The Captain America shield is not only a symbol of victory for superhero fans, but also of freedom for all Americans. The Golden Age of comics came at a perfect time in history — when the world was devastated with the largest war ever in history. It’s not that the United States was necessarily the world’s savior, but everyone needed some hope. Even though the U.S. had not yet entered the war, Captain America came onto the scene in 1941 to show the world that America fought for what’s right.
Captain America was unique in that he fought against villains who were actually real enemies of the United States. To do that, he not only used his superhuman abilities gained through the Super-Soldier Serum, but his Captain America shield. Usually a shield is considered a defensive tool, but Captain America used it as an offensive weapon. The shield became famous for being thrown at enemies like a deadly disc and ricocheting back to him. Several different models of the Captain America shield were made, but the most famous is probably the one from the 1980′s made of steel and vibranium. Other versions of the shield include one made from only steel and an energy shield.
The original shield from the 1940′s was triangular-shaped, but when it was noted that it looked too similar to another superhero’s uniform (The Shield), it was modified to a circular shield. Another modification is when Tony Stark changed the Captain America shield to allow Cap to control it after throwing it. The shield has seen damage during its time in battle, and some models have even been destroyed. Unlike Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, the Captain America shield was never given a name. That seems to be a ritual reserved for the Asgard…
When the Captain America shield has shown up in media other than comics, it usually has a basic appearance. In the Captain America film from 1990, Steve Rogers wielded a basic circular shield. It was the same for the 1966 animated series, and in Captain America’s appearance in the 1990′s Spider-Man animated series. But the next project the Captain America shield is about to be featured in this summer is by far the most exciting — Captain America: The First Avenger. Theatrical images and the first trailer show us that Rogers will wield both a circular and a triangular shield. Three of the most recent Marvel films have teased us about the shield’s debut. In Iron Man, a partially-completed shield shows up in Tony Stark’s workshop while he’s trying to get his armored suit off. In Iron Man 2, the same
shield is used as a shim in Tony’s construction of a particle accelerator. And by far the most hidden the shield has been was in an alternate opening to The Incredible Hulk. Captain America’s body and shield are seen buried in the ice. The producers of that Hulk movie made an interesting decision to not include the scene, as that may have had an effect on the storyline of The First Avenger and the potentially-subsequent Avengers movie project.
You can actually get a real Captain America shield for your full Captain America costume. There are lots of cheaper circular replicas, but right now you can get a fiberglass shield with leather straps signed by Stan Lee at Amazon right here. If that’s a little too pricey for you, Marvel has licensed two versions of the triangular-shaped Captain America shield that are just like the one Chris Evans uses in the new movie. One is the original color scheme, while the other has some blue stripes.
What’s your favorite part about the Captain America shield? Will the writers “get it right” with The First Avenger?
Jack Stewart is a writer for Superhero Legacy