Story & Art by Carl Tsui

My Birthday With Captain America

Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the day that Captain America: The First Avenger opened to the public. Since I've always been a Cap fan it was easy to see what needed to be done. I Facebook evented a "Watch Captain America on Carl's Birthday" and my wife and about 15 of my friends joined me on opening night.

Thoughts on the Look of the First Avenger

The Boston Comics Roundtable contingent of my friends all seemed to agree that the movie was better than expected. There were plenty of hokey elements (the LOL inducing Hydra salute for one), but none seemed to fatally detract from an essentially light hearted action-adventure set in WWII. I was concerned from watching the previews that the look of the future tech that Hydra possessed would fatally undermine movie's look and feel. As someone who spends a lot of time dithering with dieselpunk and steampunk aesthetics I thought the tech sets 25% too modern (no I do not have an quantitative scale for "retro-ness").  I would have preferred to see updated Frankenstein tech with bronze accents rather than something that looked like Mac OSX L&F exploded on the set and covered everything with gel button blues and brushed metal shiny.

Being an aviator & aviation enthusiast the highlights were definitely the awesome retro-future aircraft of the Red Skull. The working Triebflugel was totally unexpected and I wish it was on screen for more than the 5 seconds it was shown. The super-sized version of what looks to be a Horton Ho 229 flying wing inspired mega-bomber with no less than 8 pusher props and 2 turbojets was a fantastic finale set even if the battle itself between Captain America and Red Skull lacked an certain vigor.

Captain America Gifts

Enough about the movie let's talk about me. Or rather things I totally unexpectedly got from my BCR pals when we went out for drinks and food afterwards. Yes, when you're old you use words like "pals". Let's start with a card.

Envelope Front

Envelope Back

Apparently, I am Captain America. I don't know if this was inspired by Roho's joke about me being Captain America at the last BCR meeting, but there are certainly worse things to be. All right that was the envelope. Here's the card.

Birthday Card Exterior

Birthday Card Interior

Ironically I didn't get any cake. You can tell from the signatures on the card who made it to the very end after a grueling exodus from Rock Bottom (which upscaled itself and apparently couldn't or wouldn't accommodate us trouble-making comics types) to Max & Dylan's Kitchen & Bar led by our very own David "Pathfinder" Marshall. Along the way we lost Aya who gave me a nice Asian melon-based soda drink before her untimely demise to Arlington. Smile

When BCR people get together at a big table for any length of time it seems like a jam comic becomes inevitable. The crew behaved exactly as predicted with an exceptionally coherent result no less!

41st Birthday Jam Comic

Finally, the piece de resistance. A Captain America tin lunch box made of steel (because that's what the label says) with an embossed lid of our hero! As David repeatedly pointed out the Kirby/Sinnot artwork represents some of the best works from these gentlemen. I concur.

Lunch box closed upright

Lunch box open interior

Lunch box open flat

For the BCR crowd reading this, yes, that is the long lost BCR holiday gift wrap that someone dutifully printed out and taped together and then wrapped my lunch box with. Impressive production values all around!

Thanks Really

When you get older birthdays lose some of their appeal. It's just another day where the only real exception might be that your inbox becomes flooded from Happy Birthday Facebook wall messages and other e-greetings. Well this year was no different in that regard and it was great to hear from so many people I don't usually hear from.

What was different was I thought I'd go see a movie and invite some friends along. I thought I'd try and give myself a different gift to go along with my year long trend of massively differing my life. We all get busy. People you used to see all the time you see a few times a year even if you only live in the next town. Some will move far away. The opportunities to get together with people you enjoy being with are fleeting and fewer than you might think unless you make your own occasions. I'm old enough that tangible goods mean less nowadays (although I'll take them just the same thank you Smile ). Experiences live on. Thanks to everyone who helped me make a fine experience.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 11:51 AM (Eastern Daylight Time)