Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today in 365 Days of Comics Defiance History, Day 228: You Say You Want a Revolution

Cover of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #7 (March 1999), pencils by Ron Frenz

Wha...? you might say in astounded, be-baffled disbelief. I'm with ya on that front! Captain America in 1781? Is this a dream, an imaginary story, or a hoax? Is it a what-if or an elseworlds or an infinities or a deviation? It is a Red Skull-changed alternate reality? Is it a comic book? (It's a comic book.) Here's the story of a lovely lady of the Steve Rogers of 1776, complete with timely mullet. He's always copying nineties-era Superman! While discussing politics and quaffing ale out of golden tankards at his local replica Revolutionary War-era Charles Cheese Inn, Steve's alerted by 1776 Foggy Nelson (or maybe it's just ponytailed Bucky Barnes) that the Declaration of Independence has been signed! Huzzah! Three day holiday weekend, woo!

Panels from Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #6 and #7 (February-March 1999), script by Roger Stern, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Roger Langridge, colors by Tom Smith, letters by John Costanza

Steve leaves his potentially lucrative career drawing Spyder-Manne cartoons for Ye Olde Marvelle Comicks to join the Continental Army and hey wait, has he skipped a step? What happened to getting some Super-Soldier formula and some rich, delicious Vita-Rays? Well, since they didn't exist then, and Steve already has the hardy ripped brawny body of a superhero with a really huge belt buckle, I can only guess that his Super-Serum is actually 1770s beer.

Then...KOREA! I mean, VALLEY FORGE! Hey, how come there's never been a Revolutionary War-themed group of superheroes named Valley Force? Get right on that, Mike W. Barr.

Meanwhile, six years later, on today's very date, proto-Steve actually becomes Captain Young America! He's got a mighty shield and when he hits you with it, you'll see thirteen stars!

And when Captain America throws his mighty shield, all those who are British spies must yield! Take that, Young James Bond!

236 years ago today at either dawn or when the Earth's sun is exploding, Cap faces off in a deadly duel with pistols against his arch enemy William Taurey. Get it? Get it? Still, it's better than if they'd called him Led Lurks or somethin'.

I will now digress both backwards and forwards in time here to point out that I riff on William Taurey's name with complete affection, as he is created by comic king Jack Kirby. (You can even sort of see Taurey's Kirbyness in Ron Frenz's depiction of him.) Here's the original groundwork on which Roger Stern expanded, in the classic Kirby Madbomb story of 1976:

Panels from Captain America (1968 series) #194 (February 1976), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Frank Giacoia (and Mike Esposito?), colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Gaspar Saladino

So yes, it's all not merely canon, it is more sincerely Kirby-canon! But patriot Steven Rogers killed Taurey in cold blood back during the duel? How could this be? With a sense of dread let's go back to the 1781 duel! Now, I was poisonally hoping Cap would pull out a series of progressively larger guns than Taurey, but as that particular Bugs Bunny cartoon would not be created for another 167 years, he plays it honestly and by the rules. Geez, Steve, you'll never get ahead in America that way.

As for how Taurey died at the hands of Patriot Cap...well, Taurey's history left out one little thing:

What? It was all just a diary entry!

And yes, Kirby lay the foundation for that, too!

Panels from Captain America (1968 series) #200 (August 1976), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Frank Giacoia, colors by Don Warfield, letters by John Costanza

Well, I'm sure it's fine. And now that Cap's been unfrozen in the twenty-first century, he can just look his ancestry up on one of those websites and find out that he's related to...what, he's related to Nazis now? That can't be right! Yelling and shaking my hoof angrily: RED SKULLLLLLLLLL!!!


Dave said...

Unnamed under-five extra talking to Steve in the first panel! Congress doesn't "sit and dither;" it's "piddle, twiddle, and resolve / Not one problem do we solve."

Andrew Leal said...

In foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy! Philadelphia. (Replying a month late, but!)

Also, Heshin, Taurey... They're just missing out on a Professor Loyaliszt.