Comics

Captain America’s Creators

Yesterday fans saw the release of Marvel Comics’ Captain America: The End by writer/artist Erik Larsen and colorist Dono Sanches-Almara. At the conclusion of the issue readers found a credits page that read “Captain America Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.” Hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Captain America was created by comicbook legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in Captain America Comics #1 way back in 1941.

Although Stan Lee co-created a cavalcade of characters in the Marvel Universe along with other Marvel architects Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Bill Everett, Gene Colan, Wally Wood and many, many others, he was actually not involved in the creation of Steve Rogers the star-spangled Avenger.

Stan’s attribution to Cap’s creation is a common misconception, especially since Stan’s first published writing work was in Captain America Comics #3 in a text filler story. In the prose tale titled “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” Stan introduced the concept of Cap throwing his shield and having the physics-defying frisbee return back to him.

A few decades later, Stan and Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby teamed-up to revive Steve Rogers in the modern era as a man out of time and a member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers #4.

The credit error in Captain America: The End appears to be a simple but regrettable mistake. Writer/artist Larsen commented on the error on Twitter, saying: “Sigh. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America.” Marvel Editor Jordan D. White also commented, replying: “Yeah—it was an embarrassing mistake, but nothing we can do at this point but apologize.”

Captain America first appeared in 1941, the creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Timely Comics, a predecessor to Marvel Comics. The scrawny Steve Rogers turned musclebound patriot immediately struck a chord with readers who saw a powerful image of Cap punching Hitler on the cover of the first issue before the United States had even entered World War II. The patriotic super soldier was immensely popular during the war but was canceled in the 1950s due to a waning interest in superhero titles. Captain America was revived in 1964 and has been a Marvel Comics mainstay ever since, all thanks to the creative genius of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. ‘Nuff said.