Real Name: Steven Rogers
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Affiliations: Golden Age Bucky, Sergeant Duffy, Betsy Ross (a.k.a.Golden Girl)
Silver Age Invaders, Avengers
Enemies: Golden Age the Red Skull, the Black Talon, the Black Toad, the Black Witch, the Butterfly, the Coughing Killer, Dragon of Death, Dr. Eternity, Dr. Necrosis, Fang the Warlord, Frankenstein's Monster, the Hangman, the Hunchback of Hollywood, Ivan the Terrible, the Laughing Sphinx, the Leopard Woman, the Lord of Death, the Mad Torso, Mother Wong, the Murdering Mummy, the Reaper, the Ringmaster of Death, Toadman, the Wax-Man, the White Death, Yellow Claw
Silver Age Super-Axis, Battle-Axis, Baron Zemo
Known Relatives: Joseph Rogers (father, deceased), Sarah Rogers (mother, deceased)
Aliases: Steven Grant Rogers
Base of Operations: Camp Lehigh
First Appearance: Captain America #1 (Timely, December 1940)
Powers/Abilities: Excellent athlete and acrobat, skilled fighter, master of several martial arts. His body is at the peak of human fitness thanks to his exposure to the super-soldier serum. He carries an indestructible shield, which he can use as an offensive weapon, throwing it with incredible precision so that it ricochets of opponents and objects before returning to be caught in his hands once more.
History: (Captain America Comics #1-?[between #44 and #51 - see comments for Spirit of '76], Marvel Mystery Comics #80-84, 86-92, Human Torch Comics #33, 35; Sub Mariner Comics #31; All Winners Comics #1-18, Young Allies Comic #5; U.S.A. Comics #6-17, Kent Blake #12, ga) Steve Rogers was a scrawny but strong-hearted man who was outraged by news reports from the war in Europe and Asia. He tried to enlist in the army, certain that the conflict would spread to America, but was rejected 4-F, medically unfit. However his outspoken attitude against the Nazis attracted the attention of General Chester Phillips, who offered him another chance to serve his country. Rogers swiftly volunteered, and was handed over to Professor Reinstein, a scientist working on a "Super-Soldier" process for the U.S military. Rogers was the ideal test subject, because if he could be turned into a superman, anyone could. The final stages were carried out in front of military observers, and were an unqualified success; unfortunately a Nazi spy had infiltrated the witnesses, and killed Reinstein, who died taking the full formula with him. Since they only had one super-soldier now, the U.S. government decided to make him a symbol for the troops and the people to rally round. He was trained in acrobatics and combat techniques, and given a colourful costume and codename: Captain America.
As Steve Rogers, he was made a PFC, and assigned to Camp Lehigh, where he was placed under the irascible Sergeant Duffy. The camp's mascot, orphan James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, soon discovered Steve's double identity, but swore to keep it secret, and was eventually rewarded by being trained to become Steve's partner. Through the war they fought Nazi agents and bizarre criminals, but their greatest foe was undoubtedly the Red Skull.
(Invaders I #1-41, Invaders II #1-4) Captain America and Bucky eventually helped found the Invaders, a team of Allied superhumans.
(Avengers I #4) Near the end of World War II Captain America and Bucky were assigned to guard an airforce base in southern England. The German agent Baron Zemo attacked, and captured both of them. They awoke to find themselves strapped, about to be sent to Berlin on board the experimental plane they had been meant to protect. They broke free just before it took off, and raced after it on a motorbike, hoping to board it and prevent it falling into enemy hands. As it lifted from the ground, both men leapt for it, but only Bucky got a firm grip. Realising the plane might be boobytrapped, and that Bucky could not disarm such a device on his own, Cap shouted to his ally to jump clear, but before he could so it, the bomb detonated, killing Bucky instantly. Cap's body fell into the freezing waters of the English Channel, and he went into a state of suspended animation while his frozen form was eventually washed to the Arctic Circle. Faintly visible as a humanoid figure in the ice, he became the subject of worship from local Eskimos. Decades passed until fate intervened to free him. Cap's old wartime ally Namor had recently returned to adventuring, and wrongly blaming the surface dwellers for the destruction of Atlantis, was on a rampage against all mankind. Namor came upon the Eskimos, and threw their idol into the sea, where eventually Cap's frozen form drifted into warmer waters and began to defrost. The Avengers were trailing Namor, and took the body on board, where they identified him and were astounded to discover he was still alive. Once he had recovered, Captain America returned to active service as a superhero, and is still adventuring to this day.
Comments: Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory and his Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own. Thanks to Brad Newman for permission to use images from his Comic Book Cover Quest site on this page.
Captain America (Spirit of '76)
Real Name: William Nasland
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Crusaders, Bucky, Red Guardian, Invaders, All Winners Squad
Enemies: Adam II, Isbisa, Red Guardian
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Spirit of '76
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: as Spirit of '76 Invaders I #14; as Captain America What If? I #4
Powers/Abilities: Skilled fighter, athlete. Learned to copy the original Captain America's shield skills (though not quite as accomplished). As the Spirit of '76 he wore a bulletproof cloak; as Captain America, he had a replica of the missing Captain America's shield.
History: (Invaders I #14-15) Wishing to do more to help the war effort, American William Nasland was eagerly recruited into the Crusaders, a new team of superheroes being gathered by a man called Alfie. He was given a bullet / flame-proof cloak and a patriotic costume, and became the Spirit of '76. What most of the team didn't realise was that Alfie was a German agent, who duped the group into fighting another team of Allied heroes, the Invaders. Discovering how they had been tricked, most of the Crusaders abandoned their costumed identities, but Nasland decided to keep fighting the Axis.
(What If? I #4) Near the end of the war Captain America and his sidekick Bucky were reported killed. President Truman, wishing to avoid a potentially disastrous blow to morale at this critical juncture, ordered the disappearances covered up, and asked the Spirit of '76 to take on the mantle of Captain America, with former bat-boy Fred Davis as his Bucky. The two were introduced to the rest of the Invaders by the President, and accepted into the team.
(Captain America Annual #6) In June of 1945, just before the war ended, the new Bucky accompanied the Invaders on a mission to Japan to destroy a prototype solar-powered tank.
(Namor the Sub-Mariner Annual #1) On 16th July 1945 Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Soviet Union's Red Guardian were assigned to guard the Potsdam Conference.
(All-Winners Comics #19, ga) Alongside the All-Winners Squad, Bucky fought Isbisa, who was trying to commit "the crime of the ages".
(Captain America Comics #?[between #44 and #51 - see comments]-58, ga)
(What If? I #4) In 1946 a plot by the android Adam II to replace a young, up-and-coming politician with an android duplicate came to light. The All-Winners Squad intervened, but in the battle, Captain America heroically gave his life trying to foil the plot.
Comments: The exact changeover point between Captain America (Rogers) and Captain America (Nasland) isn't clear, since of course originally there was none. However, if we take the changeover point as being some time in 1945 (as stated in What If? I #4) and match that to corresponding real world cover dates of Captain America Comics, then we get a run of issues between #44 and #51 as our options. There's nothing really to support this, but in the absence of something better, its as good a way of figuring it as any other. The death of Nasland is a little easier to pinpoint: in What If? I #4, which chronicled the death of the Spirit of '76 Captain America, it was noted that he had fought Isbisa (as chronicled in All-Winners Comics #19), but seemed to die prior to the Squad's battle with the Future Man (All-Winners Comics #21) - given the publication dates of these two issues, if we match that to the corresponding issues of Captain America Comics, I'd say the changeover between the Spirit of '76 and Patriot came between #58 and #59 of Captain America Comics.
The Spirit of '76 was based on Quality Comics character, Uncle Sam. In 1976, when Spirit debuted, Uncle Sam and his team of Freedom Fighters were owned by D.C. A decision was made to have an unofficial crossover between Marvel and DC's respective teams of wartime heroes. Thus it was that both teams encountered a team calling themselves the Crusaders the same month in their own titles; the ones the Invaders faced were thinly disguised variants of the Freedom Fighters, while the ones the Freedom Fighters faced were thinly disguised variants on the Invaders.
Captain America (The Patriot)
After the death of Nasland, Jeff Mace (a.k.a. the Patriot) replaced him as Captain America, as chronicled in the Patriot's own entry.
Captain America (1950s)
Real Name: William Burnside, legally changed to Steve Rogers
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: History teacher
Enemies: Red Skull (communist impostor Skull, not the original), Electro, Dr.Faustus
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Steven Rogers, Grand Director
Base of Operations: U.S.A.
First Appearance: Young Men #24 (Atlas, December 1953)
Powers/Abilities: Captain America is a superb athlete, his physique having been enhanced by the supersoldier formula to bring him to peak condition. His strength is superhuman, allowing him to lift around 1 ton. He also uses a shield based on the World War II Cap's; this replica isn't as strong as the real one, but is still bulletproof. He is an excellent fighter.
History: (Captain America I #234) An unnamed young American idolised the wartime hero Captain America, and tried to learn everything he could about him. He learned that the original Cap had vanished and been presumed dead shortly before the end of the war, and when he went to college, he obtained his American History Ph.D. by doing a thesis on his idol's life. In 1953 he visited Germany to research the Nazi files on Captain America, and was shocked to to discover what appeared to be the Super-Soldier formula in a records storehouse. He returned to the States and offered the formula to elements of the U.S. Government on the condition that he could be the new Captain America. At first the government officials agreed, as they desperately wanted a Captain America for the Korean War. The historian was given access to government files, and learned the true identity of Captain America; desperate to emulate him, the historian had his name officially changed to Steve Rogers, and underwent surgery so he would look identical to him. Then the war ended, and the government dropped the idea. Refusing to be disheartened, "Rogers" took a teaching job at Lee School, where he met and befriended a young orphan, Jack Monroe, who also idolised the wartime hero. The two of them decided to become the new Captain America and Bucky, and used the formula to enhance themselves. Unfortunately they never realised their was a component of the process missing from the notes they used, and without Vita-Rays to stabilise the enhancement, both men gradually started to go insane, becoming increasingly paranoid.
(Young Men #24, ga) The (new, communist) Red Skull took the U.N. hostage, and Captain America and Bucky made their debut to rescue the delegates.
(Young Men #25, ga) No synopsis available.
(Young Men #26, ga) While visiting Oaklake University to deliver a lecture, Cap was injected with a virus intended to brainwash him into becoming a Communist dupe. Bucky was horrified when Captain America appeared to turn traitor, but eventually Cap revealed the virus had not worked, and that his turncoat activities were a ruse to draw out the Communists.
(Young Men #27, ga) No synopsis available.
(Young Men #28, ga) Captain America and Bucky tackled dope smugglers.
(Captain America Comics #76-77, ga) No synopses available.
(Captain America Comics #78, ga) The pair faced Electro, a superpowered Russian assassin.
(Captain America Annual #13) Shortly afterwards Captain America and Bucky had a rematch with both Electro and the Red Skull.
(Captain America I #153, bts) Captain America and Bucky's paranoia grew, and the pair began to act increasingly irrationally.
(Captain America Annual #6) By July 1954 they were attacking people virtually at random, in the belief they were Communists.
(Captain America I #153, bts; Marvel: The Lost Generation #1) By 1955 the FBI had captured both men, and frozen them in suspended animation.
(Captain America I #153-156, 231-236) The two were awoken in the modern day, and sent to fight the man who had originally inspired him: the Captain America of W.W.II had himself been awoken from suspended animation. Both were eventually defeated and returned to suspended animation. Their frozen bodies were stolen by the villainous Dr.Faustus, who awoke them again and brainwashed them. He set up "Steve Rogers" as the Grand Director of the National Force, a racist organisation, which soon came into conflict with the original Captain America. When defeat proved to be inevitable, the unstable Grand Director killed himself.
Comments: As with the other replacement Caps, the 1950's Captain America was meant to be the same hero who had fought during the war, and then alongside the All-Winners Squad. With the 1960s revival of Captain America in The Avengers this became impossible, as the new story of Cap being frozen since the war meant he couldn't have been fighting against Communists a decade earlier. Eventually it was decided to explain those adventures away by introducing a string of replacements - and some of the dated and embarrassingly jingoistic dialogue of the era was explained away by having this Cap be mentally unstable.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
any of the other Captain Americas (such as John Walker of the new incarnation of the Invaders)
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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