Within the vast and varied Marvel Universe, inhabited by characters with troubled and complex psychological profile, the figure of Captain America is the landmark par excellence, the embodiment of the ideals and of the spirit that, in the collective imagination, identify the meaning of the term hero. The character was the brainchild of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941 and was conceived with a propaganda purpose in mind: to oppose the German imperialism that in those years was raging in Europe and more than a little worried about the American people, already largely convinced of the need to intervene in the war scenarios. Not surprisingly, the cover of the first issue (published by Timely Comics, the forerunner of Marvel) depicted the hero in the act to strike a well placed hook to Hitler in person and received a resounding success, selling almost a million copies. These political traits persisted even after the world war, with the onset of the Cold War and the hunt for new ("communists") enemies, but the success of the Comics series died quickly and the character was shelved. Only in 1964 Stan The Man Lee (through a brilliant awakening from an unconscious state of hibernation in the ice of the Arctic Ocean) decided to reintroduce the character in a more human and less nationalistic form, even suitable to denounce corruption and social differences of the American society. In this way, Captain America acquired the purest and noblest traits of the true superhero. This second birth took place in issue #4 of the series Avengers, thanks to that fantastic team of which the Captain will soon become the undisputed leader for his militaristic attitude in command and skills as a fighter.

From a figurative point of view, the character really boasts a first-rate charm: the classic costume, in fact, can count on the bright colors of the American flag, with red and white vertical stripes on waist and a blue suit, where a large white star stands out on chest and back.

The upper part of the costume is embellished with a scaled texture, while the color contrast is accentuated by the white color on the arms, a black belt and big red gloves and boots, characterized by some large and semi-rigid lapels. A beautiful mask completely covers his head with a large "A" centered on the forehead and two small side flaps at the temples. In the modern version, the mask is triangular in shape and leaves uncovered only the front part of the face, with appropriate openings on the ears. On the contrary, the version of the '40s exhibits a mask more usual for the time, open at the neck and with curved contours below the eyes. In the two variants the typical and charming shield is different too: circular, with red and white aternating concentric circles and a centered white star in the Avengers version. and three-pronged triangular, with stars and vertical stripes, in the World War II original edition. Note that despite the aforementioned differences, the colors and the essential features of costumes are the most striking elements of the hero: they generate a high-impact aesthetic combination, so that even in newer and modern versions (like the "Ultimate", for instance) they remained largely unchanged. The intrinsic beauty and the charismatic role of Captain America in the Marvel Universe has led to the creation of a large number of statues, both in museum-style and dynamic poses, able to emphasize the powerful physicality of the character.

Undoubtedly Captain America represents one of my favorite superheroes and, in the Marvel Statues Museum, the character which counts on the largest number of samples. Most of them come from Bowen Design, the American Company which devoted to this reference point of the USA Comics an incredible variety of collectibles. It is worth noting that Bowen dedicated to the hero also one of the few real bronze statues; this very rare collectible was released in 1999 with an edition size limited to only 100 pieces worldwide and has become (like the others bronze statues of Hulk, Spider Man and Batman) one of the forbidden dreams of any collector, due to their really crazy market quotations. Moreover, the Cap bronze was also released with a small bust of Steve Rogers in military uniform (only 60 samples worldwide). In the same year, however, Bowen also marketed two resin statues in the classic 1:6 format (the Modern and the 1940's Statue), followed in 2001 from the Gold version, all depicting the Cap in an erect posture and on a rectangular prism basis. Personally, I have never liked much those first productions, especially for the poor staining of shades and a little "too rigid" pose for the character. But the true Captain America, as readers of so-called Silver Age of Comics have learned to know and love, is undoubtedly represented by Classic version of 2007, a real cornerstone of Bowen Design and a landmark for all fans.

Subsequent to this benchmark, Bowen released a number of excellent pieces, often alternating some chromatic variations (as in the case of the Metallic of 2009 or the monochrome Newsreel of 2010) with the more evident stylistic mutations the character exhibited in Comics (like Bucky Cap, in 2009, or the very sought-after Ultimate version of 2010). The success of these pieces among collectors has been significant, as evidenced by not only the quotations that always distinguish them on market, but also the latest productions of the American company, often aimed at reproducing the past glories through simple variations of color (as in the Ultimate Variant of 2011 and the Avengers version of 2012). In essence, the only real novelty in the Bowen production dedicated to the character is represented by the fine Action Statue (2012), colored in a dark blue color with a slight metallic tone and (at last!) in a dynamic pose, which enriches the set of Bowen action statues after the success of analogous items dedicated to Thor and Spider Man. Apart from the first pieces (including the unreachable bronze statue), the collection boasts all of the above mentioned pieces and you can appreciate them through the many photos included in the different sections of the Collection topic of the website. Anyway, I like to point out that my absolute preference among all Bowen statues devoted to Captain America goes to the Faux Bronze version (2008), both for the unrivaled sculpt (exactly the same of the Classic version) and the amazing bright tones of the adopted bronze colors: a wonderful jewel and probably my favourite statue of the entire Bowen catalogue.

Among the many 1:4 statues devoted to the American super-soldier, a prominent role is up to the first Premium Format released by the American Sideshow in 2006, sculpted by Martin Canale and legitimately considered a true grail by a lot of collectors! The piece exhibits a perfect museum-style pose and an incomparable appeal, due to its unique aesthetic impact. The faithfulness to the traditional costume of Comics, the face features close to the classic tables of the masters of Marvel (Kirby, Romita, Buscema) and the incredible sense of pride emanating from the whole figure, make this statue a true king among all collectibles of the Marvel Universe and, in my opinion, a true must-have for any fan. In 2014, the same American Company released a second Premium Format devoted to the hero, known as the Allied Charge on Hydra version, characterized by a more realistic look and the traditional suit of a II World War soldier.

Although rather different from the classic design of Comics, the figure exhibits an amazing sculpt, a dynamic pose and a great attention paid to any detail, especially those typical of the military uniform: the lace and buckles on boots, the tassels and seams on dirty jeans, the fabric belt enriched by small metal buttons and a set of pockets and holsters, made of fabric and leather, used to hold a gun, a shovel and a dagger. Recently, Sideshow released a third Premium Format (2018), designed and sculpted by a lot of different artists, among which the names of Daniel Bel and Martin Canale stand out. In this case, the hero shows a uniform with classic red, white, and blue details, but equipped with an upgraded aesthetic featuring tactical armor, which emphasizes his more modern look. Unlike a traditional Premium Format, the statue has an entirely sculpted costume, enriched with intricate textures and many original details, like two armor straps across his shoulders, a brown sculpted utility belt, some colored vertical strips on quadriceps, rigid guards on knees and shoulders and high red boots with a sort of high-tech look. The base shows the robotic remains of the android Ultron, which underline the hero's membership to the Avengers team. Among the other Sideshow pieces dedicated to te hero and included in the collection, it is necessary to mention the awesome Life Size Bust, sculpted by Martin Canale and released in 2011, the historical Captain America vs Red Skull diorama, depicting the clash between the two bitter rivals at the foot of a macabre staircase (still sculpted by Canale and the Core Group team, released in 2006) and an additional Premium Format dedicated to the Bucky version of the character. This statue was released in 2010 and pays homage to a series of Comics published between 2010 and 2011, where James Bucky Barnes assumes the role of the hero after the event of the Civil War cross-over and the death of Steve Rogers. In particular, the piece boasts a good visual impact, due to the design of the modern costume (really faithful to Comics), the chromatic contrast between the bright colors of the American flag on bust (here exhibiting a catching-eye metallic tone) and the blackground total black look on boots and the rest of the body, dressed by a close-fitting leather suit.

Captain America is also the character through which the Singaporean Company XM Studios debuted on the market of Marvel collectibles. The first XM 1:4 scale statue, in fact, was dedicated to the American super-soldier: it was sculpted by the talented Muzifal and released in 2014, with an edition size limited to 500 samples.

The figure exhibits a beautiful sculpt, very bright colors and exudes an iconic sense of power and pride: the hero is erect in a perfect museum-style pose and holds the flag of the United States with the left arm elongated forward, as to symbolize the firmness of the principles of Freedom and Justice of the American people. The statue was released with an unusual variety of add-ons (including a fine art print and a silver plated coin) and marked the beginning of the growing success of the Asian Company. More recently (2017), XM released a second 1:4 statue devote to Steve Rogers, named Sentinel of Liberty, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the character. Also in this case, the pose is very iconic and shows the hero frontally placed with the right arm raised, performing the classic military salute; note that the base (a prismatic pedestal, finely decorated with war scenes) makes the piece rather tall (about 60cm). The collection includes another XM statue of the American super-soldier: the 1:6 scale statue of the Avengers Assemble series, released in the context of the so-called HX-project. This project represents a collaboration between the H.M.O. (Hand Made Objects) group and the XM Studios, whose main aim was the release of a new line of 1:6 scale statues, characterized by a rather specific and stylized design, similar to a sort of cartoon style. Not by chance, the sculpt of this Cap is very smooth, the coloring avoids any nuance in excess, the pose is dynamic and the hero is depicted without any special frill, texture or decoration, by paying, at the same time, a great care to the artistic and stylized details.

In addition to the above mentioned pieces from the best-known Companies, the market offers a lot of other statues depicting this reference-point of the Marvel Universe, coming from other famous Companies or sculpted by talented artists, under the commission of private collectors. Due to my unlimited passion for the character, the collection includes a significant number of these pieces, also in different scales, some of which are related to specific events. For example, the Captain America - The Avengers statue was released by Diamond Select Toys in 2007 and represents a tribute to Jack The King Kirby, the artist who may be considered (with Stan Lee, of course) the true father of Marvel Comics. The piece is a faithful reproduction of the American super-soldier as he appears in one of the most known, iconic and celebrated Covers of all times: the already mentioned number #4 of the series devoted to the Avengers (published on March 1964), where Steve Rogers was found by the team, after he spent decades frozen in a block of ice in the North Atlantic Ocean, in a state of suspended animation. As said, this number marked the re-birth of the character, after the Golden Age and the many Comics published during the II World War, and his official integration in the Marvel Universe. Another very special piece is the original Captain America 9/11 tribute statue, released back in 2004 by Diamond Selectís Marvel Milestones, in memory of the terrible terrorist attack against the twin towers of New York. The statue was sculpted by Eli Livingston, with the contribution of Scott Derman, and is probably the most evocative among all Marvel statues available on market. Steve Rogers, the symbol of Freedom and Justice, stands erect in a frontal pose with the head slightly bent over and the eyes closed, as in a moment of resigned contemplation; both the arms are bent forward and gently hold up a bruised flag of the United States. And another significant event that has undoubtedly marked the Marvel World in recent years was the planetary success of the movie industry, with the uninterrupted release of dozens of movies inspired by the characters of the House of ideas. Among these, of course, Captain America plays a major role, also thanks to the interpretation of the actor Chris Evans and his "likelihood" (both physical and somatic) with the most classic version of the Comics' hero. The market, of course, offers a lot of statues depicting the film version of Marvel heroes, and although my interest has always been limited to the world of Comics, I wanted to include in the collection a few pieces inspired by these blockbusters. In 2016 the Brazilian Company Iron Studios released a spectacular Captain America 1:4 scale statue, inspired by the second movie of the Avengers saga: The Age of Ultron. The piece is characterized by a fine sculpt, a great attention paid to details, the exact reproduction of the movie's suit and, above all, the incredible resemblance with the actor's somatic traits, which makes this piece a true must-have for all fans of movie statues. Two additional "licensed" statues devoted to the alter-ego of Steve Rogers enrich the Marvel Statues Museum. The first was produced by the Californian Company Gentle Giant Ltd, within the original series named Statues with Vehicles (where the character is actually depicted "on board" a vehicle), and stands out for the incredible realism and quality of details, concerning both the figure and the vehicle. The piece was released in 2013 and shows the hero on a long motorcycle, in a perfect II World War style, colored with a military green tone, with huge wheels and a large handlebars. The second was released in 2010 by the Japanese Kotobukyia and is a part of the Avengers Reborn trio (with Thor and Iron Man). In this case, the hero exhibits his classic costume, with the bright colors of the US flag, but also some original features usually not appearing in Comics: in fact, the scaled upper part of the suit is colored with an unusual and iridescent blue tone, a small chin-guard embellishes the face and the classic red boots are replaced by a sort of high gaiter, covering the legs up to the calfs level.

The world of custom statues, that in recent years has revolutionized the market of Marvel (and not only) collectibles, could certainly not ignore a reference-point like the American super-soldier. One of the precursors of these "unlicensed" pieces is certainly the Captain America of the Philippine Halimaw, characterized by a rather original dynamic pose and the suit of the Ultimate version of the character. Compared to the top-level details and the spectacular sculpts that often distinguish the current customs (more and more often realized through some digital sculpting tool), this statue clearly shows the signs of time, both in the care of coloring and in the poor quality of the materials. Nevertheless, I consider it a small piece of history in this hobby and I am happy to have it in the Marvel Museum: it somehow witnesses the expansion of this charming hobby worldwide and the growing interest of talented artists towards the world of Marvel characters. In the same context, few years ago I had a chance to purchase some little statues (presumably in 1:10 scale) from a Singaporean artist, depicting very original caricatures of key-figures of the Marvel Universe. One of these rare pieces was devoted to Steve Rogers and really strikes for the quality of the sculpt, the attention paid to details and the overall level of painting. The proportions of the body are just caricatural, but the sculpt of the scaled upper part of the suit is impressive and also the painting of the suit (whose tonalities are very faithful to Comics) is very well done. As for any caricature, however, the real strength of the piece is the face of the hero: the large mouth has hyper-defined and rounded lips, a huge and hooked nose is centered between protruding cheekbones, two sticking out ears and small blue eyes come out from the mask whle a just sketched beard marks the lower part of the face. Still in the context of custom pieces, the so-called Last Man Standing represents a magnificent collectible and, in my humble opinion, one of the best pieces devoted to Captain America and available on market. The piece comes from a private commission: it was sculpted by the Brazilian Silva Brothers and released in 2015 with a not numbered edition size, anyway limited (to the best of my knowledge) to few dozens of samples. The statue depicts the character in a dynamic and aggressive pose: the physique is powerful, massive, with an excellent definition of muscle masses everywhere; furthermore, the outstanding sculpt is assisted by an impressive use of textures, as well as by very bright colors (especially the pale blue on suit) and a great attention paid to details. The piece also offers an interchangeable, unmasked head, with well sculpted blonde hair and eyebrows, and a bruised shield, which give the opportunity to change the display. Another extraordinary kit devoted to the hero has been sculpted by the talented AviAY and released in 2016, with a very limited edition size of 25 samples worldwide. The statue is majestic and instills a great sense of power and pride, due to the frontal pose in a perfect museum style and the excellent sculpt, characterized by hyper-defined muscles on legs, arms and abdomen, and a design which significantly reminds the Comics nature of the character. The suit is the classic one, although enriched with some typical military details, such as the pockets on the belt at waist, the high combat boots with laces or the leather bands on shoulders, that support the two grenades at both sides of the hero's chest. After the release of this first kit, the collector who commissioned the piece decided to propose a further variant of the same statue, known as Stealth version, characterized by a total-black look and an edition size of just 10 pieces. My enthusiasm for this collectible was such that I bought this further variant too, and I hope to exhibit it alongside the classic, whose coloring should be completed by the end of this year!