- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The original Cap is coming back.

Marvel Comics said Monday that Steve Rogers, the young man who tried but failed to join the Army during World War II only to take a super-soldier serum that turned him into the agile, strong and daring Captain America, will return to the role in “Captain America” No. 1 in July.

Nearly four years ago, Rogers abandoned the costume, and the job, after he was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse and thought dead. Since then, his former sidekick, Bucky, has been sporting the shield and a sidearm, too.

But with a new film this summer from Marvel Studios _ “Captain America: The First Avenger” _ it’s unthinkable to have someone else wearing the costume and throwing the shield other than Rogers.

Marvel is keeping mum about the new series’ story but said it is being written by Ed Brubaker, who has been guiding the character for years, drawing critical acclaim for the gritty realism of the character. Rogers himself returned to the Marvel Universe in 2009 and, not surprisingly, wasn’t dead, but lost in time. Still, Rogers operated on the sidelines while Bucky continued to serve as Captain America.

“I’ve really missed Steve in the role, since he hasn’t been Cap for about 50 issues now,” Brubaker told The Associated Press. “So I have big plans to really explore his character and history and bring in new villains.”

Part of that will include meeting the challenge of keeping the character fresh and poignant for longtime fans and readers, and also making him accessible to new readers who may pick up the comic book for the first time after seeing the film.

“That was my challenge for the first issue, to make this the perfect Cap comic for anyone walking out of that movie and wanting to know ‘what’s next?’ and also to cater to my long-term Cap readers, too,” he said “So I tried to come up with a story that was new and crazy and explosive, but that also ties richly into Steve Roger’s history, so the book feels like a natural extension of what I’ve been doing all along.”

Captain America has long been a bedrock character for Marvel. Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1941, his debut issue showed him knocking out Adolf Hitler on the cover of “Captain America Comics” No. 1. Since then he’s been part of The Avengers, paired with The Falcon to fight crime in the city and been a part of practically every major event created to roil the Marvel Universe.

Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, told the New York Daily News that the character is one of the best examples of what makes Marvel’s characters so popular.

“When his mask comes off, Steve Rogers is just like us. He’s the kind of hero who always strives to be something more _ to be a better person,” he told the newspaper, which reported the new series on Monday.

Marvel said that artist Steve McNiven will handle the art for the new series, something Brubaker lauded.

“Steve is at the top of his game, and no one draws action like him,” he said.

McNiven, who drew the Marvel mini-series “Civil War” and “New Avengers,” called Steve Rogers’ Cap a character he’s wanted to “work on in more depth since ‘Civil War,’ a real icon of the Marvel Universe.”




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