Back Issue Bin: Captain America Comics #1 "Case No. 1: Meet Captain America"
Welcome to the first installment of Back Issue Bin! Today, we're taking a look at the first story in Captain America Comics #1, "Case No. 1: Meet Captain America." Published in 1941, written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, with pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Al Liederman and letters by Howard Ferguson.
AKA: Captain America's origin story. The Captain America comic with THAT cover. Yes, that one. The one where Captain America punches Hitler.
There's something incredibly special about this issue, and when I read it, I can't help but admire what Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are able to accomplish with such efficiency. This story starts off so strong by setting up the Marvel universe during World War II and lays out the infiltration of enemy agents into our hierarchy. In fact, the first few pages are written so well that "Case No. 1: Meet Captain America" almost doesn't feel like a product of its time. So many golden age comics are written with colloquialisms of that time - and while we do get some of that by the end of the story (see my Out of Context Panel), the opening pages reflect something that feels timeless.
Things do turn a little "comic-booky" (not that I'm complaining) once we move into the plot where Steve takes the serum and becomes the hero we know and love, before going all-in on the comic book tropes of the time by introducing Bucky and making him a sidekick. You also get some 40's slang here, and, well... I just find that endearing. Funny in retrospect, but endearing nonetheless.
Also, I can't talk about this issue without calling attention to the respect that Kevin Feige, Joe Johnston, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely paid to this issue when creating Captain America: The First Avenger. The team essentially used this issue as an outline for the first half of their film, and honored it every step of the way.
Out of Context Panel:
What does this issue mean to you? Sound off in the comments and let us know what's POPPING your culture!
Want to follow my reading journey? Pick up Captain America Golden Age Masterworks Vol. 1 and join me in marching through Cap's history in comics every Monday! Also, make sure you check back tomorrow when we swoop into Batman's history with Detective Comics #27!