NEW YORK — Captain America has undertaken his last mission — at least for now.

The venerable superhero is killed in the issue of his namesake comic that hit stands Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported. On the new edition’s pages, a sniper shoots down the shield-wielding hero as he leaves a courthouse.

It ends a long run for the stars-and-stripes-wearing character, created in 1941. Over the years, some 210 million copies of Captain America comic books, published by New York-based Marvel Entertainment Inc., have been sold in 75 countries.

But resurrections are not unknown in the world of comics, and Marvel Entertainment Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada said a Captain America comeback wasn’t impossible.

Still, the character’s death came as a blow to co-creator Joe Simon.

“We really need him now,” said Simon, 93, who worked with artist Jack Kirby to devise Captain America as a foe for Adolf Hitler.

The superhero was spawned when a scrawny arts student named Steve Rogers, ineligible for the army because of his poor health but eager to serve his country, agreed to a “Super Soldier Serum” injection. The substance made him a paragon of physical perfection, armed only with his shield, his strength, his smarts and a command of martial arts.

In the comic-book universe, death is not always final. But even if Captain America turns out to have met his end in print, he may not disappear entirely: Marvel is developing a Captain America movie.

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