ByChris Moneymaker, writer at
Chris Moneymaker

So for those who've been missing out, From Comics to Cinema is a weekly article that began on Reddit, focusing on the transition of popular comics characters from the page to the screen. You can view the original gallery here - - or read on below!


So while I know the Marvel Cinematic Universe has picked up a lot of popularity, there may still be a lot of people out there wondering...

We're still three weeks away from [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) and anticipation is already high for what may be the first Blockbuster of 2014. As we begin the countdown to Winter Soldier, I thought it best to look back at Captain America: The First Avenger.


Captain America

Unlike the vast majority of Marvel Comics characters who debuted in the 60's and 70's, Captain America was originally created in March 1941 - a number of months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor prompted America's involvement in the War. Captain America remained a popular character through the 40's and 50's; though it wasn't until Avengers #4 (1964) that the characters history was revised to see him falling into suspended animation at the end of WWII and subsequent reawakening in the modern world.


Project Rebirth

After the loss of project leader Abraham Erskine and the original formula, the Super Soldier program (codenamed Project: Rebirth) would continue to try and recreate the success they found in Steve Rogers. The subsequent experiments - in which 300 African American soldiers would be given an earlier version of the serum - proved fatal to all subjects except one: Isaiah Bradley, the 'Black Captain America'. Years later, Project: Rebirth would be revealed as just one - Weapon I - in an entire series of experiments codenamed Weapon Plus. Weapon Plus would play an essential role in the 'creation' of one other Marvel staple: Weapon X, aka Wolverine of the X-Men.


Red Skull

For as long as there has been a Captain America, there has been a Red Skull, debuting alongside the star-spangled avenger in 1941. This original Red Skull was named George Maxon - an American interested in overthrowing the US Government. Maxon would eventually be revealed as simply a 'pawn' for Johann Scmidt, the 'true' Red Skull. Schmidt originally wore a mask, but would later have his face transformed through exposure to his own 'Dust of Death' - a chemical weapon which would kill his victims by rapidly drying and shrinking the skin around their face and head, resulting in a 'red skull'. Though he seemingly died at the end of 'The First Avenger', the Red Skull has died numerous times in the comics, and has subsequently resurrected through a number of means.


Margaret 'Peggy' Carter

Peggy Carter was a member of the French Resistance, meeting and fighting alongside Captain America during World War II. Unlike her film equivalent, in the comics Peggy is not involved in Project: Rebirth, but rather meets Cap on the battlefield. After Cap's apparent death, Peggy would go into a deep state of mourning that would eventually lead her into the care of villain Doctor Faustus. Cap would save her from the evil Doctor, and she would go on to serve for both SHIELD and the Avengers before retiring to a nursing home.


Arnim Zola

In the comics, Arnim Zola is a skilled biochemist, who creates a means through which the human mind might be copied and imprinted upon a new subject. This imprinting can be done on other living creatures, or on mechanical constructs of his own creation. He's used this technology to create a series of robotic bodies which have allowed him to outlive his natural lifespan, and can transfer his consciousness to a new 'body' whenever his current one is destroyed. On film, there are a couple of allusions to his comic origin, including the image of his face projected through a digital screen; and blueprints in his lab which seem to depict a robot body similar to his form in the comics.


The Howling Commandos

The Howling Commandos was an elite fighting group initially serving in WWII under the leadership of Sgt. Nicholas Fury, with many of the Howling Commandos later serving as Nick Fury's inner circle after becoming Director of SHIELD. On film, Nick Fury is otherwise absent from the Howling Commandos roster, with the group serving as Cap's hand-picked support team.

From left to right: Jim Morita, Jacques Dernier, Dum Dum Dugan, James Montgomery Falsworth (Union Jack), 'Bucky' Barnes, and Gabriel Jones. Originally, Union Jack and Bucky were not part of the Howling Commandos, but rather (alongside Captain America) members of the Invaders, an international coalition of superheroes fighting for the Allies.


Reading Recommendations!

Marvel Masterworks: Captain America, Vol.1 - This collection takes you back to Captain America's first solo series, revisiting his origins, early encounters with the Red Skull, and acclimating to the 'modern' world (of the 1960's). Some may find these classic comics to be in harsh contrast to their more modern equivalent (it was simpler, sillier time); but they are a fun, easy introduction to the character.

Captain America: Man Out of Time - A modern retelling of the events surrounding Captain America's reawakening after his suspended animation, Man Out of Time is a uniquely introspective look at Cap's return and the journey he must undergo to find his place in the world. Man Out of Time isn't just a great Captain America primer, but also gives a nice peek into the early days of the Avengers.


Until next time...

I hope you enjoyed! Tune in next week as From Comics to Cinema continues its countdown with coverage on Nick Fury, SHIELD, and the supporting cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


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