Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pardon My Back...

Looking at the specs on Captain America's shield, its diameter appears to be set in stone at 30 inches, which presented a real problem for Steve Rogers on how to carry the darn thing with him in his civilian identity in order to be ready for action in an emergency. Yet very early during his membership in the Avengers, that problem appeared to be solved, and rather cleverly, at that:

(Good thing airports and offices didn't have metal detectors in 1965--though an Avengers priority card would have smoothed things over for Steve, I suppose.)

There would seem to be no other option for concealing the shield, since there's a trading card out there which confirms the diameter width.

Just for fun, take a metal tape measure and extend it for 30"--snap the lock on the measure so that the tape holds in place at that length, and then hold the tape horizontally against your stomach, making sure the 15" point on the tape rests at the center of your stomach. Then look down and note how far each side of the tape extends on either side of you, and picture that width extension on your back. Conclusion: even Steve Rogers would look absolutely ridiculous walking anywhere with his shield strapped to his back underneath his clothing. (Unless Rob Liefeld had spiked Dr. Erskine's super-soldier serum.)

At some point, though, Steve indeed began wearing his shield on his back in such a fashion, which somehow--somehow--fit without making his back look freakishly out of proportion with the rest of him. Technically, you could say the way had already been paved for that kind of development, since his shield fit just fine on his front side.

Movie-Cap seems to make it work, though we know that Movie-Cap uses several shields at different sizes. But this looks pretty proportional and realistic to me:

Though our stalwart cosplayer here might not get away with it:

It looks like most do-it-yourselfers find it difficult to actually make a 30" shield work, strapped to their back.  So the shield is downsized.

At such a size, the shield could likely only be wielded in battle by little kids wearing Captain America Halloween costumes.

Also, let's face it, Jack Kirby should have a fair idea of whether or not something like this could work. And, well, even he seemed to later face up to reality.  (Or, in this case, face down.)

I'm still not sure what was wrong with the old artist's portfolio case idea. An attaché case worked pretty well for Tony Stark, didn't it?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've wondered about this too. There's no way you could hide that under a shirt, even if you're a big fella like Steve Rogers.
My solution: Throw into the shield into the back seat of your car, and keep it there, with all the rest of your stuff. That's what a lot of us do. When Batroc the Leaper attacks, you just dive in the backseat and grab it.
Where it will probably be buried under all kinds of junk.
"Lessee, it's here somewhere. Maybe under the Arby's wrapper. Oops, I forgot to pay this parking ticket..."

Anonymous said...

I just tried the tape-measure challenge - yep, 30" was way too big (and I'm 6'1" and on the large side myself). Perhaps the original 1941 shield would have fitted better, it was a V shape after all. By the way, isn't it a bit odd that Iron Man kept his identity secret from the rest of the Avengers ? From the general public I can understand - but from his fellow Avengers ?

Comicsfan said...

Colin, several Avengers stories have made it a point to bring up the guarantee of their members' right to privacy for one reason or another, so it's not all that surprising to me that Stark would find that particular by-law a handy one, given his heart condition. (In fact, if I remember correctly, the Avengers charter specifies it in writing.) He didn't even confide in Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts until well into his title's run. Iron Man at times took *ahem* great pains to hide his condition from his fellow Avengers--mostly due to the fact that he wanted to keep his identity as Stark a secret, but perhaps there's a little bit of pride involved along with that.

M.P., Steve usually prefers to travel by 'cycle, but who knows? Though I'm not sure if the Avengers or SHIELD would want to bring Steve's car along on covert missions, just so his shield would be out of sight. I certainly wouldn't want to be the one to propose it to Nick Fury. ;)

George Chambers said...

It genuinely surprises me that no one has ever thought of using Pym particles on the shield, with some kind of control mechanism in the grips. That way it could be shrunk down for inconspicuous carrying in civvies or even enlarged for those moments when a larger area needs to be protected. I guess the shield is too sacrosanct for such shenanigans.

Comicsfan said...

George, also, I think Pym "particles" didn't make the scene as something which could be "used" in the way you describe until well into the run of West Coast Avengers when Pym took further steps on his road to recovery. And I agree that the process could be abused in the very ways you note--for instance, throwing his shield at, say, Galactus, and having it enlarge on the way to provide a solid hit. I cringe at the thought.

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