Captain America celebrates 80 years since his 1941 debut this summer. Part of Marvel's plans to mark the milestone include a limited series titled The United States of Captain America (opens in new tab) which unites Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, John Walker, and Sam Wilson - four heroes who have taken the mantle of Captain America - embarking on a road trip adventure.(opens in new tab)
Along the way, Steve Rogers and his allies/successors will meet some new heroes who have been inspired by the legacy of Captain America, to the point where they've taken up costumes and identities directly related to Cap. The first of these heroes is Aaron Fischer, a queer teen who acts as the guardians of LGBTQ+ youth and unhoused people.
Newsarama caught up with Aaron Fischer's co-creator, writer Josh Trujillo, who created Aaron alongside artist Jan Bazaldua, to discuss their contributions to June 30's The United States of Captain America #1, and dig into how Aaron Fischer will contribute to Cap's legacy - including whether he goes by the name 'Captain America,' and if he'll appear again.
Newsarama: Josh, you're the co-creator of Aaron Fischer (alongside artist Jan Bazaldua), the first of several new characters who will be introduced to celebrate Captain America's 80th birthday, and the first openly gay hero to be part of Cap's legacy. How does it feel celebrating this milestone with this story and with Aaron Fischer in particular?
Josh Trujillo: It feels incredible to be a part of this anniversary, and to contribute to Captain America's legacy. To create a new gay hero for Marvel, one inspired by Cap, is mind-blowing. Not too long ago this would have been unthinkable. As a gay kid that grew up on the Marvel Universe, I'm very excited and very humbled to tell this story.
Nrama: Captain America's legacy goes back 80 years at this point, back to 1941. What's your personal history with Captain America? What does Cap mean to you, as a symbol and character?
Trujillo: My first interactions with Captain America were probably through trading cards I collected as a kid. Cap's design instantly catches your eye, and he was my gateway to the Avengers (and eventually, the greater Marvel Universe). I knew all of his stats, all of his enemies, everything.
Comics-wise, I became a fan through the Ed Brubaker run of Captain America. Following the Winter Soldier (opens in new tab) storyline month-to-month was one of the most thrilling reading experiences I've ever had.
Captain America has a lot to carry on his shoulders. He's a projection of our nation's hopes and strengths, but he's also a living symbol of American history. There's a lot of pain in that history, and that's something a character called 'Captain America' always has to reckon with. Steve Rogers is the best of us. He leads with his heart, and he never gives up.(opens in new tab)
But he's still human. He fails at times; he can lose sight of what he's fighting for. or become disillusioned. Underneath the powers and the costumes he's just a fearless kid who desperately wants to do the right thing.
Those are qualities that make him, and the other Captains America, so compelling to me as a fan, and as a writer.
Nrama: Tell me about the genesis of Aaron Fischer. He's described as the'Captain America of the Railways,' a protector of unhoused people and LGBTQ+ runaways. Why was it important to you and Jan to create this character, this way?
Trujillo: I knew a character who specifically looked out for our community, who was of our community, could be a very powerful thing. Because of that, it was important to me that he was centered on real problems that impact queer youth.
I looked at the disadvantages the most vulnerable members of our community face. Chief among them, to me, is a housing crisis all over the country. That seemed like a very important and worthwhile cause to rally Aaron around.
Jan brought a lot of talent to this project, and a passion for celebrating queer voices. She did the impossible by designing a look that felt like it belonged alongside the iconic Captain America uniforms of the past. Jan has an incredible style, and I think it shines through in the story we were able to tell together.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: On that note, tell us more about Aaron as a character. Does he go by 'Captain America,' in line with his makeshift shield and Cap-inspired costume? What do we need to know before we meet him in The United States of Captain America #1?
Trujillo: Aaron Fischer is a big-hearted, queer runaway from Missouri. He's 19 years old, he makes spontaneous decisions, he gets dumb tattoos, and he cares a lot about people. Despite his tough exterior, he's friendly, kind, and selfless. He's also a little bit of a heartbreaker.
Aaron is not the new Captain America, rather one of several new heroes inspired by Cap. In The United States of Captain America #1, you're going to meet him very early in his heroic journey. But you'll have to read the mini-series to find out what happens next.
Nrama: Aaron Fischer's announcement made a huge impact on our readers, with reactions running the gamut (the concept struck me in a very strong and cool way, personally). How much of that did you expect? How do you hope fans will react once they actually get to see Aaron in action and get a handle on his personality?
Trujillo: I am blown away by the reaction Aaron Fischer has received so far. I knew that Captain America had a lot of fans, but never did I expect to see Aaron on TMZ! It really speaks to how powerful the idea of Captain America is, and how much he means to readers all over the world. The fan art has been incredible!
In issue 1, I hope readers see Aaron's playfulness and his compassion. I also hope they learn more about his mission, and where he might fit into the Marvel Universe. He's a nomad in a superhero world. This is only the beginning for Aaron, and for The United States of Captain America.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: You created Aaron alongside artist Jan Bazaldua, and the two of you are contributing his chapter to The United States of Captain America #1. How has it been working with Jan and building that creative partnership?
Trujillo: Jan has been a perfect creative partner in this. Her sequential art is top-notch and it has added so much character and texture to my script. For a while, I was getting new pages in my inbox every day. It was such a treat!
I'd also like to send my love to Nick Robles, who did the beautiful variant cover that everyone saw all over the news. Nick is one of my favorite illustrators out there, and I literally screamed when I found out he would be providing a cover. His take on Aaron is perfect.
Nrama: Speaking of which, how has it been for the two of you working alongside the creators of the main story, Christopher Cantwell and Dale Eaglesham?
Trujillo: Jan and I owe Christopher a huge debt for letting us be a part of this. Our work, and Aaron Fischer, directly build off of his ideas for the mini-series. He's been super collaborative, and a classy guy throughout.
Also: Being in a comic with Dale Eaglesham is a huge deal to me. I can't believe he's drawing the character Jan and I designed!
Nrama: The obvious question is, what are the odds we'll get to see you and Jan telling more of Aaron's story after his debut in The United States of Captain America #1?
Trujillo: I would work with Jan again in a heartbeat! As for Aaron: I have a soft spot in my heart for this guy, but it all depends on what the readers think. There's a lot more to learn about him, and I hope those stories get told someday. For now, check out The United States of Captain America!
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