Storytelling and Race in Captain America — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #98

What is it for a super-hero to rep­re­sent Amer­i­ca? Though the char­ac­ter cre­at­ed by Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by in 1941 may have been a way to cap­i­tal­ize on WWII patri­o­tism, it has since been used to ask ques­tions about what it real­ly means to be patri­ot­ic and how Amer­i­ca’s ideals and its real­i­ty may con­flict. We’re of course talk­ing about race, a theme explored by Sam Wil­son, for­mer­ly Cap’s side-kick, pick­ing up the shield in the comics and now on TV (and in the forth­com­ing film).

Your Pret­ty Much Pop hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca, and Bri­an are joined by com­ic super-fan Antho­ny LeBlanc (return­ing from our ep.  56 on black nerds) to dis­cuss the recent com­ic runs by Ta-Nehishi Coates and Nick Spencer and espe­cial­ly Truth: Red, White and Black, Mar­vel’s 2003 comics mini-series by Robert Morales and Kyle Bak­er that tells the sto­ry of Amer­i­can super-sol­dier exper­i­ments on unknow­ing black men (rem­i­nis­cent of the real-life Tuskegee Syphilis Study). This was the source of the “first black Cap­tain Amer­i­ca” char­ac­ter Isa­iah Bradley fea­tured in The Fal­con and the Win­ter Sol­dier Dis­ney+ show, which we also dis­cuss.

Here are a few arti­cles that fed into our dis­cus­sion:

The final issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Cap­tain Amer­i­ca is com­ing July 7.

We rec­om­mend the Cap­tain Amer­i­ca Com­ic Book Fans pod­cast for more infor­ma­tion. Their recent inter­view with long­time edi­tor Tom Brevoort was illu­mi­nat­ing, and they spent eps.  33 and 34 walk­ing through Truth: Red, White & Black.

Hear more of this pod­cast at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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