Sunday, November 1, 2015

FROM HELL (1989)


OUT OF THE BACK ISSUE BIN

Views and Reviews of Comic Books from the Past

By
Reed Tucker
(via special arrangement by John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino)



FROM HELL (1989)


 Written by: Alan Moore
Drawn by: Eddie Campbell


I work as an entertainment reporter at the New York Post, and it is the newspaper’s (horribly misguided) policy to print my email address at the end of every article I write. As you might imagine, I fire up my computer each morning to find my in box clogged with all manner of e-garbage.

It’s almost impossible to overstate just how much of the unsolicited email I receive is absolutely useless.

“Would you be interested in writing about an exciting new carpet-cleaning technique?”

No.

“Expert available to talk about the latest Khloe Kardashian news.”

Not interested.

Scattered among the publicity pitches and the Chinese Viagra ads are also a few missives from real-life readers. This being the Internet, most begin with some variation of, “Dear dipshit,” and then go on to rip me a new one because of something seemingly harmless I’ve written about the latest Johnny Depp movie or whatever. But every once in a long while, something useful shows up in the in box -- something that’s interesting, and on target. Something that I can actually use.

And that’s how I met John.

He emailed me a link to a blog post he’d written about the potential ties between a 1950s children’s Halloween costume and Marvel’s Spider-Man. It was a fascinating story backed by research and reasoned speculation. My first thought was, this is insane. How come no major publication has written about this? If true, this information could rewrite the history of one of the most popular superheroes of all time. Even if not true, it still makes for a great read, check it out here: "The 1963 Ben Cooper Spider-Man Halloween Costume". The editors at the paper agreed, and I wrote an article for the Post summarizing John’s theory called: "The billion dollar Spider-man cover up".

I’ve since met John in person, and he probably has more knowledge of (as well as more enthusiasm for) comic books than anyone I’ve ever come across. Which is why he’s free to email me to tell me to write a review on my favorite book of all time for his blog. Just be sure to begin it, “Dear dipshit.”

Just the other day, a seasoned comics professional confessed to me that he thought Watchmen was -- there’s no easy way to put this -- “fucking overrated.”

“Well, someone had to say it,” he concluded.

I’m not sure I’d go that far, but when it comes to Alan Moore, I know what his most underrated work has to be: From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campell.

As intelligent as Watchmen? Check. As dense and meticulously plotted? Check. Told with beautiful art that’s perfectly suited for the mood of this particular tale? Check. Completely transports the reader to another world? Check. Is populated with engaging and three-dimensional characters? Check. And yet this alterna-history of the Jack the Ripper murders is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Watchmen or even Swamp Thing.


When some rube starts banging on about how comic books are only good for telling juvenile superhero stories, I want to drop this 572-page baby on his toe. To me, this story proves that absolutely anything can be done in a graphic novel. It gets overlooked, I think, simply because it fell outside the whole offering-more-grown-up-spins-on-costumed-heroes revolution of the 1980s.

But From Hell is as satisfying as any historical-fiction novel I’ve ever read. I don’t even care that the theory behind the murders presented here has been mostly discredited. Moore makes it stand up, and that’s all that matters to me.

And he does it with a jaw-dropping amount of research -- most of which is recounted in the series’ extensive footnotes.

And what can you say about Eddie Campbell’s art? The scratchy pen work on display here is so singular, so perfectly adapted for this book. Show someone just one panel, and if they’re a comic fan, I’ll bet you they could tell you immediately where it came from. Even if they’ve never cracked open a comic book in their life, I’d bet they could make a pretty strong guess about the kind of story this is.

It’s amazing what Campbell does with what appears to be little more than a black ink pen. Look at the way he textures a character’s plaid overcoat or creates the outline of a distant building, shadowed in fog, with just a few vertical slashes. Look at the way he creates eerie backgrounds out of violently criss-crossed lines.


I shudder to think how many books of Victorian reference must populate Campbell’s bookshelf. Every detail here feels authentic, from the clothes to the grimy streets to the gruesome murder scenes. I can still see his drawing of Mary Kelly -- victim #5 -- her eviscerated body spread across a bed.

This is one of the best marriages of art and story I’ve ever come across.


Hollywood tried adapting From Hell a few years ago, and of course, the movie stunk. But instead of diminishing my enjoyment of the source material, it just made me appreciate it more. From Hell is a dense, unwieldy beast that’s impossible to compress into a two-hour movie without taking so many shortcuts that something gets lost. Like any good comic book, it’s a story that’s meant to be appreciated one way and one way only: in comic book form.

And truth be told, I also have an extra bit of fondness for this series because it represents one of the last works Moore released before he turned into a crusty old grump, producing increasingly impenetrable (to me anyway) books about ritual magic involving bear urine and H.P. Lovecraft monsters. The Moore of From Hell represents the writer at the height of his mainstream powers, and it’s the version of the author I like best.




HERO ENVY REPORT CARD
Story: 5
Art: 4
Action: 3
Flow: 4
Reread Factor: 5
Overall Grade: 4
(grading numbers 1 thru 5, with 5 being the highest)



Agree, disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!


OTHER "OUT OF THE BACK ISSUE BIN" REVIEWS

AVENGERS #164, 165, 166 (1977)

Reed Tucker is a features writer for the New York Post covering entertainment and movies -- a position that generously allows him to see crap films like "Tomorrowland" before the general public. He's also written for the New York Times, Time Out NY and Oprah magazine. Still not quite sure how that last one happened. He lives in Brooklyn, just down the street from the late, great Bergen Street Comics. Contact @reed_tucker

www.heroenvy.com

Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE TOP 10 GREATEST G.I. JOE FIGURES EVER!


TALES FROM THE TOY CHEST

Stories of Childhood Toy Triumph and Tragedy



By
John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino


CASE NUMBER: 8283848586-YOJOE
THE TOP 10 GREATEST G.I. JOE FIGURES EVER!


G.I. Joe was originally a line of figures produced from 1964-1969 by Hasbro. They were 12-inch figures that represented all branches of the U.S. armed forces. The development of these figures led to the coining of the term "action figure." From 1970-1976 Hasbro renamed this line to "Adventure Team G.I. Joe" and added a host of comic-like characters and villains. While these lines did well with children of the day, they quickly fell into obscurity as other, more colorful action figures began to hit the toy market.

But it was in 1982 (when I was 9 years old) that saw the highly successful relaunch of this toy line. Now renamed to "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" with new figure molds scaled down to 3.75-inches (to mimic the Star Wars figures) and with new characters, vehicles, playsets, and a complex background story involving an ongoing struggle between the G.I. Joe Team and the evil COBRA Command which seeks to take over the world through terrorism, this toy line quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. It was so big in fact, that in 1985 both Toy Lamp and Hobby World ranked G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero as the top selling American toy. To go along with its enormous popularity were cartoons, an animated movie, comic books, posters, T-shirts, video games, board games, kites, etc. for me and every boy and girl that wanted to shout "YOOO JOE!" And speaking of girls, I can't even remember a prominently male toy line that showcased such awesome female figures that every boy wanted without question.



While this line lasted until 1994, and had many resurgences thereafter that continue on to today, it has never recaptured the popularity and quality it had during the years of 1982-1986. Everything we see today is loosely based on those prime years; the two blockbuster movies in 2009 and 2013, the revamped figures, the comics, etc. But IMHO, it will never recapture the magic G.I. Joe had on me and millions of other kids during that time. The package card art, the file card bio's (all written by Larry Hamma, who also wrote the comics and bible of the G.I. Joe world), the vehicles, playsets, box art -- everything. It was just a magical time for this toy line and I was lucky enough to be at the right age to enjoy every minute of it.



So in trying to capture the "magic" of the best of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, I put together a list of "The Top 10 Greatest G.I. Joe Figures Ever" in this Tales from the Toy Chest write up. Sure, like always, a top 10 list is purely subjective, but these were the figures that captured my imagination and had an impact on me as a kid while collecting them (and all the kids in my neighborhood and middle-school school drooling over them in envy). As I list my favorites, I'll also give some back story on why they impacted me the way they did (some even left scars on my psyche that still affect me today lol). So lets lace up your boot straps, tuck in that shirt and grab a canteen because you're in for a real treat... YYOOOOOO JOOOOOE!!!!



 10.) FLINT (1985)



The first figure to make my list is the cool-looking, beret wearing Warrant Officer code named Flint, who was first released as part of the fourth (and best) series of the G.I. Joe toy line in 1985. Leftover Hasbro stock of this figure was packaged with new accessories (a pistol or a rifle) and sold at an early G.I. Joe Convention. But taking away a "sawed-off" shotgun from a toy figure was a travesty in my eyes. So I'm only talking about the carded Flint here because you can only imagine how many COBRA soldiers I gunned down with that shotgun in the wars that took place in my backyard. When I had a special mission going down, Flint, his cocky attitude and his trusty sawed-off cannon-blaster (I nicknamed "ol' Betsy") was always included.


9.) BARONESS (1984)



There's something a lot of people tend to forget about when talking about the G.I. Joe line -- it was the first boy action figure line that had cool girls in it! And not just one, a bunch of them was in as much demand as any male figure. What other boy toy line could boast that? Especially from that time period!! An argument could be made for any female in this line to make this list, especially Scarlett or Lady Jaye, but Baroness is without a doubt the best of them IMHO. She was beautiful, alluring, seductive and deadly as any member of COBRA. Released in the third series in 1984, she still stands as one of the most iconic figures in the entire line.


 8.) SGT. SLAUGHTER (1986)

Mail-Away Sgt. Slaughter came in a clear bag.

The Mail-Away Sgt. Slaughter came in two different boot variants.

Sgt. Slaughter came with Triple "T" Tag Team Terminator vehicle

Their were two variants for the Sgt. Slaughter figure that came with the Triple "T" vehicle.

Both Sgt. Slaughter figures side-by-side and they were BOTH awesome.

Sgt. Slaughter file card that came with the Mail-Away figure

Sgt. Slaughter file card that came on the back of the Triple "T" box.

Professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter was the first celebrity immortalized as a member of the G.I. Joe Team. In addition, he voiced his own character in the G.I. Joe cartoons, filmed promotion spots and introductions to some of the G.I. Joe cartoons, and served as the spokesman in G.I. Joe commercials from 1987 to 1990 (he was let go by Hasbro when he turned heel for the WWF). Sgt. Slaughter was the first "muscle-bound" figure and the first available as a mail-order from Hasbro Direct in early 1986 (he was also available on and off from 1987 through 1989), and then was officially part of the fifth series in 1986, packaged exclusively with the Triple "T" Tank (in two variants). This made me REALLY love the G.I. Joe toy line because I was such a huge wrestling fan at the time and to see an actual wrestler as a G.I. Joe figure literally exploded my head. Although I never got the Mail-Away figure, I was lucky enough to convince my mom to get me the Sgt. Slaughter with Triple "T" Tank on my birthday that summer.


7.) DESTRO (1983)



Destro was released as part of the second series in 1983, and was never really appreciated by me until I got older to fully understand what he represented in the G.I. Joe world. First off, Destro was incredibly dangerous. He seemed to thrive on chaos and war and the more of it that went on, the richer and more powerful he would become. He was a weapons manufacture that created high-tech weaponry for whoever was the highest bidder and seemed to love the destruction and death that it caused. Plus, he looked so incredibly menacing with the iron mask he donned which was reminiscent of the Fantastic Four's greatest villain Dr. Doom whom I always worshiped.


6.) COBRA COMMANDER (1983)



Cobra Commander was first available as a mail-order offer with straight-arms in 1982, and he was overlooked by me because he looked nothing more than a COBRA solider with a silver mask. But when he got the swivel-arm treatment and released on card as part of the second series in 1983, he finally became the tyrannical face of the COBRA Command (something about seeing a figure in the G.I. Joe packaging in a store and reading a file card can totally change your perspective on it). While the ruthless commander of COBRA was always a figure that all the kids in my neighborhood wanted, it was the cartoon that really made him a legend. Voiced by Christopher Latta (who also voiced Star Scream in the Transformers cartoon), Cobra Commander rocked as the crazed evil fuehrer in a big way! When he entered the battle leading his legion of soldiers you couldn't help but scream "CCOOOOBRAAAAAA!!!" the way Latta did.


5.) DUKE (1984)



Duke was available first as a mail-order exclusive for the second series in 1983. He then became carded and available in the third series in 1984. What made Duke so cool was the fact that he was the face of G.I. Joe and he would lead your team into battle against the forces of COBRA. And when it came time for a final confrontation between the G.I. Joe Team and COBRA Command, it always ended up with Duke vs Cobra Commander for the fate of the world. In school, we debated on this outcome every chance we could get. When Duke lead his team into the battle you couldn't help but scream "YOOOO JOOOE!!!"


4.) FIREFLY (1984)

Firefly came in two variations


Separating the men from the boys on this list starts with the ever-villainous and mysterious Firefly. He was released as part of the third series in 1984, and just looking at him on the toy racks I knew I had to have him. Something about his outfit, sub-machine gun, accessories, backing card art and mysterious characteristics meshed together so well and captured my imagination. Firefly was a must for every kid on the block, we all loved to play with him because he was a complete "dick" and always in the game for himself. His file card said it all; Primary Military Specialty: Sabotage, Demolitions, and Terror (reading that as a kid you knew you had to have him no matter what).


 3.) ZARTAN (1984)

Zartan came with the Chameleon Swamp Skier vehicle

Zartan back card image

Zartan figure with accessories

Version one of Zartan's file card. After getting complaints that the file card was misleading people into thinking that schizophrenia and multiple personalities were one and the same, Hasbro changed the file card.

Version two of Zartan's file card without schizophrenia and multiple personalities mentioned.

While only a select few G.I. Joe figures could actually be cooler than Firefly, Zartan is definitely one of them. He was released as part of the third series in 1984, exclusively with the Chameleon Swamp Skier. Zartan was a toy that could do so much and look so good doing it that every kid wanted him. He could change color (with heat sensitive stickers that were included and came in two different variations) and put on a mask to disguise himself from the G.I. Joe Team to cause chaos among their ranks. Then place him on his Swamp Skier for a quick getaway and call in his Dreadnaughts to start more trouble. Simply put, this toy was only limited to your imagination.


2.) STORM SHADOW (1984)



There are very few figures in any toy line ever created that can truly take the place of Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe. He was first released as part of the third series in 1984, and no child was ever the same when they saw him or heard of his legend from other kids. If you can think back to 1984, when this figure first appeared on the scene ninja's were the shit (and I mean "shit" in a good way)! And Storm Shadow was the shittiest of the shits! This toy simply revolutionized and modernized how every kid views ninjas. Period. He was the figure that you always dug for on the racks and prayed he was there (most likely he was already sold off). In school, if any kid was lucky enough to have him and bring him into "show and tell" that kid was instantly the most popular kid in school. Never could a toy change the political climate of cliques in the hierarchy of power among American boys than the way Storm Shadow did. Even I had to succumb to this ninja's mighty elusiveness as a child as I was never able to get him and that trauma still haunts me even to this day. He was that awesome, that desirable and that powerful. Only one figure can claim to be greater than Storm Shadow and it's still debatable if it even is...


1.) SNAKE EYES (1985)



Everything I just said about Storm Shadow can be said about the second version of Snakes Eyes (third if you include the straight-arm Snake Eyes from 1982, and then swivel-arm Snakes Eyes from 1983) released in the fourth G.I. Joe series in 1985. It is widely considered that the G.I. Joe fourth series was the pinnacle of any G.I. Joe series Hasbro ever produced and it's mostly due to this legendary figure. Never in the history of toys can I remember an improvement from one version of a figure to the next that impacted the entire toy line so completely. The detail, the accessories, the package art, everything! Kid's all across America wanted this toy so badly that they were willing to do chores for a week wholeheartedly to get it. 

While both Storm Shadow and Snakes Eyes can be debated on until the end of time on which is better or a more desirable action figure, I had to rank Snake Eyes higher because this figure commands a little more money on the secondary market today (and because Snake Eyes was a tougher version of Storm Shadow and usually kicked his ass, as he was the only one that could). Not to mention that he was much more mysterious due to his fully covered black outfit and silent, brooding demeanor (Snakes Eyes never spoke). Storm Shadow always boasted about his superior skills and cried foul about playing second fiddle in the ninja ranks to Snake Eyes. I always thought that it was these facts that made Snake Eyes the cooler and better figure to play with as a kid. But regardless of who you think is the greatest G.I. Joe figure, this version of Snake Eyes will always rank at the top of any G.I. Joe collectors list and that is something everyone should know. And knowing is half the battle...


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

ROWDY RODDY PIPER (2007)



An honorable shout out has to go out to legendary wrestler and icon Roddy Piper who was immortalized as an exclusive G.I. Joe figure at a G.I. Joe Convention in 2007. I listed this figure because Piper makes a perfect COBRA combat trainer who can match-up with the likes of Sgt. Slaughter for a rivalry that can even rival "Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow." Plus, if I was a kid seeing this figure for the first time it would've impacted me much more than when I first saw Sgt. Slaughter. So here's to you "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (who passed away on July 31, 2015), the Hot Rod and a perfect representative of the COBRA Command!!!


FOOTLOOSE (1985)



Another honorable shout out goes to a childhood favorite -- Footloose! He was first released as part of the fourth and undoubtedly greatest line of the entire G.I. Joe series in 1985. While this figure may be a total surprise entry for a lot of the G.I. Joe purists out there, I think it's best to point out that it was the cartoon that got me to absolutely adore this character and want to purchase him. Footloose was fun-loving and always had a smile on his face regardless of how dire the situation would become. As I grew older it was clear to see that he was a total "pothead" and the cool "hippie-stoner" of the G.I. Joe Team. Believe it or not, this made him even more lovable in my eyes. In his bio it states; "he got lost on the way to the fair..." yeah, it's because he was high as a kite from smoking friggin' dope or dropping tabs of LSD all day long! How could you not love this guy?


Agree? Disagree?? Let's hear it fanboys!

Other Tales From the Toy Chest:

THE HULK ROLLER SKATES DEBACLE
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2011/11/hulk-roller-skates-debacle.html

THE STEALING OF THE SUPERHERO STAND-UPS
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2011/11/stealing-of-superhero-stand-ups.html 

MY TOP 15 GREATEST TOYS EVER
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-top-15-greatest-toys-ever.html

BATMAN COLORFORMS AND MY DAD
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2011/11/batman-colorforms-and-my-dad.html 

THE MANGLOR MESS UP
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-manglor-mess-up.html 

SUPER MARKET SKIRMISH: THE PDQ INCIDENT
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2014/05/super-market-skirmish-pdq-incident.html 

HULK OR HOLOCAUST
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2014/07/hulk-or-holocaust.html 

THE WRANGLING OF WRESTLEFEST
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-wrangling-of-wrestlefest.html 

MY TOP 10 GREATEST TOY LINES EVER



John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.

www.heroenvy.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

THE TOP 10 GREATEST CAPTAIN AMERICA MOMENTS


THE TOP 10 GREATEST 
CAPTAIN AMERICA MOMENTS


By
John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino

America should continually thank Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for creating a truly inspiring hero in December of 1940 when Captain America Comics #1 hit the newsstands from Timely Comics (which would later become Marvel). Here was this guy dressed up in the stars and stripes with a shield fighting for every man, woman and child so they would never have to live in the face of tyranny. When the world needed hope and someone to lead them from the dangerous reality of wartime America, the comic industry gave them Captain America!! And he immediately became the most prominent character in a wave of patriotically themed superheroes introduced in comics prior to and during WWII. With his sidekick Bucky, Cap faced off against the Nazis, Japanese and other dastardly villains that threatened the American way of life. Sure, Captain America wasn't the first inspirational patriotic hero (The Shield from MLJ or Archie Comics beat him out by fourteen months) but he was defiantly the most popular and enduring.

While Captain America can mean many things to people, the essence of the character was about this disabled kid who bought into the patriotism of his country. He read the propaganda and he bought into it all the way. So much that he agreed to be a guinea pig for an experiment that would allow him to "serve" his country. Becoming Captain America revealed to him the many lies within the propaganda. But that didn't stop him from loving his country and trying to live up to the values of what got him there, even if his own country didn't stand behind them. He wanted to represent his country with dignity and inspire others to a better way of life. It's about pride in your own country and being the best you can be and if your country doesn't agree, maybe YOU can be the start of something to transform it into that better place. Maybe you can be that inspiration. Because after all, Captain America is all about the common man rising above and walking the line to protect the freedom for all.

It's Caps inspiration to others that make him the most dangerous man in the Marvel Universe.

Captain America is so much more than just a mere comic book character. He also represents the iron will, dedication, and honor of the great founding fathers of America's past. He embodies the spirit and drive these great people in America's history had to make so life could be better for all. If I had to compare Cap to anyone who ever lived in reality it would have to be George Washington. If you don't have a clue about the background of the 1st president then read on and recognize the similarities these two icons have in common.

Good ol' George trekked through miles and miles of uncharted territory on horseback and foot with nothing but his balls, his blankets, his musket and other primitive 18th century means. In his mid-40's he left his wealthy wife and secure estate lifestyle and rode off on horseback into a presumably unwinnable Revolution where he threw himself time and time again directly into the line of fire and afforded himself no special privileges. He practiced what he preached and he fell to his knees and prayed for the courage and discipline and restraint to not be so weak in his manliness to fail so again. He wrote eloquent letters, authored his own speeches, and scribbled down his own moral guide consisting of 101 Rules of Civility (at the age of 16), all of them using a bottle of India ink and a bird's feather while under the light of a lantern or a fireplace fire. He refused to be a King when he could have been, causing even King George III to remark, "If true, then he is the greatest man in the world." His name and his life made it all possible. He had one dream to live by to FREE ALL Of MANKIND from ANY kind of tyranny, then and forever. 

They sound pretty similar, right? But one thing's for sure, while George Washington reluctantly took the mantel as America's President, Cap had the offer but declined (in super-heroic fashion I might add).

Awww yeah baby, Captain America is always loyal to the dream.


Okay, enough with the history lessons. I'm sure we all know why Captain America is so awesome. But how about that awesomeness within the comic book stories themselves? In this write up, I have arranged 10 of the best Captain America moments in comic book history. These are the moments that have best exemplified what makes the character truly inspiring, not only to his peers but also his enemies as well. And to be honest, Cap has been around for such a long, long time that there are literally hundreds of moments to choose from. But the ones that I've listed here, I believe, best capture the inherent spirit, attitude, and greatness of the man, the myth and the legend of what Captain America is all about. Maybe you'll agree, maybe you won't, but each moment listed here is a testament of why Captain America is one of comicdom's greatest champions and my hero...


10.) THE AVENGERS #59 and 61 (2002)
"...a gift of gratitude."






The first great Captain America moment on this list is a two-parter. We all know the majestically proud and powerful Prince Namor, right? He's the undisputed ruler and lord of the seven-seas. So Namor is use to being in charge of large armies and loyal patrons who wait on his every whim. While he's not the most likeable Avenger due to his short-fuse, enormous ego and willingness not to listen to those he considers beneath him (he's ruler of 71% of the planet and has always had problems with the surface-folk, so that's a lot of people). He does however, respect and admire one other living being possibly more so than himself. And that person is non other than Captain America. Cap has lead Namor in the Invaders during WWII and with the Avengers during the present and the Sea-Prince has never questioned his authority...ever. So when it came time for this particular Avengers meeting and Namor was being his typical "charming" self, he cracked the sacred Avengers table due to his temper and stood at the head of the table due to his ego. That is, until Captain America walked into the room. At that moment, Namor sees the error of his ways and steps aside as Cap takes to the head of the table without saying a word when Namor says, "Excuse me, Captain." The rest of the Avengers smirk as the pompous Namor is quickly put in his place. If that wasn't enough, a few issues later Namor replaces the table with another from the finest craftsmanship his undersea kingdom has to offer. Namor called it "a gift of gratitude." But we all know it was his way of saying sorry and showing Captain America the proper respect he deserves.


9.) THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #4 (1996)
"As long as one man stands..."





Captain America is a man without any fear, despite the obstacles set in front of him. The showdown with Thanos in The Infinity Gauntlet has to rank as one of his all time bravest moments. But this moment requires a little background to fully appreciate it. The story centers on Thanos who attempts to impress the Marvel Universe’s female personification of Death. That’s right, he literally wants Death to love him. So he achieves this by gaining the Infinity Gauntlet and the six Infinity Gems which combined give him the powers of God. Not a god. THE GOD. He first tries to gain Death’s affection by literally killing half of all sentient life in the entire universe by snapping his fingers. Of course, the heroes of the Marvel Universe don’t take this standing down. They oppose Thanos and fight him…and promptly get destroyed. When all hope seems lost, when all of the heroes seem defeated, Captain America is among the last standing, still alive and fighting on. What does he do? He walks straight up to Thanos’ face and talks smack. He says that as long as there is one person alive who opposes him, then Thanos will never win. He then starts to fight him with nothing but his shield. THAT takes testicular fortitude. Of course, Thanos quickly defeats him. Cap even gets his trademark shield shattered in the progress. But this act of defiance in the face of certain death is just the kind of thing that Captain America does on a daily basis.


8.) THE AVENGERS #63 (2003)
"Stand. Your. Ground."









Setting the scene: 2003 (our time). In the Eastern European nation of Slokovia, a movement of people worshiping Thor and Asgard has taken hold among the populace. The ruling junta doesn't like this, and targets the Thor followers for genocide. They pray to Thor for help, and he brings down the host of Asgard. To counter, the junta buys a lot of advanced weaponry from Dr. Doom and the surrounding countries are getting nervous, as are the US and Russia. Doom is using his ability to remotely control the weapons to ratchet up the situation. The Pentagon sends Iron Man in to intercede with Thor, but America has troops massed at the border in case that fails. Russia has bombers in the air, with orders to blow up everybody if the US gets involved. World War III is imminent, as Doom chuckles. And it's all up to Cap to prevent it. This is yet another fantastic example of Cap's authority. Here we see Cap trying to keep the American military from escalating a tense situation with the Russians as he commands the US soldiers to stand their ground despite orders from the President himself. So who do you think the US soldiers are going to listen too? Who would YOU listen too? Yeah, you and me both.


7.) CAPTAIN AMERICA #332 (1987)
"Cap leaves"



Captain America's belief in doing what’s right has put him at odds with the American government several times. In this issue, Cap is approached by the shadowy Commission, an organization within the US government. They want to make Cap an official part of the US government, effectively making him their puppet. This comes right after the discovery that one of the highest ranking members of the government was the leader of the terrorist organization known as the Secret Empire. Realizing that this violates everything that he stands for, Steve Rogers turns in his uniform and shield and retires as Captain America. He would go on to become the Captain while others would try to take his place as Captain America (failing miserably). Of course, Steve Rogers would later take the shield and cowl back. But his point was heard: Captain America represents the American people and their freedoms, not the government. It was a moment that demonstrated the height of Cap’s integrity and proved that he was anything but a political puppet of the American government.


6.) CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 (2007)
"Cap's last words" 



Although the death of Captain America was nothing more than a marketing ploy, nobody can deny the sweet tragedy of Cap’s death written by Ed Brubaker. It was shocking to find Cap dying not on a battlefield, but on the courthouse steps where he was doing his civic duty. And what really drove the whole story was the scene of Cap’s last words: “ Sharon…the crowd…get them to…safety…no more…innocents…hurt…” Even in death Cap wasn’t concerned with catching his killer, he wasn’t even concerned about his own welfare. He was concerned with the crowd, the crowd that was shouting and insulting him the entire time he was going up the courthouse steps (due to the entire Civil War event). He was concerned about the people who had turned on him and demonized him. This, if anything, proves Cap’s true colors. He is an upstanding true hero. He is a defender of the weak. He is…Captain America.


5.) CAPTAIN AMERICA #454 (1996)
"We ALL remember."  










Okay, this issue has so many great Captain America moments that I had to put every page of it on here. With this being the LAST issue of Mark Waid's awesome run, that went all out in showcasing Cap's greatness. Cap goes after Sharon Carter and finds out what her game is. She’s trying to use a device to draw an Asian warlord out of hiding so she can assassinate him. She figures that with him dead, the government he formed would collapse, and eventually resistance fighters will build up to the point where they can rescue all the people stuck in a prison camp (a prison camp that Carter herself spent some time in in the past). When Cap sees the prison camp, well, he has a different take on the situation and shows her a better way. I guess you should just read the pages above for yourself and cry like I do every time.


4.) CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
"America shall gain the strength and will to safeguard our shores."




How could this list be complete without Captain America's amazing origin? Simple, it can't. Captain America Comics #1 was the very first appearance of Captain America…and what an appearance it was. Its cover, drawn by the legendary artist Jack Kirby, remains one of the most striking moments in early comic history: Captain America literally punching Hitler. Considering that this comic was released nine months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the official entry of America into World War II, it was an incredible reflection of American sentiment. And the story itself showed the world that there was a new hero in town and he simply fought for you and the American way of life.


3.) CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 (1999)
"But you will never take my strength."




Captain America’s arch-nemesis Red Skull had managed to capture a Cosmic Cube and used it to literally reshape the world to his image. Trapped in Red Skull’s hellish vision of America, Captain America fought back valiantly. But then, Red Skull literally drained Cap of his super-soldier serum, robbing him of his enhanced strength and abilities. Confident of his victory, Red Skull was shocked to find that Captain America still wasn’t going to go down without a fight. With his trademark costume sagging around him, he yelled out that he may not have his muscles, but he will never lose his strength. This was easily one of my greatest Captain America moments ever and (of course) moved me to tears. Cap then gives the Red Skull the ass-kicking of his career. It’s one of the most triumphant Captain America comics of all time, proving that Cap is more than just another character with enhanced abilities…deep down, he is a man who refuses to give up, to surrender, to retreat in the face of evil. This powerful scene proves that you don’t need powers to be a true hero. It gives hope that deep down inside, we all have the ability and courage to become superheroes. Thank you Captain.


2.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #537 (2007)
"No, YOU move."          




It seems like Captain America is at his best when he is giving long, patriotic and inspiring speeches that we can't help but rally behind. It's impossible to deny his ability to cause goosebumps and tears in us by merely talking. There are many famous speeches in Cap’s history, many of which have even made it onto this list. But perhaps no single speech has so powerfully and chillingly captured the true spirit of Captain America as his speech in this issue written by J. Michael Straczynski. It wasn’t about governments. It wasn’t about laws. It’s was about doing what you believe is right. Yes my friends, this is the stuff of legends. Remarkably, Cap’s only in this issue for a few panels, but the man steals the entire show. There really isn’t even much more I can say about it. Just read it in the panel above and discover it yourself. Then stand up and salute the old red, white and blue like you never have before.


1.) DAREDEVIL #233 (1985)
"I'm loyal to nothing, General -- except the Dream."

While all the other moments on this list are truly incredible. This Captain America moment is without equal in my eyes. Captain America may be loyal to his country, but his ultimate loyalty is held for its people and the high ideas that it was founded on. In fact, this dogged loyalty to the higher ideals of what America stands for has frequently put him at odds with the government that he was sworn to protect. In this issue written by Frank Miller, Daredevil and Captain America square off against Nuke, a mentally unstable reject from a program meant to replicate Cap’s super soldier serum. The government claims that he is a terrorist, but Cap discovers the truth about him. Appalled that the government would not only use, but employ, such an insane and violent psychopath, Cap confronts the general in charge of the program. The general has the gall to question Cap about his loyalty to the United States and the government. Cap’s answer is simple, “I’m loyal to nothing, General -- except the dream.” The entire scene is quiet and subdued, but it's as powerful as any comic book, novel, movie, etc. could ever hope to get. It proves that Captain America is anything BUT a mindless pawn of the government. He has sworn to protect not the bureaucrats in office, but the liberties and freedoms that they are supposed to preserve. This phenomenal scene proves that you don’t need a fight, monologue, or splash page to capture the true spirit of a man…of a hero…of a patriot. This is not only Captain America's greatest moment, but his greatest story as well and nothing will ever change that. Go get 'em Cap!!


HONORABLE MENTION

THE ULTIMATES #12 (2003)
"You think this letter on my head stands for France?"
 



I had to throw this here due to the fact that it could've made my top 10 list, but since it is the "Ultimate" Captain America and not the original, it can't be listed. BUT that doesn't mean it still can't kick ass! Here, Nick Fury sees the alien leader, Kleiser beating Cap down and shoves his gun next to Kleiser's eye, shooting, and dropping him. Kleiser gets up, with a huge hole in his head, which heals, and begins to beat down on Fury. Having no challenge with Fury, Kleiser focuses again on Cap, telling him he should surrender because he can't win. This enrages Cap as he head-butts Kleiser down and stabs his shield into Kleiser's body screaming: (read the panels above because my type won't do it justice). Then Cap takes Fury to safety who then contacts a soldier in a helicopter to traumatize Bruce Banner (who is also on the chopper) so he can change into the Hulk and thoroughly kill Kleiser. While this version of Captain America was a lot more brutal and messy than the real deal Captain America, he was no less as inspirational. 
 



Agree? Disagree? Let's get it on solider!


Check out other Hero Envy "Top" Lists:

Top 10 Most Evil Villains in Comics

Top 10 Superhero Capes of All Time

Top 50 Greatest Marvel Slugfests of All Time (1961-1999)
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2011/05/marvels-top-50-greatest-slugfests-of.html

The Top 20 Greatest Stretch Figures of All Time
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-top-20-stretch-figures-of-all-time.html 

The Top 5 Greatest Feats of Strength of The Incredible Hulk
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-top-5-greatest-feats-of-strength-of.html



John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.

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