By now you have likely seen the new Captain America: The First Avenger movie, or have plans to. The film is getting positive feedback and there is even an excellent review here on Comic Booked, by our own Jordamus Prime. It is nice to see “Cap” get a proper film after the somewhat embarrassing earlier attempts to adapt his comic to a movie format. When you have a character with as long of a history as Captain America, there are bound to be quite a few fun and interesting facts. I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of these little factoids.
Even though people strongly associate Captain America with Marvel Comics, he actually appeared in Marvel’s predecessor, Timely Publications first.
The first issue of Captain America showed our hero punching Hitler in the jaw and sold nearly 1 MILLION copies!
Cap’s iconic round shield actually started out as a triangle-shaped shield in the first issue but was changed to the round shape in issue #2. In a November, 1983 interview with James Van Hise for Golden Age of Comic #6, Kirby had this to say about the change:
“I changed the shield from a triangle because I felt that it was the kind of thing you couldn’t do much with, except puncture a wall like a spear. But with a circular shield you could be tricky and there were wider uses for a circular shield, and therefore it was better for the character.”
Was Captain America the first comic in continuity to feature a full-page drawing? This is a common practice now, but can this innovation be traced back to Captain America #4? In the same interview from above, Jack Kirby provides this answer to the “full-page” question:
“Yes, we were always innovating. We did the first double-page splash and there were none before Simon and Kirby created it. We felt that the format of the comic book had to have a little balance. A double-splash added to the dramatization of what we were doing. It created greater impact and therefore the double-page stayed. To this very day the double-spread is very effective because it dramatizes what you want to say…”
The film title Captain America: The First Avenger is slightly misleading. In The Avengers comics Captain America didn’t actually show up until issue #4. After joining The Avengers, new readers who didn’t remember Cap from before actually complained that he didn’t fit or belong in group. Imagine that? Comic fans freaking out and complaining about changes to their comics!
Comic’s creators were paid poorly during the golden-age, and moonlighting for other publishers was a common practice. After working on the Captain America title all day, Simon and Kirby would retire to a nearby hotel to secretly do work for other publishers.
Technically Cap doesn’t really have any superpowers, his strength and agility are just enhanced thanks to the “Super-Soldier Serum.”
Captain America #1 originally sold on newsstands for 10 cents. Today that same comic is worth an estimated $115,000!
An estimated 210 MILLION copies of Captain America comics have been sold in 57 countries over the years!
Cap’s popularity waned during the 50’s. Besides one short, ill-fated revival in ’53, he went nearly a decade without having a steady book.
Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, was killed off by Marvel in March 2007, though the series continues publication.
Captain America: The First Avenger is actually Cap’s 5th movie and made for TV movie appearance!
That guy looks familiar! Chris Evans plays Cap in the new film, but he has previously portrayed Johnny Storm in Marvel ‘s Fantastic Four films.
So there you have some Captain America fun facts to contemplate! If you enjoyed the film, you really should check out the long line of comics as well. Comics have a rich history. Every character that has been around as long as Captain America, has oodles of fun factoids, and many legendary stories surrounding their creators and creation. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon are two great creators to start exploring if you wish to take a plunge into comic book history. In fact, there is even an excellent new autobiography about Simon titled Joe Simon: My Life in Comics, reviewed here on Comic Booked by John I. You should check it out. Dig into comic’s history; you’ll be surprised and delighted by what you find! Thank you for reading.