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The political climate in the country has been heating up even more since Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States and began implementing his policies less than two weeks ago.
So far, the most contentious of the orders put in place by Trump temporarily bans travel from seven Muslim-majority countries to the U.S. One of the reoccurring symbols that has come from protests of those opposed to that policy is the image of Captain America, a comic book superhero created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby in 1941.
Simon’s middle of five children, Melissa Groben, told Heat Vision on Tuesday she is well aware people are using her father’s creation to convey a message, but that sentiment is nothing new.
“Captain America has been around for a long time, so anytime there is any turmoil or unrest or disagreement, he pops up,” Groben told Heat Vision. “We all find whatever we need in a particular character, whatever that may be. So, I can’t say that the way anyone is using the character is wrong. If that’s what they see in the character, then that’s what works for them.”
Groben, the executor of her father’s estate, made clear the views she was sharing with Heat Vision were her own, and that she was not speaking on behalf of the entire family.
“What Captain America represents to my neighbor might be different than what he means to someone from three towns over,” she said.
Captain America was created by Simon and Kirby before the United States entered World War II, which occurred in December 1941. The first issue, published months before the U.S. entered the war, featured one of the most famous covers in comic book history, depicting Cap punching Adolf Hitler in the face.
“Captain America was created while the Jews were being killed off in Europe, and my father, being Jewish, and Jack, being Jewish, were enraged that America was not over there with our military strength,” explained Groben. “They created Captain America to go after Hitler because our country wouldn’t go after Hitler. My father was very, very, very pro America, pro Jewish, he was very traditional, and it was a different world back then.”
As for the character being used as a symbol for those opposing Trump’s polices, Groben said she couldn’t speak for her father in that regard. However, “He saw the character used in many different ways and was thrilled that people found something in the character that fed whatever they were looking for.”
These days, Chris Evans is likely the face that comes to mind when people think about Captain America, as he’s the actor portraying Simon and Kirby’s creation in numerous Marvel blockbusters. And Evans has been vocal himself about his opposition to Trump’s polices, which is fine with Groben, she said.
“Mr. Evans is not representing his views as Captain America, he is representing his views as an individual,” said Groben. “He has been in many other roles and is a fantastic actor. He really did a great job as Captain America, but we have to separate fiction from reality. He is not speaking as Captain America. He is speaking as Chris Evans. And that’s the way it should be. His viewpoints are his own.”
Simon died in 2011 at the age of 98.
“We’re all still reminded of who Captain America is, what he is,” said Simon in a previous interview. “And he is a symbol. We need a leader like Capitan America, a hero. He was that hero, an icon.”
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