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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Captain America Key Issues List

Finally taking a shot at Captain America key issues. I know every golden age Captain America issue is a great comic investment to own, but I'm highlighting the important keys. 

Captain America is Marvel's most retconned character. Marvel had to retroactively fix the character's continuity issues since his revival during the silver age. You'll have to bear with me on this. It does get a bit hairy.

This list will stretch from golden to silver, bronze age and perhaps even some copper age comics, and weave in and out of various titles. It won't be an even flow. You ready?

Captain America Comics #1 comic book
Captain America Comics #1
  • First appearance of Captain America
  • First appearance of Bucky
  • First appearance of Red Skull
  • Origin of Captain America
  • First Betty Ross
The holy grail of Captain America comics and most Marvel Comics as well. This issue was published when Marvel was under the Timely Comics name brand and is one of the most important golden age Marvel Comics out there.

Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Captain America was consciously a political creation and reaction to the appalling atrocities committed by Nazi Germany at the time. This golden age key issue was published in March of 1941 and features the first appearance of Captain America. The title of the comics was Captain America Comics.

But this issue also holds other important key factors as well. It also introduces Bucky and Captain America's oldest and most fearsome nemesis, The Red Skull. This Red Skull is not Johann Schmidt, the most infamous of them all. This one is George Maxon, the first to become the character, which was later revealed during the silver age of comics. All in all, this key comic still hold the first appearance of The Red Skull character in comics.

Other than the famous Cap origin, Betty Ross is also introduced in this issue. She is Rodger's World War 2 girlfriend, and will be an important supporting character during golden age Cap comics. It was later retconned that Peggy Carter makes an appearance here as Agent 13, though her first published appearance isn't until the silver age.

Low grades of this supreme Captain America key issue is are even great comic investment. After all, you can't go wrong with the first appearance of The Red Skull, James Barnes as Bucky and Steve Rodgers as Captain America rolled up in one issue. 

Human Torch Comics #3 comic
Human Torch Comics #3
  • First appearance of Jeffery Mace (Patriot)
Alright, here's where things get a tad screwy. Steve Rodgers was not the only one to take up the mantle or use the code name of Captain America.

Superhero comics were in decline post World War 2, and Timely's superhero titles were all cancelled. When Steve Rodgers was revived in the silver age, they retroactively wrote a back story to explain the original Cap's absence. It's the famous frozen in suspended animation story just right before the end of World War 2 in the European theater, and Steve Rodgers and James Barnes go M.I.A (Missing In Action) in 1945.

However, golden age Captain America comics are published up until 1954, so who was Cap post 1945. For that, later writers had to retcon the character and make it so there were others who took up the Captain America mantle after the original Steve Rodgers.

Enter Jeffery Mace, who first appeared in this Human Torch Comics #3 as the Patriot. It was later explained that Jeffery Mace was the third Captain America. This issue was published in 1941.

eBay - No problem finding this one on eBay. Quite a few graded copies. Highest is a CGC 8.5 VF+. Second highest is CGC 7.0. There's also some CGC lower grade copies, and two unslabbed copies.

Captain America Comics #2 image
 Captain America Comics #2
  • First appearance of disk shield
Like in the movie, Cap's shield was not the round disk we are familiar with today. It was more of a triangular shape as it appears on the cover of Captain America Comics #1. 

It wasn't until Captain America Comics #2 did they revamp the shield to the iconic disk shape that we all know of today. This is important, because Cap's shield and how he uses it greatly became synonymous with the character.

Also, this is a golden age key issue. Unlike DC Comics during the era, Marvel (Timely) is not riddled with tons of key issue comics. They would, however, dominate the silver age of comics when it came to key issues and first appearances.

ComicConnect - A FN+ 6.5 CGC graded copy for sale here. And to add to the awesomeness, a CGC 3.0 GD/VG as well. 

Captain America Comics #3 cover
 Captain America Comics #3
  • First Stan Lee work for Marvel
  • First Red Skull cover
  • Death of Red Skull
This is an important key issue not because of any character being introduced, an origin story or first appearance of a villain. It's actually the first appearance of a real person.

This comic is the very first comic that comic book legend Stan Lee ever worked on. It's this issue where he adds his first comic text, and the rest is, of course, history. This issue also holds the first time the Red Skull ever graces a comic cover.

However, it's also the death of the first Red Skull, George Maxon, whose identity is later revealed in the silver age Tales of Suspense comics that's coming up in later parts to this Captain America key issues list. 

eBay - Two copies available on the mighty eBay. One is a whopping CGC 9.4 Signature Series. It's signed by Joe Simon, but it is also a restored copy. The other is a CGC .5, extremely low grade copy, but extremely expensive still.

ComicConnect - The folks at ComicConnect are bringing the goodness in terms of hard to find golden age Captain America comics. Issue three is available to be snagged, but only one CGC copy. Grade is a FN/VF and is no cheap investment. 

Captain America Comics #5 image
Captain America Comics #5
  • First brief appearance Johann Schmidt as Red Skull
In the later silver age Captain America, after Steve Rodgers was revived from suspended animation, it was revealed who the real Red Skull was. Although the continuity of the golden age Cap comics always presented just one Red Skull, it was later rewritten and identified which golden age comics were the first appearances of the real Red Skull and his impersonator. 

In Marvel's continuity, this is the first brief appearance of Johann Schmidt as the Red Skull that was retroactively written and pointed to much later in the silver age and bronze age. It was easy to do so, since the golden age Red Skull's real identity was never revealed. The character of Johann Schmidt was created in the silver age and made his first actual published debut in that era.

eBay - Three copies here. All are CGC. Highest is a FN+ 6.5, and one is a Signature Series signed by Joe Simon himself. Wow! The last and surely not least is 5.5 FN-. Did not see any unslabbed copies for this issue at time of this writing.

ComicConnect - CGC 6.5 FN+ just ready to get snagged at ComicConnect.  Only one copy at the time of this writing for now.

Captain America Comics #7 comic Captain America Comics #7
  • First full Johann Schmidt as Red Skull
In Marvel's continuity, this is identified as the first full appearance of Johann Schmidt as the Red Skull. Issue #5 of this titled series only saw the character behind the scenes.

Regardless whether it's published canon or retcon, Captain America Comics #7 is a monster of an investment comic to have. 

eBay - Only one copy at the time of this writing, but it's a good one. CGC 7.0 FN/VF Universal blue label. A definite investment comic. Visit the blue eBay link above to check it out.

Alrighty, there's a lot more Captain America key issues to go through so if you're ready just click the blue NEXT>> link below.

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