Captain America Rides On  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Profiles in History.

There are lots of super-heroes around but only one Captain America.  Cap doesn’t possess some of the super-powers other characters do.  He doesn’t fly and he can’t will himself to suddenly be invisible or even lift mountains.   But he has the whole lightning-fast action-thing down cold. 

His shield-slinging scenes are dazzling and he is as popular today as he was during World War II.

The first time most people saw Cap he was punching Hitler in the face.  What better way to introduce a hero than by having him taking on “the man” himself. 

The first time most people saw Cap he was punching Hitler in the face.  What better way to introduce a hero than by having him taking on “the man” himself.  Cap’s principles were rooted in real-life events, not science fiction.  You can see why he was the most popular comic character during the wartime period.

“Captain America The First Avenger” premiered on July 19, 2011 in Hollywood and was released in the United States on July 22, 2011.  The film was a success both critically and commercially.  It grossed $368.6 million worldwide.         

The film flows directly from the Marvel comic.  Most of the movie takes place during World War II.  Cap was the first Marvel Comics character that rose out of the comic book and onto the movie screen with the 1944 serial “Captain America.” 

He has been featured in several other films and television series since then including “Captain America The First Avenger” and “The Avengers” released on May 4, 2012.

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers plays Captain America.  He’s a scrawny young chap who has been told he’s unfit for military service because he’s puny and has a history of asthma and scarlet fever. 

He takes an experimental serum, gets juiced up, becomes super-human and is part of a top secret research project fighting for truth, justice and the American way.  

"He (Captain America) would crush the Olympics,” Evans said about his super-hero character.   “Any Olympic sport he's gonna dominate.  He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured.  He could roll an ankle and be out for the season.  He's not perfect, he's not untouchable.”

Just knowing Cap can be hurt humanizes him.  People can relate.

The film features nearly 1,600 visual effects shots.  And Cap’s infamous shield serves both as a weapon and a defensive device.

“Captain America The First Avenger” was written by comic book and graphic novelist Fred Van Lente.  The character itself first appeared in Captain America Comics #1in March 1941.  You would expect a super-hero fighting for America to have an America flag somewhere on his costume and true to form Cap bears the flag motif on his shirt and shield.

On April 13, Profiles in History held its Captain America: The First Avenger auction at the Chicago Entertainment and Comic Expo.  The auction consisted of over 220 lots including the costumes, props and vehicles from the 2011 film.

Captain America: The First Avenger

USO Stage Shield; classic red; white and blue shield made of fiberglass resin; 25 inches by 19 ½ inches;  $13,200.

Stunt Shield; shows studio distressing; constructed of hard polyurethane rubber; 25 inches diameter;  $20,400.

Shield; cased in ice; blue shield suspended in solid block of clear resin; 38 inches diameter;  $24,000.

Hero Suit; from POW rescue; stage-show version; three-piece suit; consisting of tunic; bomber jacket and battle-scarred khaki paratrooper pants; boots; gloves; blue web belt; and matching blue helmet; goggles; shield and prop Colt .45 pistol;  $27,500.   

Hero Costume; complete; three-piece custom suit; includes long pants; midriff-length undershirt; upper body armor; brown leather gloves; belt; holster; rubber Colt .45 pistol; boots; mask-helmet; and shield;   $228,000.


Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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