4 Weird Captain America Stories The MCU Stayed Away From
Captain America's age-related retirement at the end of Endgame meant that a lot of classic stories from the comics never got to be on screen. We never got to see him punch the real Hitler, or go undercover as an old grandma, or be commanded to "WANK" by a psychic villain, or ... okay, so maybe not all these comics had a realistic chance of ending up in the movies anyway, for better or worse. Whether the following stories would have doomed the MCU or made it infinitely better is up to you ...
Captain America, 1950s Commie Smasher
In the early '50s, comics started getting some heat from the media and even Congress for promoting violence and degeneracy. Concerned parents and authorities were worried that, if they let their kids read the latest Archie or whatever, they might turn into godless anti-American subversives. So, when Stan Lee and company decided to bring back Captain America after a long hiatus in 1953, how could they make sure the government knew he was on their side? Easy: just turn him into Joseph McCarthy in tights.
In their first all-new "commie smashing" adventure, Cap and his (somehow still) teenage sidekick Bucky come out of retirement to fight the Red Skull, who has gone from being the world's most fanatical Nazi to working with communist Russia, because those two groups famously got along so well.
But, for the most part, Cap and Bucky fought regular people who turned out to be communist spies bent on destroying America from within, and who usually wounded up dead by the end of the comic. Even the Skull dies after only his second encounter with Cap's patriotic fists.
This Cap doesn't give a flying crap if you're only helping the reds because they have a gun pointed to a family member's head -- if you're not willing to let your little kid die for America, he'll kick your traitor ass.
In one issue, a Chinese-American police officer is being blackmailed with his beloved brother's life. But it turns out that the commie blackmailer is his brother, and of course he's dead by the last page. Instead of telling the officer what happened, Cap just says that his brother's life is "no longer in danger," which is technically true.
In one issue, Cap is injected with a "virus of evil" that gets people to start thinking Russia might not be entirely bad ...
... which inevitably turns them into child-punching freedom haters, sooner or later.
But Cap's blood was too pure for the virus to take hold, and he ends up proving his patriotism by killing a submarine full of Soviets. When Cap joined the Avengers in 1964, Marvel claimed that he'd been frozen since the '40s, ignoring his whole "commie smasher" period. They later explained that the Cap of the '50s was some far right nutjob who legally changed his name to Steve Rogers and got plastic surgery to look like him. Sadly, this means we'll probably never get to see the fight between ultra-conservative 1950s Captain America and mega-socialist 1930s Superman that we deserve.
Captain America Gets Addicted To Super Meth
In a very special 1990 storyline called "Streets of Poison," Captain America learns that his young pal is doing meth and tries to get him to go clean -- which doesn't sound too convincing coming from someone who gets his powers from super steroids, as the comic itself points out.
Cap's personal war on drugs is hindered by a warehouse explosion that literally bathes him in meth. No one thinks much of this at first, until Cap gets insanely paranoid ...
Starts bocking like a chicken for no reason ...
And spontaneously develops a beard and bloodshot eyes. Yep, Cap is high as balls.
To make matters worse, it's explained that the meth has attached itself to the super serum that's been running through Cap's veins for the past 50 years, giving him a permanent high. Since the Avengers don't want a junkie leading the team, they have no choice but to pump the serum out of Cap's body, turning him into a regular human (with bodybuilder physique and decades of combat training and a big indestructible Frisbee).
Cap decides to prove that he doesn't need no sci-fi drug to be a superhero by going after the masterminds behind the city's drug war, Kingpin and Red Skull. We learn that the Skull got into the dope dealing business to hasten America's decline, while Kingpin wants the opposite -- he thinks that causing hundreds of thousands of ODs will make the country stronger, somehow. Anyway, once both villains have explained their philosophies, they strip down to their undies and engage in an impromptu MMA fight to decide who gets to control the local turf.
Red Skull puts up a good fight, but Kingpin wins by pinning him down under his generous gut. The only logical way to interpret this scene is by assuming that Cap never got sober and this whole thing is another meth-induced hallucination.
In the end, Ant-Man says he managed to filter the meth out of Cap's original blood, but Cap doesn't want it back, because "If I can't just say no, who can?" But he couldn't say no, because he ended up getting pumped with super soldier serum again within a few years, sending the message that drugs may be bad, but they're not as bad as low sales on your comic.
Captain America + Magical Werewolves = The CapWolf Saga
This adventure starts like so many others: with the hero looking for his friend who used to be a werewolf and stumbling upon a town full of wolf people. Captain America finds out that an evil wizard called Dredmund has been hoarding mind-controlled werewolves in this town as part of a ritual -- and when Cap gets captured, he gets wolf'd too and added to the collection.
CapWolf gets thrown into a pit full of other werewolves, which operates under the same logic as any human prison: in order to earn respect, you have to find the most dangerous inmate and fight him. In this case, the most dangerous wolf is obviously the one who doesn't believe in pants.
Cap defeats the nudist wolf, becoming the new leader of the pack. Thanks to that, he's able to rile up his fellow furries against Dredmund and escape the pit by convincing them to form a (half-)human pyramid.
Cap goes to stop Dredmund, but he has already turned himself into a mystical wolf entity through his ritual. In his obligatory villain monologue, he explains that he attracted visitors to this backwater town by offering seminars on "getting in touch with your hairy selves," which definitely made people think it was some sort of weird sex thing (we're not surprised it worked). Also, Wolverine is there, because this came out in 1992 and Marvel was legally obligated to put him in every single comic.
The wolfpeople and the guest-starring X-Men (Cable is also somewhere in there, why not) defeat Dredmund, and Cap goes back to normal on the next issue -- but not before fighting a demon version of himself that comes out of nowhere.
But, believe it or not, that wasn't the worst ghoul Cap ever faced ...
Captain America Vs. President Nixon ... To The Death
In Captain America #175 (1974), Cap fights a hooded villain only known as "Number One" who's about to pull off what might be the most needlessly elaborate plan ever. Step one: discredit Cap in the media via attack ads aired by an organization called Committee to Regain America's Principles, a completely serious and trustworthy name ... as long as no one looks at the initials. CRAP is led by a man named Harderman, who bears a passing resemblance to Richard Nixon's disgraced Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman.
Step two: frame Cap for murder and put him in jail. Step three: take Cap out of jail through a group called the Sanitation Squad (a reference to Nixon's equally ridiculously-named "White House Plumbers"). Step four: with Cap totally discredited, introduce a fake hero called Moonstone and let him become America's darling. This time, the Watergate reference is a little less subtle: he straight up talks about Watergate, more than once.
Step five: kidnap a bunch of X-Men (and their nemeses) and tie them to a big wheel in order to power a flying saucer with their minds. Why a flying saucer? Because step six consists of landing the saucer on the lawn of the White House and letting everyone see Moonstone get his ass kicked by the invaders.
And finally, step seven: watch America surrender to Number One and his fake aliens, because a superhero they met like two days ago says there's no point in fighting him. Of course, Cap and his friends interrupt this little production and the whole thing falls apart live on TV, exposing Moonstone and Harderman as frauds. That leaves the mysterious Number One, who runs into the Oval Office and shoots his brains off -- but not before Cap sees his face. His sad, somewhat Droopy Dog-looking face.
The implication (confirmed in interviews with the writer) was that Number One was Nixon himself, who was trying to usurp his own job and go from "most powerful man in America" to "most powerful man in America, but more so." Think about it: as Number One, Nixon could finally get away with shady shit like pushing democratic countries into murderous dictatorships with total impunity. Can you imagine?!
Captain America was so disheartened by what he witnessed that he stopped wearing a flag for a while, and became a non-patriotic superhero called Nomad, the man without a country. This didn't last long, but at least he learned something important about himself in the process: he freaking hates capes.
Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com.
Top Image: Marvel Comics