5 Patriotic Comic Heroes
With the Fourth of July days away (as of this post), it seems appropriate to look at some of the patriotic heroes that have come from the world of comic books.
It seems only fitting that we should start with one of the most recognizable of patriotic heroes. Debuting in 1940 with America on the verge of entering World War 2, Captain America charged ahead of the troops. From the flag motif costume to the red white and blue shield, everything about Cap screams USA. Even Steve Rogers birthday could not have been more patriotic (July 4). With stories published by Timely, Atlas and ultimately Marvel Comics, the Sentinel of Liberty managed to stick around, though his longest runs have been with Marvel.
2) Uncle Sam
Everyone is familiar with the classic depiction of Uncle Sam from the famous “I Want You” recruitment poster, but the character itself has been mentioned as far back as 1775. But, few people know that Uncle Sam was a comic book hero as well.
Quality Comics National Comics #1 was the first issue to feature Uncle Sam. He was the ghost of a slain soldier who now found himself called upon when the country needed him the most. Quality did nothing to change the character, maintaining the red and white striped pants and flag styled top hat that had been used by many political cartoonists throughout American history.
Quality’s comics were eventually bought by DC Comics, and Uncle Sam went along with them. When DC reintroduced Uncle Sam, the character, along with his Freedom Fighters, continued to fight the Axis on an alternate Earth.
It is surprising to think so, but for much of his history, Superman has been a force for the American ideals. As Glen Weldon tells in his book, Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, the Man of Steel became more associated with the US in the 1940s, maintaining that patriotism in the days of the Cold War. Many artists throughout the years have portrayed Superman with the American flag either firmly in his hands or waving in the background. Even his radio serial, and later TV series, says Superman fights for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”
4) The Shield
Like many patriotic heroes, the Shield was created in the late 1930s/1940s by MLJ. Granted, MLJ is probably more known for one of their other characters, Archie Andrews (MLJ would eventually become Archie Comics), the company also had a number of heroic characters. The Shield saw a number revivals throughout the years in different forms, some by Archie Comics, and a couple by DC Comics through a licensing agreement.
5) Fighting Yank
Fighting Yank, like Captain America and The Shield, began his career in the 1940s as America grew more patriotic, and as the country drew dangerously closer to war. The Fighting Yank wore a Colonial tri-corner hat and a white shirt with the American Flag on it, along with a magical cloak that gave him his powers.
Fighting Yank is a bit unique in that he, like a number of other characters from the golden age of comics, fell into public domain. This opened the character up to being picked up by a number of companies for use. AC Comics worked many of these characters into their Femforce Comic. DC, through the America’s Best Comics imprint had their own version of Fighting Yank. Most notably, Dynamite Entertainment featured an older Fighting Yank in their Project: Superpowers series, written by Jim Krueger and illustrated by Alex (Marvels, Kingdom Come) Ross.
- A Gallery of World War II Superhero Comic Book Covers (grayflannelsuit.net)
- Patriotic Superheroes to Discover This Fourth of July (geeksugar.com)
Posted on July 3, 2013, in Comics, Lists, Media, Personal, The Fives and tagged Captain America, comics, Fighting Yank, lists, media, personal, Superman, the fives, The Shield, Uncle Sam. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.