October 14, 2009
Just as Steve Rogers is returning from the dead in Captain America: Reborn, he is also conquering academia. Robert G. Weiner, Associate Humanities Librarian for Texas Tech University Library, has just published Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero: Critical Essays (McFarland & Company, $39.95), which thoroughly examines the Star-Spangled Avenger.
Weiner is certainly the man for the job. He’s proven his chops on numerous academic articles on comics, plus the Herculean, six-year project Graphic Novels and Related Publications: An Annotated Guide to Comics, Prose Novels, Children's Books, Articles, Criticism and Reference Works (McFarland, 2008), documenting nearly every Marvel (and Epic) graphic novel.
Plus, he’s been a huge comics fan since his youth, with Captain America a favorite since his 30s.
“There is something honest about Captain America,” Weiner said in an interview. “He is not a Boy Scout like Superman. He does what is right regardless of consequences. Cap is not a government stooge, [with] ‘Civil War’ … a perfect example. But he stands for everything that is good about America; the American ideal that we should all strive to incorporate in our lives.”
Weiner says Cap is among his top three characters, with Batman and the Silver Surfer. But he also cites favorites like 3-D Man, Kull, Human Fly, Superman, Moon Knight, Blazing Skull, the original Human Torch, Mister Miracle, the original Sandman and Dr. Fate. But it was the (temporary) death of the Sentinel of Liberty that prompted action.