Major development for Captain America (for now, anyway). Cap – strangely for such an “iconic” creation – is probably the character who has changed the most, tonally, in my comics reading lifetime. This latest event seems pitched perfectly for Captain A’s development over the last 20 years, ever more serious and brow-furrowed, a character almost audibly creaking under the weight of a decade where there’s been a renewed awareness and debate around what “America” and “American values” are. Not that his comic’s been bad – the writer found some liberation in turning CA’s long-dead former sidekick into a stealth videogame assassin badass, who is clearly more interesting to write than the ‘sentinel of liberty’. Now’s a good time to kill him for a while (only in comics can that phrase be so matter of fact), with readers so invested in and worried about what he stands for.

Hard to remember, though, what he was like in the late 80s, when he has a slightly embarassing and unfashionable character with a low-selling title. Highlights of this era – and they are highlights, his comic was reliably more entertaining and pacy because nobody cared what happened in it – included:

  • Captain America turned into a werewolf.
  • Captain America turned into a woman after infiltrating a boat full of lady supervillains.
  • Captain America fighting Ronald Reagan who had been turned into a giant snake monster.
  • Cap in loads of thinly disguised Indiana Jones bites, chasing round having pulpy action adventures.
  • Captain America sent psycho by accidentally taking the made-up devil drug ICE.
  • Captain America having some kind of treble-sized trip and hallucinating meetings with Paul Revere, Johnny Appleseed and other myth-heroes of America, who give him the opportunity to retire into fictional heaven! (He doesn’t take it as he has yet to experience being turned into a woman)

Remember him that way.