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When Captain America Uses Torture...

Socio-Political Commentary in Marvel Comics' Classic Hero
Captain America Deciding To Use Torture
Captain America Deciding To Use Torture
Cap Espouses the Logic of Torture
Cap Espouses the Logic of Torture
Here are a few panels from 'Captain America' # 153 (1973), as reprinted in 'Essential Captain America Vol. 3,' which I recently read. Words are by Steve Englehart, pictures by Our Pal Sal Buscema.

It's shocking and provactive to hear 'Captain America' advocating and using torture. I love the line: 'I am the true force of our democracy...and you'll soon admit it or I'll beat your brains out!'

Of course, it turns out that the 'Captain America' employing the torture is not the real Cap, but a phoney Cap created at the height of the 1950's Red Scare...

A lot of socio-politico commentary in the old comic books doesn't hold up so well. But then again, some of it is more relevant than ever.

yep 28.Jan.2007 18:03


There was a lot of interesting writing in comic books, and in other media, in the '70s ... as mentioned, these Kiefer-Sutherland-like characters were the evil psycho replacements of the WWII-era originals, and this is made clear in every panel, just so no one could possibly misuse this imagery. At one point the original Captain America repudiates the flag all together, changing his costume and his nom de guerre, although of course that doesn't last long. There was widespread equivocation about nationalism and violence, and about lots of other things, in the '70s, and this affected the corporate culture directed at kids and teenagers. (G.I. Joe toys disappeared, they stopped making them.) Things went "back to normal" under Ronald Reagan, or in any case the neocons have been trying since then to convince us that their new paradigms are normal.

current television shows are really disturbing 29.Jan.2007 13:24


I'm not nearly as worried about an old comic as I am about current-day TV shows such as 24, which seem to be loaded with propaganda. Legitimizing torture, presidential power above the law, villainizing people of Arab descent... the public eats this stuff up.

Did anyone watch that show Jericho?