Today is Labor Day stateside, and many of you are enjoying a brief respite. Not Captain America though — Marvel Comics' star-spangled crusader has been fighting crime for decades (only to pause for twenty odd years to be frozen in a glacier). Such a track record guarantees an off day (or eight), so here they are, recorded for posterity.
8. Captain America had his own cargo cult
In the decades between World War II and present day, Captain America whiled away the hours trapped in Arctic ice. Cap's suspended animation made into his 2011 movie, but the film also left out a fantastically asinine detail from Marvel Comics canon — Captain America's frostbitten body was worshipped by bored Inuits.
Yes, instead of contacting absolutely anybody that they discovered a dead member of Mummenschanz, this community of Inuits worshipped Steve Rogers' body like some John Frum in a pervert suit.
They never got around to breaking his shield into communion wafers because Namor the Sub-Mariner showed up and acted like a dick for no particular reason, as has been his primary character motivation for the past seventy-something years.
Incidentally, this storyline is still kicking around today. I'm honestly surprised the notion of people venerating superheroes isn't widespread throughout comic book universes. I want to worship at the First Parish of Wolverine, where the devout drink Molson until they forget their past selves.
6. Captain America can't beat Batman in a fistfight
Try as he may, the Sentinel of Liberty can't best Batman in one-on-one fisticuffs. In the 1996 cross-universe Amalgam miniseries, Batman and Captain America battled in a sewer. This time, the Dark Knight came out on top. (To be fair, he's also beaten the Hulk mano-a-mano.)
Things didn't fare much better for Cap in 2003's JLA/Avengers, when their standoff was reduced to love taps and game theory.
5. Captain America almost turned off the dark
In 1985, a $4-million Captain America musical was in the works, and Marvel Comics turned to their own readership for "a girl between 10 and 14 who can sing, dance, and act up a storm!" The musical never made it beyond this delightful ad and a plot synopsis in The New York Times:
The book by Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs (who are also responsible for music and lyrics) has Captain A. going through a mid-life crisis. Fortunately, the action speeds up - his girlfriend, a candidate for President, is captured by terrorists and held hostage at the Lincoln Memorial.
4. Even Captain America is not immune to babes
As evidenced by this 1941 comic book cover, even the most honorable superhero will turn heel in the presence of naked shin.
3. Captain America's shield has unfortunate sound effects
During a particularly heated battle with the diabolical Controller, Cap's vibranium shield began blurting out imperative statements regarding self-pleasure. Marvel Comics has never gone on the record if this was A.) a one-time phenomenon; or B.) simply one of vibranium's lesser known elemental properties.
2. Captain America dresses as a Golden Girl to sneak behind enemy lines
The first issue of Captain America Comics is renowned for its famous cover of the superhero punching Hitler in the kisser. The second issue is considerably less heralded for its plot about Captain America masquerading as a grandmother around Nazi Germany. Writers really missed out on an opportunity to make Cap's geriatric disguise a signature accessory he keeps on his utility belt.
1. Werewolf Captain America
Yes, there was a good long period in the 1990s in which Captain America transformed into a lycanthrope who had the misfortune of looking like a drunk German shepherd. Let's just say there was some werewolf serum and gratuitous Wolverine guest appearances involved.
"Oh look, Wolverine is on the cover of this comic. This storyline must have won the Pulitzer and the Caldecott Medal on the same day." — Average 1990s Comic Book Store Patron.
Even as a man-dog with sweet abs, Captain America can still move a crowd. That's the mark of a true hero.
BONUS: Between World War II and the debut of The Avengers, nobody had any darn clue what to do with Captain America, so he spent a few mostly forgotten years fighting Communists and starring in his own brand of horror comics.
More Captain America in the underworld. I enjoy the implication that Captain America lounges in his living room in a full costume.
Yes, this period was basically the Captain America equivalent of all of those times Superman pretended to be mentally ill and made Lois morbidly obese. Note that a child psychiatrist was consulted for this "tale of wee males."