, they’re comics!) Eventually I may develop a way to flag the more substantive posts, but I hope people will enjoy all the posts for what they are: a fun look at some great comics that highlights what makes Captain America such a great character, superhero, and (if you like) role model.
And if you like a particular post, check back once in a while: I expect that as I cover more comics, I will update older posts with links to new ones and sometimes even new content. Remember that change is good (unless it uses the words “hail” or “Hydra”).