During its long history, Marvel Comics has introduced thousands of characters, and the majority of the most popular characters today were first created by Stan Lee and his close collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the early 1960s. However, one Marvel superhero stands out in particular since he was the most notable character that Timely Comics (predecessor of Marvel Comics) created back in the 1940s. Captain America is, without a doubt, one of the most legendary Marvel characters, known as the “man out of time.” In this article, we’ll tell you how old Captain America is in the comics and the MCU.
In the comics, Steve Rogers was born on July 4, 1922, while in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was born on July 4, 1918. That means that today, in 2023, the comic book incarnation would be 101 years old, while Chris Evans’ live-action Steve Rogers would be 105 years old. Due to spending many years frozen in ice after World War 2, Steve Rogers remained biologically the same age he was when he went under, although MCU did that part a bit more realistically since he was in the ice all the way to the present day in 2011’s ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ In the comics, however, he was unfrozen in the early 1960s, but the advantage of comics is that they can keep characters the same age for many decades in real life.
Along with Timely Comics’ first-ever superheroes, the original Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner, Captain America was the signature character in the company’s early years in the early 1940s. Created during World War 2, Captain America quickly gained popularity for being a symbol of patriotism during wartime. When the war ended, the character suffered a decrease in popularity, but it was eventually restored in the early 1960s, during Stan Lee’s era at Marvel Comics.
What is the real age of Captain America?
The late 1930s marked the beginning of the Golden Age of Comic Books with the introduction of Superman at National Comics Publications (the corporate predecessor of DC Comics). Timely Comics (the predecessor of Marvel Comics) was founded in 1939, one year after Superman’s debut, and their first-ever characters were the original Human Torch (not to be misinterpreted for Johnny Storm, who first appeared in 1961) and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
However, with the growing popularity of Superman, Timely Comics needed to create a new superhero. Joe Simon wanted to create a character by first figuring out his ultimate nemesis, and since the war was ongoing at the time, it was decided that the main villain for the new superhero would be Adolf Hitler. Simon explained how he wanted to create a unique approach by putting a superhero against a real-life adversary instead of a fictional one.
Based on the idea of American patriotism and “timeless principles of freedom, equality, and justice of the American Dream,” Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, debuted in Timely Comics in ‘Captain America Comics’ #1 in December 1940 (coved-dated March 1941), with Joe Simon and Jack Kirby credited as the creators.
Since he was labeled as the patriotic superhero, it’s no wonder that July 4th (Independence Day in the United States) was picked as the date of birth for Steve Rogers. The comic book incarnation was born on the date in 1922, meaning that in 1941, when he was injected with the Super Soldier serum in Dr. Erskine’s Project Rebirth, he was only 19 years old.
Shortly before the war ended in 1945, Steve Rogers crashed a bomb-loaded plane into Artict waters. He was presumed dead at the age of 23. However, the Super Soldier serum has kept his body in a state of hibernation.
In 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the superhero team known as the Avengers, and in the fourth issue of their own comic book title, Captain America made his first appearance in the Silver Age of Comic Books in 1964. After his wartime comrade Namor, the Sub-Mariner found the ice block and threw it into the ocean. Opposing Namor, the Avengers saved Steve Rogers and revived the legendary American hero.
Since he was revived in 1964, it real-world’s time it would mean that Steve Rogers spent only 19 years frozen in ice. However, it all depends on the incarnation of the character. Captain America from the Ultimate Marvel universe (Earth-1610) was unfrozen in 2002, and Nick Fury specifically told him that he’s been out for 57 years.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, for obvious reasons, depicted that Steve Rogers was unfrozen after almost 70 years to fit Chris Evans’ incarnation of the character into the present-day narrative.
2014’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ revealed that the MCU’s Steve Rogers was born in 1918, meaning he was 27 when he crashed the Red Skull’s plane into the water. When he was unfrozen in 2011, Steve Rogers was mathematically 93 years old, although biologically, he remained the same age as he was in 1945.
To be honest, it would be really interesting to see, if Captain America gets some reboot movie in fifty years or so, for how long he would need to stay frozen if the present-day plot takes place at the time of the movie’s release.
Can Captain America age? How long can he live?
Crashing the bomb-loaded plane into Arctic waters allowed Steve Rogers to stay hibernated for many years and decades, depending on the incarnation. However, if that had never happened, it is expected that he would live a pretty long life since the Super Soldier serum doesn’t make him immortal, but it’s slowing down his aging.
As we’ve seen in 2019’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (we’ll ignore the plot holes that led to that scene since they were kinda justified), when Steve Rogers returned to 1945 and continued his life like the plane crash never happened, he still lived all the way until 2023, when he would be 105 years of age.
This shows that the Super Soldier serum doesn’t slow aging as much as Wolverine’s healing factor slows down his, but it was able to secure longer-than-usual life for Steve Rogers. And from what we know, the old Steve Rogers hasn’t passed away of old age in the MCU yet.
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