The Jewishness of Captain America

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

Today, March 10, 2021 is the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of one of America’s most beloved comic book characters: Captain America.

Most non-comics fans know the character from Chris Evans’ amazing portrayal in the MCU. But that also means that they don’t know how the character was created, why and, most importantly, who by.

The Creation of Captain America

World War II is raging across the Atlantic. Rumors of the German treatment of Jews are widespread.

It’s 1940, and comic book writer Joe Simon is drawing a sketch of a new character, “Super American.” Deciding that “Super” was too trite, he rapidly changed the character’s name to Captain America and, along with his partner Jack Kirby, he pitched it to Timely Comics.

The publisher said yes, and the rest is history. Captain America Comics #1 was cover dated March 10 (but actually went on sale in December 1940).

And the cover of that comic shows Steve Rogers, Captain America, punching Hitler.

Captain America was literally an anti-fascist symbol from the moment he hit the shelves. He punched Hitler an issue before he got his iconic shield (the first shield looked too much like somebody else’s character’s symbol, so they were asked to change it).

And Joe Simon (born Hymie Simon) and Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurzberg) were both Jewish.

Created By Jews and Also Created By Jews

As most people who follow pop culture now know, Captain America’s civilian identity is Steve Rogers, a white lad from New York. He wanted to join the army, but was turned down. He kept showing up…he was underweight and asthmatic.

Which made him the perfect volunteer for an experimental serum that would turn him into a peak physical specimen.

That serum was designed by Joseph Reinstein (aka Abraham Erskine) who, as you can probably tell from the name was…Jewish.

So, Steve Rogers was created by Jewish creators but Captain America was canonically “created” from the clay of Steve Rogers by a Jewish scientist (who promptly died, and nobody’s been able to properly recreate it).

Photo by Louise on Unsplash

Is Captain America a Golem?

Some people have taken it a step further and pointed out a few things.

The letter A on Captain America’s forehead obviously stands for America, but it’s also one of the letters put on the forehead of a golem.

Modern golem imagery also has a star on the chest.

Even the fact that he uses a shield as a weapon is kind of golem-ish.

So, Captain America isn’t just a patriotic symbol.

He’s created by Jews to punch Nazis. To protect America, where his creators’ parents fled to to escape anti-semitism much as my ancestors fled Poland to England.

In short, Captain America is anti-fascist, right at his very core.

So, maybe we should be celebrating Captain America Day by speaking out against fascism.

Certainly, if you’re reading a Captain America comic, remember that he is a Jewish creation, not just an American one.

Freelance writer, freelance editor, novelist and short story writer. Jack of many trades.

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