Captain America: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Marvel comics recently revealed that it would introduce its first LBGTQ iteration of the Marvel hero this June to coincide with “Pride Month”. What is virtually unknown to those not in the industry is that the character’s roots come from an obscure pitch by none other then Captain America co-creator Jack “King” Kirby himself.
Developed before Kirby’s death in the early 90’s, the project would have revealed that Steve Rogers was in actuality a non-practicing homosexual due to repressed feelings of guilt as a result of his 1920’s upbringing. Rumor has it that a large part of the book would revolve around Cap’s unrequited feelings for Nick Fury, whom he served with in WW2.
According to insider sources that were familiar with Kirby’s proposal, Steve Rogers attempted to confess this to Army brass, only to be bluntly told that his orientation could never become public, as it would irreparably damage morale and destroy the symbolic value of Captain America. Faced with the prospect of a dishonorable discharge, Steve buried his feelings and continued the good fight.
The story was supposedly going to focus on Cap struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in a world that is now (almost) universally accepting of a lifestyle he was brought up to be ashamed of. Steve’s past experiences were to be cut up into flashbacks throughout the story that heavily teased it, with the big reveal coming at the beginning of the third act.
According to legend, Stan Lee had no stomach for the pitch, and Marvel Comics was scared of it becoming public knowledge. As a result, they quietly sought Kirby out and purchased the story after becoming aware of its existence while stringing everyone along. Kirby’s subsequent death not long afterwards made it all the easier for Marvel to simply bury all traces of the story’s existence.
However, the story has always been something of a taboo urban legend at Marvel and a recent pitch was made to finally introduce the story into print as a “What if” style tale. From this idea came the decision to create a separate version of Cap for the 616 MU that would serve as a subtle homage to the story while preserving the origin (and marketability) of Steve Rogers.
The only thing sadder then readers losing to a clearly a homophobic Marvel Comics depriving readers of what surely would have been a ground breaking classic, is that this story still makes 1000% more sense in continuity then a magically brain washed gay Ice Man.