Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department


Committee Member

Dr. Jan Holmevik, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Lindsay Thomas

Committee Member

Keith Morris


Art, in all of its forms, has always reflected the moods and mores of the society that create it. This is true with the creating of comic books as well. Just as hardboiled novels reflected the bitterness and harshness of The Great Depression, a post-9/11 superhero had to become darker. Steve Rogers was plagued with PTSD following his revival in the 1960s and has abandoned the stars and stripes in the past, but he was not -- is not -- equipped to be Captain America in the 21st Century. The trend in comic books, and Science Fiction, following 9/11 favored the anti-hero and the hero who did not shy away from actions that would outrage the classical hero types, of which Steve Rogers's Captain America is as near a perfect example as you are likely to find in modern literature. My thesis explores the ways in which Barnes's Soviet past, and the political climate of a post-9/11 America, makes him an unlikely candidate for the role of America's most staunch patriot, and yet it would also seem to be, given the trend towards darker heroes who reflect the growing disillusionment of the American public, the most fitting choice for a post-9/11 Captain America. To accomplish this I explain the ways in which the character of Captain America has been influenced by the political leanings of the writing and editorial staff at Marvel over the last 70 years and show why, despite all of this, a change had to finally be made and Steve Rogers had to die.



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