Fans: Captain America Died For His Ideals

Captain America killed off
Born to fight the Nazis in World War II, he was the original symbol of truth, justice and the American way. CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports.

This week, when many think America needs him the most, Captain America died at the hands of a new enemy.

"A lot of people look up to Captain America, not only in the comic book world but in real life," says Quentin Mugavrin, a Captain America fan.

Over the last year, Marvel Comics fans have followed a Civil War. The community of comic book superheroes split down the middle — battling each other over the government's call to register them.

Captain America rebelled, calling the measure an infringement of his civil liberties. His one-time buddy, Iron Man, believed it was all for the greater good — national security.

"Fans were absolutely torn as to which side they were on," says Marvel Comics editor-in-chief, Joe Quesada.

Quesada can't deny the parallels between his Marvel Universe and the real world. He had plenty of material to work with: a War on Terror, battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and above all, concerns over the Patriot Act.

"We were asking the question, the very, very simple question, which is, What is more important for you, your civil liberties or your personal safety?"

This week fans got the answer. Captain America was bumped off, betrayed, in true Manchurian Candidate fashion, by his girlfriend after she had been hypnotized.

The issue sold out in a day and a half.

Marvel comics killed off Captain America once before, when the Nazis blew up his plane over the North Atlantic. He was frozen in ice for 20 years.

Maybe that's why he seemed a little old fashioned for this age when so many of our leaders seem to have flaws.

"He's actually a man out of time who lives with the convictions and morals of the '40s, trying to adapt to a new millennium," says Gerry Gladston, co-owner of Midtown Comics.

Quesada says he's not sure if fans will see Captain Marvel in the future or not.

One thing's for sure, the comic book will live on — without its namesake.

"That to me is why this story is worth telling now because to me its: How do we get along without Captain America?" says Quesada. "Do we stand up? Do we step down?"

Because now, maybe more than ever, America needs its heroes.
Michelle Miller