Being in a patriotic mood today, I decided to read Ess it ential Captain America Vol 1 together with Essential Avengers Vol 1 and came up with some queries about the Star-Spangled Avenger so:

  • We all know about Cap's "return" in Strange Tales #114 battling the Human Torch. I theorized that it wasn't so much a tryout but a way to refamilarize readers with the concept of Cap before actually reintroducing the character. IIRC, Johnny sees "Cap" advertised to make an appearance at a car show yet it's never "Cap is back after all these years" which unknowingly gives credence to the retcons of the THREE other Caps that appeared in the late 40s and mid 50s. "Cap" is simply out of retirement again. Yet when the real Cap returns in Avengers #4, it is heralded by the public as a near-religious resurrection. Cap was gone twenty years, believed to be dead. Yet no one was surprised by his Strange Tales comeback, not even Johnny who at the end of the story wondered where the real Cap was and if he would ever return. So taking to two stories combined with the 70s revisions, does that mean that the people of the Marvel Universe now know there was a government cover-up to deceive them that Captain America was still alive? Not once but thrice?
  • When exactly did Cap's shield become indestructible? Not just tough and durable but actually described as unbreakable? His shield was gimmicked by Iron Man with magnetic devices and was given a fliptop but it was always stated that it was his original shield. In Tales of Suspense #62, Cap says he "threw away all of Iron Man's magnetic gimmicks! They ruined (his) shield's delicate balance!" Not that he had a hi-tech shield and went back to his first one. Roy Thomas even destroyed it in one of his early Avengers stories!
  • Was Cap super-human? Marvel always claimed no but he was frozen for twenty years with no brain damage and still in peak condition! That has to count as a super-power! Combined that with his strength, speed and agility, can Cap really be regarded as a "normal" man?
  • It has been confirmed that Cap's memories were repressed after his thawing, which is why he didn't remember the Sub-Mariner (whose own memory was foggy, too!). Yet he remembered Zemo, the Red Skull, even "Der Tag". He seemed to recall a lot about the war, so when did he regain all of his memory? After The Invaders was published?
  • Did Cap ever reconnect with people from his past (family, friends, war buddies)? It was only twenty years. It's not like everyone he ever known was dead already!
  • Why and how did Cap assume responsibilty for Rick Jones? Was that even legal? Where did Rick live in New York? In Avengers Mansion? Did he really look like Bucky? Did anyone else (Nick Fury, Dum Dum Duggan, Peggy Carter) think so? And why would Iron Man nominate Rick for the Avengers in the first place?
  • About Rick, after he left in Avengers #16, he returned to the Hulk in Tales To Astonish. How did he team up with Cap again during the Steranko period? He never appeared with Cap during his run in Tales of Suspense.
  • I could probably do one of these threads about the Falcon but I'll just ask this: How old is Redwing? He's been around for over forty years! That bird must have superpowers of his own!
  • Reality question: When Jack Kirby helped revive his co-creation, Captain America, did he tell Joe Simon? He must have known that Carl Burgos and Bill Everett weren't happy that he co-opted their characters for Fantastic Four. He saw Cap once again become a success with toys, merchandise and a cartoon series (such as it was). Did he consider Joe Simon and his rights?  I'll answer that: No he didn't. And why not? Because that's not how it was done back then! No matter what we think or feel NOW, THEN Jack and Stan did nothing wrong. That's how the business was, and in many ways, still is.

Thanks in advance! Meanwhile report any suspicious people to your local super-hero! (TEN POINTS to anyone who gets THAT reference and yes, it relates to Cap!)

 

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No, Allen, my understanding is that Stan and company wanted the new kids to draw or layout like Kirby did. And so, he frequently would assign Kirby to do the layouts...but not the finished pencils. After 3-to-6 issues, the new artist would be on their own.

I understand that Kirby came to resent this, because he wasn't paid his full rate for this type of assignment, which in some views, was the lion's share of the art chores. Second, it increased his workload, but not his page-rate pay.

There are probably others who can describe this process better than I have. I think I may have heard this from Mark Evanier's POV blog, but I'm not sure.

Allen Wayne Smith said:

That's why Kirby was doing the layouts for other artists, so Stan could have him write the book. Uncredited, of course.

Allen Smith
Kirk G said:

Kirby was known to do layouts for other artists to follow, sort of a training/grace period... it happened for Steranko on SHIELD...and also in the Incredible Hulk in Tales to Astonish, just off the top of my head...

Not everything, Robin, just a lot more than Stan Lee ever credited him for.  And, let's look at the evidence, not conclusive, but highly suggestive that Kirby, in drawing layouts for stories by other artists, also wrote, or plotted the stories.  First, there was the idea that the artists used by Stan needed Kirby to show them how to draw a story properly, therefore his layouts were needed to give the stories that action that was so needed by Stan.  I don't believe that old wives tale by Stan as guys like Buscema, Colan, Romita, Everett, etc. were solid professionals who could draw an action story very well.  Especially Everett.  And Steranko, let's not forget him.  They didn't need Kirby's layouts.  Second, was the idea that Stan gave only bare bones plots to artists, or had artists do the plotting.  As revealed by artists like Steranko, Wood, Ditko, Kirby, Goldberg, and Romita.  {And Romita has stated he plotted stories for Spider-Man that he didn't draw.) To fill in the gap for new artists, he needed someone like Kirby to plot the stories, in essence having Kirby plot until the artists were brought up to speed as far as PLOTTING was concerned.  My little theory makes sense, as it's only contradicted by the credits, which were written by Stan Lee, whose word is suspect in my eyes.  It's why Ditko and Kirby ultimately had to demand more than just artist's credit from Stan in order to be listed as more than just "artist" on those stories.
We just can't know how many stories guys like Ditko and Kirby plotted, with no credit, until they made the demands from Lee for greater credit.  Again, none of this is absolute evidence, but again, it is highly suggestive of what was going on.

     Allen Smith

Robin Olsen said:

Oh. Right. I should have known. I forgot. Kirby did EVERYTHING.

Allen Wayne Smith said:

That's why Kirby was doing the layouts for other artists, so Stan could have him write the book. Uncredited, of course.

Allen Smith
Kirk G said:

Kirby was known to do layouts for other artists to follow, sort of a training/grace period... it happened for Steranko on SHIELD...and also in the Incredible Hulk in Tales to Astonish, just off the top of my head...

Kirby resented doing layouts because it meant he had to write, or plot, a story but was only getting layout payments for it.

Kirk G said:

No, Allen, my understanding is that Stan and company wanted the new kids to draw or layout like Kirby did. And so, he frequently would assign Kirby to do the layouts...but not the finished pencils. After 3-to-6 issues, the new artist would be on their own.

I understand that Kirby came to resent this, because he wasn't paid his full rate for this type of assignment, which in some views, was the lion's share of the art chores. Second, it increased his workload, but not his page-rate pay.

There are probably others who can describe this process better than I have. I think I may have heard this from Mark Evanier's POV blog, but I'm not sure.

Allen Wayne Smith said:

That's why Kirby was doing the layouts for other artists, so Stan could have him write the book. Uncredited, of course.

Allen Smith
Kirk G said:

Kirby was known to do layouts for other artists to follow, sort of a training/grace period... it happened for Steranko on SHIELD...and also in the Incredible Hulk in Tales to Astonish, just off the top of my head...

  • When exactly did Cap's shield become indestructible? Not just tough and durable but actually described as unbreakable? His shield was gimmicked by Iron Man with magnetic devices and was given a fliptop but it was always stated that it was his original shield. In Tales of Suspense #62, Cap says he "threw away all of Iron Man's magnetic gimmicks! They ruined (his) shield's delicate balance!" Not that he had a hi-tech shield and went back to his first one. Roy Thomas even destroyed it in one of his early Avengers stories!

As I recall, Cap's original sheild was locked in a trunk, that wasn't returned to him until the first Stern/Bryne Captain America #247, when it is dented or his possessions are damaged.

Then, much later, Roger Stern had Mr. Hyde destroy his original sheild in front of his eyes in the "Under Seige" storyline.

I know about his original shield from Captain America Comics #1 but when was the first time his round shield was described as indestructible? Was it ever referred to as such in the Golden Age? At what point does it become the most durable man-made object in the Marvel Universe?

Also for those who don't know, Cap's shield is not made of Adamantium or even AtomAntium. It's not even pure Vibranium. Dr. MacLain was trying to alloy iron with Vibranium but they wouldn't bond. He fell asleep and SOMETHING happened to fuse the two metals together. Amazed he molded the new alloy into a disc shaped shield which was now unbreakable. Adamantium was created trying to duplicate the shield.

My pet theory now is that, when MacLain was sleeping, Odin the All-Father, sensing how the shield and its bearer's destinies would intertwine with his son, Thor and wanting to help stop the Nazis who were corrupting his Germanic people, put some uru metal into the mix, thus explaining why it could never be duplicated because the metal does not exist on Earth and why it was resistant to even the power of Thor's hammer.

I don't know if this will get anyone angry but a personal request: I respectfully ask that this thread not become a Stan Lee Versus Jack Kirby debate. It's safe to say that no one's opinion is going to change by continuing to argue about it. I would rather discuss the stories as they are written/drawn, not on how they may or may not have been changed or what the original intent may have been. While everyone has made valid points, nothing can really be proven or what each creators' motives were 100% after forty-fifty years. I'm not saying not to discuss inconsistencies or continuity lapses, but please let's not fall into that trap again which always seems to lead to hurt feelings. Thank you! And Let's have fun!

No hurt feelings on my part, Robin and you have nothing to apologize for. I'm only trying to prevent a continous debate from boiling over again with no positive results.

I like your theory about Uru metal and Odin's involvement. Even the motivation isn't bad.

But I recall an early Thor where Thor's hammer vanished (flew to smash Loki's chains I think) and Thor fashion a spare from a  rock, but it also flew away...then Thor discovers that the rock outcropping that he chisseled the replacement from HAD URU ore in it already...and so, could follow and find both his hammer, and the culpret...Loki (isn't it always?)...

"When exactly did Cap's shield become indestructible? Not just tough and durable but actually described as unbreakable?"

 

 

I thought I'd give this one a go, Philip.

 

I started with Captain America's series debut in Tales of Suspense # 59 (Nov., 1964) and moved forward.  Starting around the time the series returned to the present, after depicting Cap and Bucky's World War II adventures for a time, various scenes showed Cap's shield to be increasingly more durable---going from protecting him from bullets and fists and brickbats to saving his hide from rockets and laser blasts.  But no particular reference was made to the shield's incredible durability, nor were there any hints that it might be something more than a mere disc of steel.

 

Then, in Tales of Suspense # 93 (Sep., 1967), and the story, "Into the Jaws of A.I.M.!", I struck paydirt.

 

As the story describes, the Star-Spangled Avenger infiltrates an A.I.M. submarine in order to rescue Agent 13.  The first half of that OpOrder doesn't go too well, as Cap is caught before he can even get out of the water.  The A.I.M. boys place him in the lock-up, while they take his shield for scientific analysis.

 

Panels 1 and 2, of page 6, depict those efforts.  Cap's shield is jammed inside some sort of massive mechanical contraption, while the A.I.M. technos stand around, scratching their headgears.

 

"It is useless!  Not even my titanium blade can pierce this shield!"

 

"The hydraulic pressure drill is equally powerless against it!"

 

"Enough!  We must have sufficient wisdom to admit defeat!  We are totally unable to damage the the accursed shield of Captain America!"

 

"Whatever it is composed of, the substance was never mined here on Earth!  It is undoubtedly some sort of alien, extra-terrestrial metal!"

 

At this point, the scientific seminar is interupted by Cap, who has escaped his own shackles.  And there are no other inferrences made about the indestructability of the shield.

 

 

At this point, Stan and company were probably receiving letters from readers enquiring about the exceptional durability of the shield and, also, pointing out that the impact of some of the weapons the shield stopped---the rockets and bombs and whatnot---should have sent enough kinetic energy into Cap's arms to shatter them.  So I'm guessing that Stan started looking around for an explanation and, until he came up with one he liked, he decided to start dropping hints in the stories that the shield was something more than a "disc of steel".

 

The panels of A.I.M.'s scientific analysis of the shield established that it was indestructable.  The reference to it being composed of an alien metal was probably not intended by Stan to be the actual explanation.  More likely, he was vamping until he came up with a reason he liked.

 

 

The Odin hypothesis is appealing to me.  Particularly given how (in the MU at least) Hitler misled Thor into fighting for him for a while, and the Invaders convinced him to change sides.

The idea behind that "extra-terrestrial metal" line may have been that the shield was made with metal from a meteorite. Wasn't the Vibranium mound in Wakanda explained as from space?

Vibranium from Wakanda was described as a meteorite but man that must have been one HUGE meteorite! Not to mention that Vibranium was found in the Savage Land as well.

I imagine that Cap’s shield was pointed out to be indestructible in TOS #93, because earlier it had been found to be both totally destructible and absolutely essential, such that it warped space-time.

In Avengers #35 (Dec 66), lasers from the Living Laser burned the “protective coating” off the shield, and when Cap tried to use it to protect Hawkeye and himself, “It disintegrated!” Cap exclaimed. “Just as if it were made of papier-mâché instead of metal!"

A few pages later, after Cap was saved, he confronted the villains, and Captain America threw his mighty shield at them. So either he had lots of shields sitting around his bedroom, he went back in time and picked up the old one, or he went into another dimension and stole another Cap’s shield, or…

After that, I think Stan decided that Cap’s shield had better be indestructible, because it was going to show up whether it was destroyed or not.

That story won a Mopee Award in 2001 for not letting previous pages of plot get in the way of Cap throwing his mighty shield.

-- MSA

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