A ‘Giant-Size’ beginning, 41 regular issues ,one Annual, from the 1970s, a follow up 4-issue mini-series and some significant tales in Captain America and Namor before a mini revival in the new millennium…!

 

We will be starting in June 1975 – with Giant-Size Invaders #1 , a 30 page special written by Roy Thomas with art in the individual style of Frank Robbins and inked by Vince Colletta.


World War Two heroes Captain America and Bucky, the android Human Torch and partner Toro and Namor the Sub-Mariner find themselves thrown together against the Nazi villainy of Master Man and no less a figure than Winston Churchill helps form the …Invaders!

 

I’d love to know what memories anyone has of this series before I summarise it issue by issue….anyone up for it? (I’ll wait a bit for people to locate their issues if you’d like…)

 

(First question I’ll throw out there – anyone else notice the mistake on the cover of Invaders classic tpk #1)

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That looks like the cover colourist presumed the character they were colouring must have been Golden Girl from the captions and so coloured Lavender wrong.?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: PATRIOT #4 (02/11)
“Part Four – PATRIOT”

Writer – Karl Kesel Artist – Mitch Breitweiser
Colour artist – Bette Breitweiser

That is another beautiful cover – Captain America walking away into suburban America with the Golden Girl waiting to greet him. .


Inside and we’re in 1950 and Cap is still struggling against FBI agent Skinner who brings up Mace’s original Russian Jew surname of Masalsky, he’s being interrogated about something that we flashback to four months before…

 

Golden Girl and Cap are fighting petty crime and Cap laments the fact that he is not being assigned to anything more high profile by the FBI that doesn’t quite trust him or believe he’s up to the job.


We hear that the All-Winners Squad has disbanded and that Golden Girl is being ‘reassigned’ in her civilian role, despite the growing romance between them.


Ca’s new liaison is actually his old partner, the injured Bucky II, Fred Davies but Cap really doesn’t like the new role he’s being given, publicity figurehead only.


Part of that new role is giving safety talks to school kids and we soon see Cap doing just that only he suddenly gets an assignment…a missing schoolboy…taken by a UFO!

 

Cap unearths what appears to be an alien stronghold and frees the missing boy only to find out that Fred Davis and the Government knew all about the ‘UFO’.
“So this --Vanguard is a government project? Why didn’t someone tell me?


Arguments over the value of Captain America, his likely death in Korea and his possible communist sympathetic friends (Mary – Miss Patriot-  Morgan) abound until Cap refuses the offer to join the mysterious Vanguard, turns the tables on Agent Skinner and actually walks away from being Captain America.!!


As another takes over the role of Cap, Jeff and Betsy live the American dream in the suburbs writing their own newspaper and keeping the flag flying in their own way.

 

The urge to have made the cover a homage to ASM classic ‘Spider-Man No More ‘ must have been strong.

I’m glad they avoided it, this cover has it’s own identity as does this series and that stands on its own merits.

 

There is another continuity link thrown in for those playing attention…Betsy Ross’s nephew Thad playing with their neighbour Franklin Storm. = General Thaddeus Ross, the longtime enemy of the Hulk who becomes the Red Hulk (ugh!)  - and the father of Johnny and Sue Strom, two halves of the Fantastic Four!
You didn’t miss them did you?

 

Is this Project Vanguard referred to elsewhere?

The heavies protecting it spoke some odd accent and appear to be alien, but look like early AIM members.


Lots of other figures are shown captured within the base/UFO and some of them clearly don’t look human!

 

Is this some link to the V Battalion covert group that bleeds throughout Marvel history – I’m sure I read of Fred Davis’s membership in that group somewhere.


These vague points are a shame, everything else in this series has been quite self-contained, with extra detail being available elsewhere – but here it feels like the reader requires more information that he has presented to him.


The wrap up to Jeff Mace’s story is very well done and retains the cinematic feel of the entire series; you can almost hear a stirring tune and expect rolling credits at the close.

 

As a four issue series this has been excellent- although this last issue feels slightly different in tone, the artwork has been wonderful and the covers fantastic.

Credit to the creators.

(I have heaped praise on this series and the trade it is part of a great deal, I really do feel it is a specila little item...anyone else agree with me or see it differently?)

 

And that’s kind of it for the (significant) Invaders appearances in their original Wartime appearances.

Where do we go next?


What next in this ‘Invaders’ thread?

 

Come back soon for a look at how the Invaders were individually reintroduced into modern marvel…...

I've mentioned before that I loved the Patriot series.

But to tell you the truth, it didn't stay with me, and I couldn't remember why I liked it. Your summaries have done the job, Richard, in reminding me. It was really well-written, wasn't it? Lots of blind alleys and red herrings, but all eminently logical, and if we don't think with our gut -- which comics often encourage us to do -- it all makes sense. Plus, the cinematic feel you mention is something I felt as well.

I also agree that sometimes I felt like I needed to have late 1940s collections (that don't exist yet) in hand to understand some of this. Up to this point, "Golden Girl" was just a character I knew had existed in Cap stories in the late 1940s because I'd seen some covers. Otherwise I knew nothing about her. And I don't remember "Vanguard" at all, unless it is -- as you suggest -- a predecessor to the V Battalion stuff we saw in the short-lived New Invaders series, which also has some connection with Baron Zemo/Thunderbolts.

Also, is it me or was there a trend in the late 1940s to try out major female characters? That's when Namora came along, I think, but also Venus and Golden Girl and some other female leads and sidekicks. And I don't remember Miss America getting much cover space until the two issues of All-Winners starring the A-W Squad, both of which were post-war (and to this day remain two of three Golden Age Miss America stories I've read, so they loom large!)

It's probably my imagination, or if it's not, it could be explained by publisher experimentation to find genres to replace the faltering superhero field.

Anyway, looking forward to your "next-issue blurb." How were the characters re-introduced? Some were re-introduced more than once, and I could use a hand disentangling these stories!

Marvel's post-war super-heroine boom was a real thing--someone once referred to it as "Stan Lee's super-heroine slumber party".  Supposedly, part of it was to keep the interest of returning GI's who'd presumably prefer pretty girls in their comics, part of it seems to have been part of jumping on the Good Girl art bandwagon  (Timely/Atlas never met a bandwagon it wouldn't jump on), which was especially noticeable with Venus & Blonde Phantom, but clearly present in most of the others, and I suspect that at least part of it was the decision to replace Bucky & Toro before Marvel got hit by any of the rumors that were swirling around Batman & Robin.  I've always found it odd that you never hear anything of that sort about Cap & Bucky, and yet I've seen at least as many "suspect" panels of them as I have the Dynamic Duo.

Dave Elyea said:

I believe that this was the first time that Golden Girl was revealed to have a bullet-proof cloak, which I thought was a nice touch. In the original comics, she was just a prettier replacement for Bucky (altho I don't think she got tied up quite as often as Bucky did).

I suspect that at least part of it was the decision to replace Bucky & Toro before Marvel got hit by any of the rumors that were swirling around Batman & Robin. I've always found it odd that you never hear anything of that sort about Cap & Bucky, and yet I've seen at least as many "suspect" panels of them as I have the Dynamic Duo.

It sure sounds like an attempt to deflect talk (Wertham's book was years away) about the man-boy teams. Maybe the highlighting of female partners was an attempt to re-attract the older readers. I think the reason you hear these rumors about Batman and Robin and not Cap and Bucky is that most people who don't read comics haven't herard of Bucky. The 1944 serial Captain America didn't have Bucky (or even Steve Rogers), so I think Bucky was largely unknown to the general public.

I have to think that Bucky would have been second only to Robin as a "known" kid sidekick--remember,  back then, in those pre-TV days, comic books were as close to being a Mass Medium as they'd ever get--almost everyone read them, at least occasionally, and Captain America seems to have been pretty high-profile back in the day.  True, by the time Wertham wrote his book, neither Cap nor Bucky was appearing in print (but they'd be back soon, if not for long), but it's not like his research was exactly up to the minute, either.  And if you only knew Robin from the movie serials, you'd never guess he was supposed to be underage.

I wonder if that was a deciding factor in only bringing Cap back -no kid-sidekick - no rumours?

Stan Lee has said many times he didn't like the idea of kid sidekicks.

Richard Willis:
"The 1944 serial Captain America didn't have Bucky (or even Steve Rogers)"

I'll say.  Cap was really a crusading D.A., and his sidekick was a tough lady who packed a rod!  Apparently this was because until shortly before going before the cameras, the studio had planned to do a MR. SCARLET serial, but changed their minds at the last minute (which did not please Martin Goodman one bit!).

To me, the original "kid sidekick" was in the newspapers-- "JUNIOR TRACY", who started out as a thief Tracy caught, before he went after the poor orphan's "guardian", a brutal thug who'd been forcing him to a life of crime.  After a period where you weren't sure what was going to happen, Tracy wound up ADOPTING the orphan boy, who had his name legally changed to "Richard" in honor of his newly adoptive father.  I never knew any of this when I was growing up, because by then, "Junior" was a grown adult working for the Police Department.  It was only when I read the earliest stories that I got to see the story as it unfolded.  Later, I realized that the story of Junior was one of the very FEW things the Warren Beatty DICK TRACY movie got dead-right.

Dick Grayson / Robin, I would think, was probably inspired by Dick Tracy Jr., with the story changed to reflect the Bruce Wayne / BATMAN situation.  Dick's parents were murdered before his eyes, just as Bruce's had been, and apart from wanting to see the killer brought to justice, Bruce didn't want to see Dick go thru the same kind of hell he had growing up.  He became Dick's legal guardian, and they became like father & son, as well as best friends, and partners in crimefighting.  In fact, they often seemed more like EQUAL partners, an attitude reflected accurately in the 1943 BATMAN movie serial, than the father-son relationship you see on the 1966 BATMAN tv series, where Dick's personality has been SEVERELY "toned down" from the happy, free-wheeling, energetic wise guy he original was in the comics (once he saw his parents' murderer brought to justice).

The model for Steve Rogers & Bucky Barnes, however, to me seems much closer to that of Buck Rogers & Buddy Wade from the 1939 BUCK ROGERS serial.  Watch that and see if the friendship between those two guys doesn't feel almost exactly like what Jack Kirby did in the CAPTAIN AMERICA comics.

I'm sick to death of so many thinking kid sidekicks are a bad thing JUST because ONE person (Stan Lee) felt that way.

Dave Elyea said:

I have to think that Bucky would have been second only to Robin as a "known" kid sidekick--remember, back then, in those pre-TV days, comic books were as close to being a Mass Medium as they'd ever get--almost everyone read them, at least occasionally, and Captain America seems to have been pretty high-profile back in the day.

As I understand it, the serials were usually a short film shown along with a feature film (or two). If someone went to the movies back then and saw the serials along with other features they would not necessarily go out and buy comics (any more than the movie-goers do today). Regarding the people clamoring for the destruction of comics, I'd be surprised if any of them had any real familiarity with comics.

Henry R. Kujawa said:

I'm sick to death of so many thinking kid sidekicks are a bad thing JUST because ONE person (Stan Lee) felt that way.

I don't think Stan's objections are the reason. In today's world people recognize this as child endangerment. Also, the happy-go-lucky kid sidekick doesn't mesh very well with today's tendency toward grim and gritty heroes.

This made me a little curious about first appearances of superhero sidekicks.

Robin's first appearance was in Batman #1 (Spring 1940).
Toro's first appearance was in Human Torch #2 (Fall 1940)
Bucky's first appearance was in Captain America #1 (March 1941).       
Speedy's first appearance was in More Fun #73 (November 1941)
Sandy's first appearance was in Adventure #69 (December 1941)
Aqualad's first appearance was in Adventure #269 (February 1960, pretty sure I bought that one)

I was kind of surprised that Toro pre-dated Bucky.

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