Thanks in large part to the so-called “Marvel Cinematic Universe” that has emerged over the last decade or so, comic books are now bigger than anyone could have imagined. The film industry now dictates popular attention as it relates to popular comics that have been around for half a century, and we now see some of our most iconic characters in all different kinds of adaptations and entertainment forums. Consider, for example, the ever-increasing build-up for the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is set for an April release.
Many old-school comic fans would never have believed they’d see Captain America grabbing headlines during the Super Bowl, yet the film studio’s decision to release a thrilling trailer as one of the game’s commercials was one of the most buzzed about events of the night. And that’s only the beginning of the Captain America enthusiasm we’re seeing across entertainment industries.
You can also find Captain America featured prominently at the BetFair poker platform online. This site differentiates itself from some other poker platforms by way of bringing in popular character and fiction themes, and the current promotion headlining the site involves a sort of Captain America mini-game! Similarly, you can find other gaming avenues promoting Captain America, with the most notable examples being multiple games featured in iOS and Android app stores. In fact, there’s a specific “Winter Soldier” gaming app being released in March to coincide with the coming film.
All of this is exciting for a lot of comic book fans, but there are still those among us who prefer an old, classic comic book to a modern gaming adaptation! So for our own form of preparation for the coming Captain America film (which admittedly looks pretty great), here are five of the best Captain America comic book stories ever.
Captain America No More
One of the most famous Captain America sagas out there, it ran from #332-350. Complex listed it as the #1 Captain America story of all time, and frankly it’s hard to argue. Dripping with dramatic intrigue and storyline potential, the core of the story is Red Skull’s determination to take down Captain America, not just in person, but in reputation as well.
A 1995 story written by Mark Waid, this was a particularly interesting story that saw Captain America kept alive by his own nemesis. Red Skull requires Captain America’s help to defeat Adolf Hitler. There’s a nice review of the story at Comics Review.
The Coming Of The Falcon
This story from Captain America #117 (1969) was noted by iFanBoy for its social and cultural significance, and we couldn’t agree more. The story brought the Falcon into the Captain America story as the first mainstream African-American hero, in what was at the time a very bold move from Stan Lee. Additionally, if you’re watching trailers and playing games getting ready for the new film, you may want to read this issue specifically, as the Winter Soldier film will also be introducing the Falcon to the film franchise.
Okay, so this is a more modern story, and lots of comic purists would frown upon it for this reason. But the Marvel Civil War (its own series running from 2006-2007) is one of the most compelling stories we’ve seen for Captain America. Basically, the Marvel heroes split against each other over a government act that would force heroes to disclose their identities, with Captain America holding strong to his freedom.
Captain America Comics #1
The debut comic in 1941 still deserves a spot on any list of best Captain America stories, though it’s more the iconic cover than anything else that has stood the test of time. Captain America splayed across the cover punching Hitler in the face (during WWII we might add) was a pretty emphatic beginning.
There have been so many Captain America comics throughout the years that no top five or ten list could be complete. But as we look ahead to the newest film in the modern Captain America cinematic saga, these are some of the best foundation issues to look back on in his comic history.