To celebrate the Fourth of July, AKA Independence Day, Back to the Past is counting down our Top Four Patriotic Superheroes! We’ll also give a rundown of each character’s key appearances for the collecting-minded among us. From the Golden Age to today, these are the most entertaining of comicdom’s many patriotic crusaders.
#4. Liberty Belle (DC Comics)
Champion swimmer Libby Lawrence was traveling through Poland with her father, a man of some renown, in fall of 1939. Hitler’s invasion destroyed their hotel, killing her father and sending Libby swimming for safer shores. Returning home a hero, she discovered a mystical connection between the Liberty Bell pin her athletic feats had won her and the real thing. When the real Liberty Bell tolled, her pin granted her enhanced strength, speed, and agility for a short time. She used these newfound powers to battle criminals and saboteurs as the mighty Liberty Belle! Liberty Belle was one of DC’s longest running female leads in the Golden Age, second only to Wonder Woman herself. She was introduced to a new generation of fans as leader of the All-Star Squadron, cementing her an indispensable part of the DC’s Golden Age legacy.
Boy Commandos #1 (1942): 1st appearance and origin.
Star-Spangled Comics #20 (1943): Liberty Belle’s feature moves to its permanent home.
Justice League of America #193 (1981): Modern day revival, 1st appearance of the All-Star Squadron.
Justice Society of America #1 (2007): Libby’s daughter Jessie Quick takes up the mantle of Liberty Belle.
#3. Captain Atom (Charlton Comics)
Air Force Captain Allen Adam was making repairs to an experimental rocket when it unexpectedly launched toward the stars! Thought to be killed by the rocket’s explosion, Adam was actually granted fantastic atomic powers (including reforming his body after being vaporized). As Captain Atom, he would work with the Air Force to protect the U.S. from criminals, spies, and terrorists! He was Charlton’s equivalent of Superman, albeit one co-created and mostly written by Amazing Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. Captain Atom was revived at DC Comics in 1987 as Captain Nathaniel Adam, a time-tossed Vietnam vet reluctantly plopped into the cloak-and-dagger diplomacy of the late Cold War.
Space Adventures #33 (1960): 1st appearance.
Captain Atom #84 (1967): New costume debuts.
Captain Atom #1 (1987): 1st appearance in the DC Universe.
#2. The Shield (Archie Comics)
Chemist Joe Higgins is the creator of a chemical compound that gives a person superhuman strength and nigh-invulnerability when applied to the Sacrum, Heart, Innervation, Eyes, Lungs, and Dermis and bombarded with X-Rays! Naming him “The Shield”, he dons an American flag themed costume and begins fighting crime. This earns him a spot as an FBI special agent, with his secret identity known only to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover himself. Predating Captain America by nearly a year, The Shield is the original patriotic superhero. He’s been the flagship superhero at Archie Comics since the Golden Age and his comics are always a fun time!
Pep Comics #1 (1940), 1st appearance.
Shield-Wizard Comics #1 (1940), origin revealed.
Adventures of the Fly #8 (1960), Silver Age revival.
#1. Captain America (Marvel Comics)
Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby back in 1941, Captain America has been one of Marvel Comics’ top heroes ever since. Steve Rogers is a patriotic young man from Brooklyn, weak-and-sickly in body but powerful in spirit. Dr. Abraham Erskine selects him to be the first, and ultimately only, recipient of his Super Soldier Serum. Catapulted to the peak of human ability, Captain America has protected all Americans regardless of race, creed, or identity ever since. Cap stands for the best ideals of his namesake nation, going against its government when he felt they no longer lived up to their ideals (including one that implied a megalomaniac supervillain was secretly Richard Nixon). When written well, Steve Rogers and his partners/successors Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes stand for everything right with the United States of America.
Captain America Comics #1 (1941), 1st appearance and origin.
Captain America Comics #2 (1941), 1st appearance of his iconic discus shield.
The Avengers #4 (1964), Silver Age revival and debut as an Avenger.
Captain America #100 (1968), 1st issues of Cap’s longest running solo series.
Happy Independence Day!
We hope you’re enjoying America’s birthday with some barbecue, some fireworks, and some relaxation! If we missed your favorite star-spangled superhero, let us know below or on social media @b2pcollect. And if you’ve got some of these key issues and want to secure yourself a nice vacation before summer’s over, get in touch with us here at Back to the Past ASAP!