So yeah, another reading project. My Luke Cage project is nearing it's end, so I figured I'd start another.

As of right now, I'm not sure how far I'm going to go with this particular project. I'll definitely be covering Tales of Suspense #59-99. I may also cover guest appearances in other books that aren't named Avengers.

With that said, let's get this show on the road.

Tales of Suspense #59 - "Captain America!"
Cover Date: November 1964
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Captain America is stationed at Avengers Mansion awaiting any crisis situations. Jarvis leaves him a pot of coffee. As he  has little to do, he looks through one of his old scrapbooks.

Meanwhile, some mobsters are planning on taking on the Avengers. Their leader has two of them stretch a chain. To prove a  point, the leader--a guy named Bull--shatters the chain using karate! He explains that a chain can be broken if you find the  weakest link, and that link is Captain America, since he doesn't have any super powers.

At this point, a couple of the mobsters haul in Jarvis to ask him who's minding the store. Jarvis tells them it's no secret  that Captain America is there and that they could have found the information by using the telephone. Bull tells his men to  get their hardware as they're going to attack Captain America. They release Jarvis.

Back at the Mansion, Cap is looking through his scrapbook when he sees a photo of his former partner, Bucky. He feels pangs  of guilt. Suddenly he's attacked by the mobsters. They fight. The mobsters are well prepared, even having a man in an  armored suit. They get off a lucky shot (just a graze) while Cap is waiting for his magnetically attracted shield to return.   While he's knocked unconscious, they tie him up while they look for the Avengers safe.

They locate the safe and produce a torch to cut through the door. Cap regains consciousness at this point, and using the  heels of his boots--which are razor sharp--he cuts through his ropes. His feet are still tied, but Cap begins to fight  through the mobsters anyway until a stray flame from the torch cuts the rope around his legs free. The armored thugs grabs  Cap and boasts that he won't be able to break his grip. Cap breaks his grip and knocks him out.

At this point, the rest of the gang attacks. Cap recovers his shield, and despite all of them attacking at once holds his  own. The armored thug gets back in the fight, but can't touch Cap. Cap induces him to charge into a fireplace, knocking him  out again. Another thug plans to launch a sleep gas capsule. Cap blocks the gun barrel with his shield and forces the gas to   backfire.

Bull sends in his karate! team. However they're outmatched by Captain America. At this point, Bull charges and head-butts  Cap in the mid-section. He gets in another blow before Cap fights back, dropping Bull like a side of beef. He thanks the  thugs for livening up his evening and calls the police to pick them up.

My rating: 7/10

This is a good, if simplistic, reintroduction of the classic character in his first new solo story. Captain America has no  powers, but he's more than a match for as many criminals one can bring to an ambush. It's fun seeing Kirby allowed to draw  Cap as dynamically as possible, and the pacing is crisp and sharp.

There are some inconsistencies that are endemic to superhero stories however: why release Jarvis? If the thugs were willing  to attack Cap with guns before, why tie him up instead of shooting him? Also, why doesn't Bull ever get a last name?

All things being said, though, this is a solid effort.

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Plastic Man was also prominent since he managed to outlive everyone except the DC trio and was still around briefly even after the Code came out. He just might have made it if Quality hadn't closed down. Or if DC had immediately picked him up.

One reboot of Captain Marvel had Shazam briefly remember the Golden Age Marvel Family, but he forced himself not to think of them since he knew he was remembering people that had never existed and he couldn't get them back. At one point they were saying the WWII Wonder Woman was her mother. No idea how long that idea lasted though.

Ronald Morgan said:

Plastic Man was also prominent since he managed to outlive everyone except the DC trio and was still around briefly even after the Code came out. He just might have made it if Quality hadn't closed down. Or if DC had immediately picked him up.

Did they continue Blackhawk without a gap? Maybe Plastic Man's sales were much lower at the end, or maybe they decided that superheroes weren't selling and wanted to rely on their Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman books until things changed. Quality went belly up at the end of 1956. In early 1956 DC stuck its toe in the water with the Barry Allen Flash, but it took four try-outs over 2 1/2 years before he got his own book.

I've heard they only bought Quality because they wanted Blackhawk and weren't interested in their superheroes. After all if they wanted to publish more superheroes they could always just bring back the JSA.

I'm a little late, but here are some superheroes with a lot of yellow in their costumes:
Dr. Fate
The Ray
Whizzer
Kid Flash
Hourman
Firestar
Yellowjacket
Sentry
Black Hood
Batwoman
Golden Age Atom
Nomad
Golden Girl (of course)
Sun Girl
Space Ranger
Challengers of the Unknown
Mighty Mouse

There are probably plenty with orange but how do you top E-Man and Captain Sprocket?

I also liked Falcon's original costume, but the red and white replacement was nearly perfect. Wonder Man's first costume was fine. From there it was all down hill.

Oh, and I agree, Snap Wilson never, ever happened.

Snap exists in the same reality where Cap is a Hydra agent.

Bizarrely, at some point DC had the Blackhawk gang transmogrified into superheroes, apparently to boost sales.  To my knowledge it was neither a commercial nor an artistic success.  Plastic Man, under creator Jack Cole's direction, was an oddball mix of absurdist humor, adventure and pathos, mostly existing in a self-contained, timeless crazy cosmos.  Yep, he was among the top tier of superheroes of the Golden Age, but he doesn't seem to have been nearly as successful since DC purchased rights to him and brought him back in the 1960s.  He still has some name recognition among non-comics aficionados, although seems to me a lot of people confuse him with Mr. Fantastic (similar powers, names sort of rhyme) -- probably they've heard the name but aren't particularly familiar with the character himself, remember the Fantastic Four movies, and, bingo!, put the two together.  I think he's really more akin to the original Captain Marvel, Golden Age characters predominantly associated with one artist and particular settings that don't quite mesh with and entirely different setting DC has been trying to fit them into for decades, with varying levels of success.  I know the DC world of today is far different than that of 70 years ago, but I think even back then the worlds of Captain Marvel & Plastic Man was quite distinct from that of Superman and Batman.

And where Gwen had an affair with Norman Osborn and Spidey made a deal with Mephisto to bring his dead aunt back to life and make as if his marriage to MJ never happened.  A bizzarro reality.

Ronald Morgan said:

Snap exists in the same reality where Cap is a Hydra agent.

Was Plastic Man on the same Earth the other Quality heroes lived on? Never saw him with them.

From what I've heard the Blackhawk as superheroes idea was very unpopular.

And Hercules put Manhattan back the wrong way. That was some powerful tugboat!

Bizarro #1: Them am my favorite comics! Me love them so much, reading them make me vomit with joy!
 
Fred W. Hill said:

And where Gwen had an affair with Norman Osborn and Spidey made a deal with Mephisto to bring his dead aunt back to life and make as if his marriage to MJ never happened.  A bizzarro reality.

Ronald Morgan said:

Snap exists in the same reality where Cap is a Hydra agent.

Ron,

This is from memory, but I think in the JLA/JSA team up that introduced the Freedom Fighters there was a flashback mentioning how other heroes, including the Blackhawks and Plastic Man, had been killed in the long struggle with the Nazis on Earth X. Maybe someone else can provide details or confirmation.

The Quality heroes appeared as the Freedom Fighters in JLA 107-108. I have the reprint in the TPB Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol 3.

On page 10 of JLA 107 Uncle Sam says some friends had died. The accompanying picture shows Plastic Man and the Blackhawks.

That was because there were Earth-1 versions of them, wasn't it? Sounds like there's an untold story about them crossing dimensions somehow.

Since Quality lasted long after WWII ended, was there ever any mention at DC that another version of them in another universe beat the Nazis?

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