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“Captain America” 101 – A brief guide to the WWII superhero and his supporting cast

“Captain America” 101 – A brief guide to the WWII superhero and his supporting cast (photo)

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“Captain America: The First Avenger” arrives in theaters this week, putting the story of Marvel’s soldier-turned-superhero Steve Rogers in front of mainstream movie audiences. And while Captain America isn’t exactly a b-list character, there’s a good chance that some people buying tickets this weekend might not be all that familiar with the star-spangled hero and his supporting cast of allies and enemies.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick primer on the major players in the Captain America universe. Think of it as your very own comic book boot camp – just with fewer push-ups and more super-powers.

Captain America (Chris Evans)
Your classic 98-pound weakling, Brooklyn-born Steve Rogers tried to enlist during World War II but was turned down to his sickly stature. His refusal to give up caught the attention of military scientists, and he was given the chance to undergo an experimental treatment intended to give him utmost peak of human abilities. The experiment was successful, and along with helping the Allied Forces win the war, he went on to become the leader of one of Marvel’s most powerful superhero teams, The Avengers.

Red Skull (Hugo Weaving)
One of Captain America’s greatest enemies, Johann Schmidt served as Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man in the Nazi regime and underwent a similar experiment as Steve Rogers. In the Marvel Comics universe, there have been several versions of Red Skull over the years, but Schmidt was by far the most dangerous of the bunch. Along with supervising the development of powerful Nazi weaponry and leading the terrorist organization HYDRA, he’ll stop at nothing to secure any powerful items – whether scientific or magical – that will bring him closer to world domination.

James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
In the Marvel Comics universe, Bucky was Captain America’s sidekick throughout much of the war. In the upcoming film, the pair are significantly closer in age, with Bucky and Steve having known each other for years before the latter undergoes the super-soldier treatment. Nevertheless, Bucky remains Cap’s closest friend and ally during the war.

Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)
One of Steve Rogers’ first loves, Peggy Carter is a capable soldier who shows Captain America that war isn’t just a job for men. In the upcoming film, the character is a British freedom fighter who fights alongside Cap and the Allied Forces.

The Howling Commandoes
An elite special unit of U.S. Army Rangers, the Howling Commandoes were a force to be reckoned with during World War II. Their ranks included former circus strongman “Dum Dum” Dugan (Neal McDonough) and a host of other characters, and in the Marvel Comics universe, they were led by Nick Fury. While Fury’s role in the film is likely to be a little different, the Howling Commandoes appear to play a big role in supporting Captain America’s efforts.

Which character are you most looking forward to seeing? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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