On Wednesday, Joe Quesada, who serves as Marvel Comics’ CEO, revealed on Comedy Central’s hit show, The Colbert Report, that the new Captain America — in comic books, at any rate — will be an African American. The superhero known as The Falcon, whose alter-ego is Sam Wilson, will take over from Steve Rogers as the new Captain America, while Rogers will be relegated to the role of being a back-up superhero.
When the winged character of Sam Wilson as The Falcon was first introduced by Marvel Comics in 1969, he was among just a handful of African American superheroes. He quickly became an established character and developed a broad fan base, though it was nowhere near as broad as that of Steve Rogers/Captain America.
The change to the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, will not occur until sometime in November. Then, Sam Wilson will take over the role in the comic book All-New Captain America No. 1. In the blockbuster movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon.
According to Tom Brevoort, an executive officer at Marvel, Steve Rogers will serve as a mentor to Sam “The Falcon” Wilson. He will act like a “strategic adviser” to him until Wilson feels comfortable in his new role of being Captain America.
Brevoort added that Steve Rogers will also instruct Sam Wilson in throwing the shield. Though throwing the shield accurately looks easy, it is difficult to master, as Wilson will discover.
Sam Wilson will not be the first person other than Steve Rogers to portray Captain America in comic books. Several people have donned the Captain America costume in the 73 years of his existence as a comic book superhero and American icon.There was even one other African American to have played Captain America, Isaiah Bradley. Bradley donned the Captain America costume in 2003 for the miniseries “Truth: Red, White, and Black.”
Marvel Comics’ news that an African American, Sam Wilson, will be the new Captain America follows the comic book and entertainment company’s perhaps even more controversial announcement that the new Thor will be a woman rather than a man. Wilson looks like a good fit for the role, as he has worked closely with an aging and weaker Steve Rogers for some time now. Wilson has helped Steve Rogers get out of some very tough jams before and a feeling of camaraderie has developed between them.
There was a time not that long ago when all comic book superheroes were portrayed as being white. White male teenagers and preteens were the main audience for comic books. Now, however, comic books are bought and read by a widely diverse group of people and Marvel Comics is acknowledging this diversity by the company’s two most recent moves of making Thor a female and having an African American be the new Captain America.
Sam Wilson’s Captain America costume has been redesigned by artist Carlos Pacheco, though Immonen did the cover of the comic book where the new Captain America will have his own series, All New Captain America #1. The basic overall look will remain, but there are going to be s few differences. As with the reactions of some fans to changes in Superman’s costume in Man of Steel, there will be some vocal fans who do not like the changes at all.
One part of the new Captain America costume appears to pay an homage to The Falcon’s old look of always having a triangle somewhere in his costume. The triangle in the new Captain America costume is around the wait area of the outfit, and might be a belt buckle or insignia. The look of the new costume resembles, in many respects, the old one; but, the triangle shape and other small differences make the costume uniquely Wilson’s.
Also, the “A” is gone from the forehead part of the new Captain America costume. It looks like Wilson has kept his old Falcon mask and has incorporated it into the costume. Perhaps that is because there is a functional aspect to Wilson’s wearing the mask as it is related to his ability to fly.
Another slight change is that there are now wings at the sides of the star logo, hearkening back to the “Captain America Super-Soldier” miniseries as well as the latest movie in the franchise, Captain America: Winter Soldier. The costume combines the traditional with the new, but, like most changes made to iconic comic book superheroes, the new look probably will not be universally loved by fanboys.
The pants and boots look similar to the movie version of the costume, Unlike the movie costume, there will be red-and-white stripes in the area of Wilson’s stomach. Also, the costume will have white sleeves and Wilson will wear red gloves, two other differences from the Captain America costume in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
The main difference, of course, is not one related to differences in the costume, but that an African American, Sam Wilson, is going to be the new Captain America. Like with its decision to make the new Thor a woman, Marvel Comics is trying to relate to the diverse nature of the comic book buying public by these two updates in traditional and beloved superhero characters. The company has stated that these two changes will not cross over into the movies that are currently being made in collaboration with Disney, though they might be incorporated into future flicks at some later date.
Written By Douglas Cobb