March 21, 2009

The first Captain America

More on the Comic Art Indigène exhibit now appearing at the NMAI in Washington, DC:

Native comic artists inspire, amaze and amuseIn 1940, two young Jewish Americans who were outraged about Nazi atrocities created a comic-book icon, Captain America.

Captain America carries a red-white-and-blue shield, but it is an older heroic figure that introduces Comic Art Indigène, an exhibition that runs until May 31 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

This hero, also bearing a red-white-and-blue shield with stripes reminiscent of the American flag, was drawn 800 years ago by an unknown Pueblo artist on the wall of a cave in what is now Utah.

"The first time I saw that pictograph, I immediately drew that comparison between it and Captain America," said Tony Chavarria, the curator of ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, N.M. "It comes from a time of drought and mass exodus of the Pueblo peoples from the Four Corners region. Like Captain America, it became an icon."
Comment:  For more on Captain America and Indians, see Captain America Meets Geronimo and Black Crow to Replace Captain America? For more on the subject in general, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

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