Captain America Doesn’t Need To Be A Jerk To Be Interesting

  • Kristin(e)

    Is it sad or awesome that the last two sentences kind of gave me chils? Great post!

    • Desiree

      Not sure but I sure think it’s wildly flattering!

  • Twirls

    What a great piece, thank-you. The re-rise of the “dark and gritty” in comic book characters that don’t normally go down that path is really really trying on my last nerve. I like hope in my comic books but sometimes it seems like that’s going down the path of Stephanie Brown(forgotten by the people in charge.OH). :[

    the only way for a character to be interesting is if they are as
    masculine and grouchy as possible. A character who’s core is goodness
    and morality? What kind of world is this? – See more at:
    much easier to believe in the vengeance of Batman, or the revenge of
    Frank Castle (aka the Punisher), than it is to believe in the goodness
    that is Captain America. – See more at:
    much easier to believe in the vengeance of Batman, or the revenge of
    Frank Castle (aka the Punisher), than it is to believe in the goodness
    that is Captain America. – See more at:

  • DC

    Great column

  • Nicole

    This is great. So happy I found it! I am even more in love with Steve Rogers than ever.

  • Joe

    I think every comics universe needs a Batman and a Superman/Captain America. Both serve critical roles. Superman is the voice of uncompromising morality, and Batman is the voice of pragmatism. If each didn’t voice their opinions, the Justice League would just be bland. Also, I think some of the Batman hate in the article was a little unjustified. Batman begins his journey seeking revenge, but he doesn’t keep going out there every single night for it. At some point along the way he does realize that revenge isn’t going to get him anywhere, and his motivation is more along the lines of “I need to stop what happened to me from ever happening again.” Also, despite occasionally being a jerk (depending on who’s writing for him), Batman has a strict moral code. It’s not the same code as a Superman or Captain America, but he doesn’t just go out there to cause as much damage as possible. He goes out there with a job to do.

    • Desiree

      I agree, I suppose the problem is the over saturation of Batman types in our mainsteam movies over Superman/Captain America types. There’s been way more Batman movies, and movies that follow the same by-line of Batman, then there have been of Superman, or Wonder Woman (who is a combination of both Superman and Batman’s ideals), or Captain America.

      It really depends on who’s writing Batman in the comics. I find Batman is much more interesting, and human, when he’s interacting with other characters and having interpersonal relationships. Instead of being a reclusive shut-in the movies make him out to be. Alfred is typically his only source of human contact and that probably has more to do with the fact that writing 101 states you need your protagonist to have someone (or something think Wilson in Castaway) to talk to. Otherwise the story becomes stale and can fall flat (think Legend).

      Nolan’s Dark Knight series is a personification of everything wrong with Batman in my opinion. At least as far as the movies good. To sum that up would be at the end of The Dark Knight Rises when Batman says to Catwoman after she tells him he’s given everything to Gotham, “no I haven’t, not yet.” And then seemingly sacrifices himself, only that we later found out he just up and left Gotham to go live a new life with Selina. Batman would never do that, Gotham is his life. It was a cop-out to make Batman seem the fantastical tragic hero, while not actually going there (think Pacific Rim where heroes die and stay dead).

  • “The point of Tony’s story isn’t that he’s a big man with a lot of guns, who can build an armored kill suit in a cave, but about a man who saw what his power was being used for, and decided to become a better person because of it. Tony takes responsibility for his mistakes, and works to use his power for the benefit of the people. Is Tony still a bit of a jerk by the end of Iron Man 3? Yeah, but the point is that he tries to not only be a good person, but a better one.”

    Have you ever read an Iron Man comic? Because seriously, if there is a bigger jerk in the history of Marvel Superheroes than Tony Stark, I don’t know who it is, and I have literally read the majority of Marvel Superhero comics going back 50+ years. Throughout his many writers, he’s gone through several stages, but the one constant seems to be that he’s a douche.

    It’s Ironic that that you praise Captain America in particular, because Tony Stark’s total betrayal of his friends and teammates is what kicked off the Civil War which ultimately lead to Captain America’s “death.”

    • Desiree

      I would say Reed Richards in the Ultimates is a bigger jerk than 616!Tony. Or maybe Scott Summers depending on who’s writing him. Or even Charles Xavier who gets praised for his supposed good work instead of called out on the fact that he’s a pretty big jerk.

      Tony does have a long history of being a jerk. The point is he always tries to be better. Doesn’t always work, but at least he feels guilt over what he’s done. I’m not a huge Tony Stark fan in the comics, nor the movies, but the point of the character is that he’s a messed up individual who always tries to do better.

      Civil War is a complex storyline that, ultimately, didn’t live up to the potential it could have had. It became something of a mixed bag of political allusions than a deep conversation and metaphor about our (America) political infrastructure.

      • Tony in the movies is a LOT more likeable than Tony in the comics. He pretty much has to be, though, they can only squeeze so much in with a 2-hour window. I can’t give the award to Scott Summers because historically he was an upstanding, heroic, noble man for the first 50 years of his existence. It’s only been the decade or so that they’ve screwed with him for pretty much exactly the reasons outlined in this blog. They decided he needed to be “more flawed” and “more brooding.”

        This is why I stopped reading modern comics and started marathonning comic books history.

        Xavier? Oh yea. He gets major tool points, too. Honestly, though; he became LESS of a tool as time went on. If you haven’t already, go back and read the first few years of X-Men. Dude was a total control-freak with more than just a “professor/student” interest in Jean, even when she was a teenager and he was whatever his ridiculously impossible to determine age was in 1962.

  • zeejaybay

    I substituted Captain America for Superman in this article and it worked. I just wish DC would wake up as Marvel is apparently.

  • Nikki

    THANK YOU. Thank you so much for this.

  • mcnooj82

    Yes, PLEASE make Steve Rogers a jerk!

    It worked SO WELL for MAN OF STEEL!


  • Brooks Rogers

    Very well said. It’s great that Marvel resisted any temptation to make Captain America “dark” or “edgy”, that’s not what he’s about. You nailed it, Captain America is the epitome of the Hero Myth. He is meant to inspire and show how one can be.

  • Big Blue

    Excellent, excellent, absolutely excellent! As an old school, big blue boy scout, doing what’s right because it’s right, virtue ethics fan, I loved the article! It’s nice to know some people are still rejecting the dark hero paradigm of recent years.

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  • ZS

    My main problem with this article is that it gets the character of Batman wrong.

    “Batman’s main motivation for becoming a superhero was vengeance. Without the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne would have lived a very normal, privileged life.”

    Batman’s main motivation was not revenge against evil-doers for taking away his good life. Batman’s parents were gunned down in front of him when he was 8 years old. Batman wanted to make sure no other kid’s life could be ruined because of a goon with a gun. Batman strikes terror in the hearts of villains, but he takes care to not scare the innocent. It’s not exactly vengeance for himself that Batman fights crime. Batman remembers what happened to him as a way to keep moving forward. He had a hard life and has never been the same since the night he saw his parents die. He lived a rough life and was hardened in the process. He takes on this dark exterior, which also reflects who he is.
    The article raises the point that Captain America’s core is morality and goodness, and Batman is just a jerk who beats up bad guys. But Batman’s core is justice and morality. He’s certainly not perfect, but Batman values human life above all else and absolutely refuses to kill. He will never take a life.
    There’s another thing I see in this article that talks about how Steve Rogers and Captain America are the same person. The mythos of Batman is that Bruce Wayne is the disguise for Batman. Bruce Wayne died with his parents and Batman is what remained. Bruce Wayne is just the front for the caped crusader. And Batman purposely gives his Bruce Wayne persona a negative reputation. Bruce Wayne is an arrogant, womanizing, irresponsible, rich boy. This curbs suspicion that he might actually be Batman. And he knows there are people who look down on him as they accuse Bruce of ruining the legacy of his late parents. Bruce is seen by many as an insult. His parents were good people who worked hard to make Gotham a better place. Batman fights for justice and his parents taught him to be moral and good. Batman has never let go of what he learned from them, even if he needs Bruce Wayne to let go of these morals.

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  • Other Tall Guy

    Love this. I’ve loved the moments in various Cap books where he’s basically said, “You think I didn’t want to (kill that guy/commit that awful act/be morally ambiguous)? But I can’t. I stand for the star on my chest. I stand for something bigger than myself.”

    Ultimate Cap works great as satire, but Steve’s the moral compass of the MU. And that’s a great role.

  • Tentacle

    I still want to be Batman… dating Cap’!

  • Alexis Thalia-Grace

    Um… it was ACTUALLY a reference to this page from “Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 issue 168” http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080505083405/marveldatabase/images/f/f4/_001.jpg

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