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  1. #1

    Default Captain America Comics/Golden Age

    How well was this title received when it was being published in the forties? Was it up there with Superman and Captain Marvel in sales or was it considered a lower tier title?
    How are the stories considered to be in comparison to other comics from the era?

    In other words is this a title worth checking out? Thanks

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Mike's Avatar
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    Circulation figures remained close to a million copies per month after the debut issue, which outstripped even the circulation of news magazines such as Time during the period

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Circulation figures remained close to a million copies per month after the debut issue, which outstripped even the circulation of news magazines such as Time during the period
    Wow! That is up Captain Marvel levels.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member codystarbuck's Avatar
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    It was Timely's top selling title; but, it wasn't consistently in the same level as Captain Marvel and Superman. They ruled the roost. Timely itself was more in the middle of the pack, in terms of comic book publishers. Their specialty was churning out knock-offs of whatever was popular. National/All-American were the top dogs, with Fawcett close behind, and Dell right there, due to the Disney and Warner stuff, as well as comic strip reprints and the like. MLJ (later, Archie Comics) outsold Timely routinely.

    The Simon & Kirby stuff was extremely popular; but, they were gone after ten issues. The book settled down after that. Cap and Sub-Mariner were still their top selling comics and they outsold a lot of the rest of the market; but, they weren't enough to elevate Timely to the upper echelon. Their model was to go for volume, rather than high sales on quality titles.

    You also have to remember that newsstand sales were massive in that period and comics were read by kids across the nation. Everyone read something, even illiterates picked up magazines for photos and illustrations. You had no tv; just motion pictures, radio, books, newspapers and magazines. Once tv came along, the kids started to leave behind comics, since they could see more live adventure. The witch hunt of the 50s made it even worse. The Silver Age still sold a lot of comics; but, nowhere near the level of the Golden Age. You couldn't even think about launching a comic in the 1940s, with today's level of blockbuster title sales.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by codystarbuck View Post
    It was Timely's top selling title; but, it wasn't consistently in the same level as Captain Marvel and Superman. They ruled the roost. Timely itself was more in the middle of the pack, in terms of comic book publishers. Their specialty was churning out knock-offs of whatever was popular. National/All-American were the top dogs, with Fawcett close behind, and Dell right there, due to the Disney and Warner stuff, as well as comic strip reprints and the like. MLJ (later, Archie Comics) outsold Timely routinely.

    The Simon & Kirby stuff was extremely popular; but, they were gone after ten issues. The book settled down after that. Cap and Sub-Mariner were still their top selling comics and they outsold a lot of the rest of the market; but, they weren't enough to elevate Timely to the upper echelon. Their model was to go for volume, rather than high sales on quality titles.

    You also have to remember that newsstand sales were massive in that period and comics were read by kids across the nation. Everyone read something, even illiterates picked up magazines for photos and illustrations. You had no tv; just motion pictures, radio, books, newspapers and magazines. Once tv came along, the kids started to leave behind comics, since they could see more live adventure. The witch hunt of the 50s made it even worse. The Silver Age still sold a lot of comics; but, nowhere near the level of the Golden Age. You couldn't even think about launching a comic in the 1940s, with today's level of blockbuster title sales.
    So Simon and Kirby left after ten issues? I didn't know that. I will make it a point to at least read those ten issues then. thanks!

  6. #6
    Veteran Member codystarbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmountainslim View Post
    So Simon and Kirby left after ten issues? I didn't know that. I will make it a point to at least read those ten issues then. thanks!
    Yep. Simon was the more shrewd businessman of the pair, while Kirby was the idea man (though Simon plotted a lot of the stories). He was also the de facto editor at Timely. He wanted a bigger percentage of the sales of Captain America, since it was carrying the company. Martin Goodman never met a penny that he didn't hold dearer than his children and certainly more than his employees. Simon brokered a better deal at National (DC) and the pair jumped ship. They worked on Sandman, turning him from a Shadow/Green Hornet rip-off to a Captain America/Batman type, with more standard superhero longjohns and a kid sidekick (Sandy, the Golden Boy). They produced the Newsboy Legion, which was a take-off on the Dead End Kids, of stage and screen, as well as the Reg'lar Fellas comic strip. They gave the newsboys a mentor, the Guardian, an acrobatic, two-fisted hero, with a shield. They revamped a detective character, named Paul Kirk, into the masked Manhunter. They created the Boy Commandos, a kid gang who took on the Nazis. However, the war beckoned. They produced enough work that their stories were still coming out, after Kirby entered the Army and Simon the Coast Guard. When Simon & Kirby left Timely, they were making about $75 and 85 a week; their deal at DC was for a combined $500.

    Oh, their leaving led to an office boy being elevated to Simon's position as editor-in-chief: Stanley Lieber, aka Stan Lee.

    Those 10 issues are gold and Stan revisited a few of them, when Cap got a solo title, after his Avengers revival. Stan even had the cheek to list himself as writer, when he didn't really change much from the originals. They've been reprinted a couple of times, including a nice two-volume, hardcover, slipcase edition, which was pulled from the market; and, a two-volume paperback reprint. The hardcover set was released for Cap's 50th anniversary; but, was pulled after it was discovered that some joker (probably in the production process) added a drawing of a penis to Bucky, in a scene where he is strapped down to a hospital gurney. It was done on the yellow plate, so it only appears as a yellow line drawing. The book had glossy paper-stock, which was highly reflective. the offending phallus wasn't immediately noticeable. I bought the set when it was released and then heard that it was pulled. I had read the stories and didn't see it. It took two more passes for me to spot it.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    from Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941):





    There was also a 10-page story starring "Hurricane" (also called "Mercury" and later retconned into being a past identity for Makkari of The Eternals) as well as a 6-page feature with "Tuk, Caveboy".

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    from Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941):





    There was also a 10-page story starring "Hurricane" (also called "Mercury" and later retconned into being a past identity for Makkari of The Eternals) as well as a 6-page feature with "Tuk, Caveboy".
    And introduced the Red Skull who wasn't Johann.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    from Captain America Comics #2 (April 1941):




  10. #10
    Sun of the Mourning Montressor's Avatar
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    I've got maybe a dozen varied Marvel/Timely Golden Age comics on my phone. Interesting stuff--the Human Torch flying to Jupiter under his own power was memorable. There was a 50's Torch story that retconned his origin into him being simply a flame that came to life in Horton's lab one day (interestingly the only mention of his being an android was in his first appearance in Marvel Comics #1--that fact was never referenced again during the Golden Age).

    I recall Captain America's book becoming a superhero/horror title--in our since-retconned timeline this would be 1950's Cap in those stories. One particular story has him being pulled into Hell by the vengeful spirit of the dead Red Skull. In my own personal timeline of the Marvel Universe these weird horror-tinged stories were hallucinations and/or dreams 50's Cap experienced as he began to slip into insanity.

    *I love how when Steve Engleheart revived 50's Cap in the 70's he seamlessly worked his retcons (this not being Steve, but an imposter with a fake Bucky) in within the actual 1950's story that introduced '50's Cap, word for word (Engleheart's inserts took place between panels).
    Last edited by Montressor; 01-13-2019 at 05:04 AM.
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  11. #11
    Incredible Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Interesting how there were demeaning caricatures of Nazis, but then you have demeaning caricatures of the Japanese:


  12. #12
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Interesting how there were demeaning caricatures of Nazis, but then you have demeaning caricatures of the Japanese:

    Well, back in the 1940s, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc. were still part of the Mysterious Orient, and in the 1940s, the U.S. was still at war with Japan (they did attack us at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was not yet one of the fifty states).

    It wasn't exactly a time of acceptance back then, unfortunately, even for non-WASP-ish American citizens.

  13. #13
    Incredible Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Well, back in the 1940s, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc. were still part of the Mysterious Orient, and in the 1940s, the U.S. was still at war with Japan (they did attack us at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was not yet one of the fifty states).

    It wasn't exactly a time of acceptance back then, unfortunately, even for non-WASP-ish American citizens.
    Yeah, now that I think about it more, I'm sure many comic book writers saw the Japanese as almost as bad as the Nazis, after what happened at the Rape of Nanking and the Attack on Pearl Harbor and all. Not that it excuses racism, but I suppose there's little to no room for consideration towards the Japanese's dignity when they're part of the enemy Axis powers and your country is at war with them.

  14. #14
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Yeah, now that I think about it more, I'm sure many comic book writers saw the Japanese as almost as bad as the Nazis, after what happened at the Rape of Nanking and the Attack on Pearl Harbor and all. Not that it excuses racism, but I suppose there's little to no room for consideration towards the Japanese's dignity when they're part of the enemy Axis powers and your country is at war with them.
    Italians (especially non-Italian Americans) were also part of the Axis, so Mussolini and others of his ilk were also fair-game then.

  15. #15
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    Yeah, Steve Rogers was clearly racist back then.

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