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captainamerica1

Captain America’s costume is so perfectly expressive that no one has changed it — or, it seems, even tried to change it — since its creation in 1940. As Cap co-creator Jack Kirby said in Jim Steranko’s history of comics, “Drape the flag on anything, and it looks good.”

So what’s with the non-flag elements?

Take the big A on Cap’s forehead. The flag has no A, and the one on Cap’s head has always seemed unnecessary and out of place to me. The A, a white arrowhead on a field of blue, looks to me like it’s saying, “Shoot me here, right between the eyes!”

The flag has no wings like the ones on Cap’s cowl, either. And they’re silly, because they have no purpose. Cap’s shield is a weapon and the chain-mail of his shirt protects his torso, but the wings do nothing. (You may have noticed that Cap’s movies de-emphasize the wings by just drawing or stamping them onto Cap’s helmet rather than building them as objects sticking out from his head.)

The wings don’t bother me as much as the A, because a long tradition — in art, if not reality — puts wings on the helmets of northern European warriors and other legendary heroes. But they’re still silly.

Cap’s buccaneer boots are just as silly. Cap is a soldier, and soldiers don’t usually wear anything so flamboyant — at least, not when they’re going into combat.

But the buccaneer boots suggest swashbuckling, which suggests derring-do and heroics. So I can live with the boots.

But the A on Cap’s head?

Sorry, but it’s ridiculous.

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