Captain America: Legacy
Captain America is one of the more interesting Comic Book Superheroes because he’s so popular, yet very few people know his story. Why is that? I think it’s because of his costume. He wears an iconic image in that he wears the American Flag. Americans are famous for their RAW RAW Patriotism, so a Superhero that dons the Star Spangled Banner is bound to an instant icon as well. As I was sketching out a design for this piece, I ask everyday people these questions:
1. What is Captain America’s real name?
2. What are Captain America’s powers or abilities?
3. How did he attain his Special Abilities?
4. When was Captain America first created?
While they all knew and loved Captain America, 99% of everyone I asked could not answer any of my questions.
I used this informal poll as inspiration as to the story telling I wanted to incorporate with my Captain America piece. I simply HAD To tell the story of Captain America. So I took a trip back out to the House of Secrets Comic Book Shop in Burbank CA, and started looking for Comics with Caps’ Origin. Let me tell you, this was no easy task. I looked through HUndreds of comics before I found any that showed his origin, well none that I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on. Finally, I found a few reprints and re tellings of Caps’ story. As it turns out, the mix and match of different artists telling the same story made for a really nice kind of texture in my collage.
The one thing I knew very well was there is no greater arch-villain to Captain America than the RED SKULL. The Red Skull was basically the total opposite of Captain America, while they are arch rivals, they also share a twisted kind of kinship. One can’t seem to exist without the other. In all of Captain America’s adventures, it seems the Red Skull was always behind every scheme pulling the strings in some way. In my piece of art I wanted to tell that story subtly. If you look closely, The Red Skull is poking his head up, or looking through a narrow section of comic panels, all through out the piece. It not only gave me more story telling, but the Red through out was the perfect contrast to Captain America’s Blue Suite. That contrast alone says something about the two characters symbiotic relationship.
The Final touch to this piece was including the news paper clipping. I really wanted to make this Captain America piece stand out from the Spiderman piece I did. It had to be really different. There is something about headline clippings that gives a story importance. When people clip headlines, we subconsciously think that must have been something important in history. In the Comics, Captain America is not only a symbol of American bravery, he is also a real Hero. He helped defeat the Nazi’s in WWII, and saved the world! So in the Marvel Universe, News of Captain America would be front page news. I also wanted to set a time for this piece, of where Captain America came from. Thus, the WWII headline. My first thought was to find actual Newspaper Clippings from the New York Times. But I ran into a few problems. First, while I did find some clippings, they didn’t read exactly the way I wanted. Since I would have to print out the headlines myself, I figured I could just doctor up the headlines the way I wanted. But then I thought, you know, I if I ever want to make this into a print, there may be some copyright issue using New York Times newspapers. I was kind of stuck on what I should do. I slept on it and when I woke up I realized, this is set in the MARVEL UNIVERSE. There is no New York Times in the Marvel Universe, the big newspaper is THE DAILY BUGLE. Yes, the same Daily Bugle Peter Parker (Spiderman) takes photographs for. So I made my own Daily Bugle Headlines. It was the perfect solution that made perfect sense.
When it came to Painting Captain America, I had two ideas. I was pretty inspired by the Action I was able to capture in the Spiderman piece, so I was initially going to do Cap in an Action pose. But the more I worked on story in the piece the more it became clear this was ABOUT Captain America. Who he is. I knew I had to capture Captain America’s stoic American Pride and Bravery. An Action Pose doesn’t really say that. Not nearly as much as painting him posed strong and proud with his shield and American Flag. Denise and My Manager Michelle both gave an overwhelming endorsement to that idea, so it was settled. And I am happy with the decision, because this IS Captain America!