The wings on Captain America’s helmet have always been tricky to update over the years but Daniel Heard’s concept completely solves the problem.
There are many superheroes whose costumes were inspired by the American flag, but Captain America stands head and shoulders above the rest. While his appearance has been altered and updated by different artists over the years, the look is timeless enough that it adapts surprisingly well to modern times. That is except for one design element that only looked sillier as time went on, the wings on Cap’s helmet, there are many different interpretations of them but they’re often incorporated because they have to be. But one piece of fan art from a now defunct redesign competition came up with the perfect solution for the wings, and it was staring everyone in the face the whole time.
The wings on Captain America’s helmet are a problem, artists have made them into stencils on the side of the helmet, recent films and games have worked them into the shape of the helmet, other versions of Captain America’s costume get rid of them altogether. When Cap was created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, many superhero comics were taking inspiration from classical mythology, and the winged helmet not only evokes Hermes, the Greek god of speed, but also the helmets worn by northern soldiers of ancient Europe. Unfortunately, what once looked godlike now looks completely ridiculous.
In 2010 a website dedicated to superhero costume design called Project Rooftop held a competition called “Captain America: Fighting Styles” that encouraged contestants to reimagine Captain America’s iconic outfit. The winner was an incredibly bold concept by artist Daniel Heard that completely reimagined Steve Rogers from the ground up. Most notably, instead of Captain America’s usual costume, this Cap wears a short sleeved red and white striped zip-collared shirt under a navy style peacoat. But the most ingenious part of this design is without question the wings on the side of the helmet, now represented with diagonally halved white American flag stencils.
Instead of trying to hide the wings or make them less embarrassing, Heard’s design embraces the wings’ reverence for soldiers of the past and blends them with the iconography of the modern American soldier. It evokes the flag patches worn by service people while still serving as a nod to the warriors and gods of old. Most importantly, they look like they belong there, even if you had never seen Cap’s original design, you could still see how this updated version of the wings fit with the rest of the costume.
Helmets with wings still work for characters like The Flash who is essentially an updated version of Hermes, and Thor who is the literal embodiment of an ancient god, but Cap’s association with the military evokes sleek designs and utilitarian aesthetics. This design could be used for Steve Rogers as well as his counterparts like Sam Wilson, who has functioning wings, and characters like Bucky Barnes and U.S.Agent, whose more black ops style tactics fit with this design’s simplicity. This Captain America fan art is a great example of how to turn the worst thing about a costume into the coolest thing about it.
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Source: Daniel Heard
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