Hey, on your left, it’s “So You Want To Read Comics”, our weekly feature where we take a look at a single topic then offer comic recommendations perfect for new readers, based on that topic. This week we’re taking a look at the Disney+ series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Coming hot on the heels of the successful Wandavision, there were a lot of expectations for this series and it certainly didn’t disappoint, at least when it came to creating discussion about hot button topics. Using the iconography and symbolism of Captain America as a multifaceted story element, the series quickly evolved from a standard military drama, into a commentary about a whole array of topics like: race and Black America, PTSD, legacies, supremacy, and the end of American Exceptionalism.
Yet, now that the series is over you might be wondering where to find similar themes in the pages of comic books. Don’t worry though, these should do the trick.
Truth: Red, White, & Black
Writer: Robert Morales
Artist: Kyle J Baker
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rarely is there such a clear line from a show to a comic book, but this is one of those occurrences. The story of Isaiah Bradley in the show is pulled almost exactly from this comic series. As a refresher, this focuses on Isaiah Bradley, a black man who was given a similar treatment as Steve Rogers and became a super soldier just like him. That’s where the similarities end, for as Steve would go on to become a celebrated hero, Isaiah’s experience would be vastly different and more heartbreaking. Much like how The Falcon and The Winter Soldier dove into the complexities of race relations and what it means for a black person to be Captain America, so does Truth: Red, White, & Black. This is not a lighthearted read. Taking cues from real-world horrors like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, this gets heavy, but deserves a read. When this series first came out, Isaiah Bradley was a new character introduced specifically for this series, he has since been integrated into the main Marvel continuity.
Captain America: The Death of Captain America
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Publisher: Marvel Comics
At the end of a comic book event called Civil War (it’s a lot different than the movie) Steve Rogers A.K.A. Captain America was killed. In his absence recently returned from the dead Bucky Barnes takes up the mantle. What follows is an examination of how a person can overcome their past and traumas to move forward in their life and step up when needed most. Beyond that, much like the show, this comic series spends a decent amount of time examining what a symbol like Captain America means in a modern world, where America’s image isn’t as squeaky clean as it might wish it was. As an added bonus, when this was released the character of Bucky Barnes had only recently been reintroduced to the Marvel Universe, so the reader has the opportunity to be introduced to a lot of the characters of the Marvel Universe, through his eyes. Helmed by Ed Brubaker, who’s a master at subtly crafting long and connected narratives, this is a series that should be read to completion.
What did you think of these recommendations? Do you have any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.