Thanks to the most recent installment of Thor, I have the Marvel films on the brain. Since I know we’ll all be waiting anxiously now for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I am sharing the excellent Steve Rogers’ American Captain to help scratch that itch. Steve Rogers’ American Captain takes place between the end of The Avengers and the upcoming film. As Steve tries to work out his confusion with the new world around him and grief for his friends from the 40’s, he begins to sketch himself interacting with others, all the confusing things that happen throughout the day, and his thought process as he wrestles with the PTSD that comes from going to war, being trapped in ice for 60 years, and being resuscitated and then save the world from an alien invasion. Cameos from his colleagues in the Avengers as they work, hang out and try to relate to him or help work out his problems are frequent and often hilarious and touching.
A lot of the praise for American Captain has been for the honest and touching ways it portrays mental illness. Captain America, the true All-American, sharing his very relatable struggles with depression and anxiety help shows how very real the struggles can be for such a huge portion of our society. The comic is all told from Steve’s perspective, in a sketchy pen-and-ink style. They are all hand drawn and scanned, which helps preserve the personal diary feel. It’s also fun to see the characterizations of the Marvel heroes in their casual mode, including Thor on a lunch date, Black Widow talking politics, and Tony Stark bonding with Steve over his father issues in his own roundabout and with-maximum-frustration way. The author, Robyn, is a doctoral candidate from New Zealand. American Captain is currently her only comic.