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Captain America Comics

Comic Books

Publisher: Timely

About:

Introduction to Captain America

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there isn't a whole lot we don't know about Captain America. As with most adaptations, however, there are some incongruities and "dressing up" done for modern times. A brief synopsis of Captain America's recent comic series will make any comic fan appreciate Cap even more than they already do. Steve Rogers, at first, was a scrawny and sickly kid who couldn't enter the military due to his frailty. His resolve to fight in WWII is noticed by an Army General named Chester Phillips who brings him in on "Project: Rebirth." The project consists of an intensive training regimen followed up with powerful injections and exposure to a device known as the Vita-Ray. The result is the near-perfect human specimen soon to be named Captain America.

From there Steve Rogers helps the government design his Captain America persona and enters into WWII as a counter-intelligence agent against the Red Skull. During this time, he meets James Barnes, a teenager that learns of Cap's identity, and the two become best friends. While Red Skull remains Cap's arch-nemesis, it isn't the Nazi mascot that closes out Captain America's WWII run in the comics. Baron Zemo is the one who launches a missile toward America and its Captain America along with Bucky who attempt to defuse the weapon. The plan all along had been to kill the two heroes as Zemo detonates it, causing both Bucky and Cap to fall into the ocean where they're thought to be dead. Its decades before the Avengers locate Steve's frozen prison and free him in Avengers #4.

After joining the Avengers, he eventually comes to lead the team and works alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. in special covert missions. It's in S.H.I.E.L.D. that Steve reunites with Nick Fury, whom he fought alongside in WWII (see Sgt. Fury #13), and learns that Fury received a similar formula to Cap's. S.H.I.E.L.D. is where Steve meets his main love interest: Sharon Carter. The special agent and Cap have a number of missions together that lead to some of the amazing stories in Captain America's history. A few key events that happen in his main run is Steve realizes the American government isn't the same government he once fought for and following the Watergate-scandal he hangs up his costume. After spending time as Nomad "The Man without a Country" (Captain America #180), Steve returns and makes it clear that he does not stand behind the government, but behind the idea America once held. It's this moment that Steve Rogers develops as his own man and becomes the Captain that we all love today.

Notable details of the Captain America series are:

  • First appearance of Captain America and of Bucky in Captain America #1, 1941
  • First appearance of Sam Wilson (The Falcon) in Captain America #117 in 1969
  • Jack Monroe's first appearance as the 1950's Captain America in Captain America #153 in 1972
  • Steve Rogers abdicates his role as Captain America and becomes Nomad in Captain America #180, 1974

Brief History of Captain America Comics

The punch seen 'round the world! Nearly a full year before entering the war, Cap is seen punching Adolf Hitler on the cover of Captain America Comics #1.  There was nothing ''neutral' about Cap's intent.  Joe Simon and his young partner Jack Kirby were brought on to create some new 'mystery men' that had become so popular.  Without a tryout series of any type, Cap appeared with his own book. 

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby did the first 10 issues before leaving after a contract dispute.  The book continued to sell well throughout the war but saw flagging sales once there weren't any Nazis to pummel.  The original run wrapped up with the last two issues being horror comics in 1949.  Stan Lee's first work appears as a text story in Captain America Comics #3. Other notable artists featured in the run include Syd Shores, Alex Schomburg, Mike Sekowsky, Vince Alascia, Al Gabriele and Ken Bald.  Lest we forget, there were many issues with backup Human Torch stories featuring artists Jimmy Thompson and Carmine Infantino among others.

Characters from Captain America Comics #1

Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes both appear in the first story so the team is set right from the beginning.  The second story finds Sando and Omar making their villainous introduction and well as Betty (later Betsy) Ross. Rathcone is Cap's adversary in the 3rd story.  But the creme da la creme of Cap's villains appears in the last story, the Red Skull! But he dies in his first appearance; or does he?

Also appearing in two back-up stories are the Hurricane, making his debut and Tuk, Caveboy also making his debut.

Plot Summary of Captain America Comics #1

The names have changed a few times over the years but in the now familiar story, the head of the F.B.I, J. Arthur Grover and a few top military men rendezvous at a secret lab disguised as a curio shop.  Inside the experiment is about to start as professor Reinstein injects a scrawny volunteer by the name of Steve Rogers.  However, a Nazi spy who infiltrated the group, sees the success, shoots the professor and anyone else who gets in his way before Rogers can put an end to it.  Rogers immediately joins the army and is discovered changing identities by regiment mascot Bucky Barnes.  Oh well, want to be my crime-fighting partner?  It's that simple.

In the other three stories from the book, we meet Sando and Omar, a pair of Nazi spies; battle Rathcone and his Nazi saboteurs; and wrap up the book meeting Cap's deadliest foe, the Red Skull.

How much is Captain America Comics #1 worth?

According to the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, a 9.2 copy is valued at $500,000. Captain America Comics #1 is ranked 8th on Overstreet's Top 100 Golden Age Comics.

What is the most expensive Captain America Comics #1 sold at auction?

In 2019, the San Francisco copy of Captain America Comics #1 in CGC 9.4 sold for $915,000 at Heritage Auctions.

What Captain America Comics issues are expensive?

Cap gets a lot of respect when it comes to high prices.  Here are some other examples.

Captain America Comics #2 Value

The Billy Wright pedigree copy of Captain America Comics #2 in CGC 9.4 sold for $113,525 in 2012.  This issue is notable for Cap carrying the now familiar round shield after MLJ sent Goodman a cease & desist letter over copyright infringements of their patriotic hero, the Shield.

Captain America Comics #3 Value

The copy of Captain America Comics #3 in CGC 7.5 comes in at a cool $80,000 in 2018.  Featuring the return of the Red Skull, this issue is notable for housing Stan Lee's first work.

Captain America Comics #13 Value

Selling in 2019, the origin and 1st appearance of The Secret Stamp helped propel Captain America Comics #13 to a $50,400 price for a CGC 9.4 copy.

Captain America Comics #10 Value

Simon & Kirby's last effort in Captain America Comics #10 saw a CGC 9.4 copy sell for $48,000 in 2019.

Captain America Comics #46 Value

Not what I was expecting to when researching these high auction prices.  This middle of the run holocaust cover in a CGC 8.5 holder sold for $43,020 in 2017.

Captain America Comics #1 Cover Art

The cover art for Captain America Comics #1 is done by his creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. This art has never surfaced. However, a Joe Simon 1991 recreation of Captain America Comics #1 sold for $14,340 in 2009.

Other valuable Captain America art

Cover art from the 1968 Captain America #103 takes the top prize at $288,000 in a Heritage auction from 2019.  Co-creator Jack Kirby teamed with long-time Cap artist Syd Shores.  This same team created the cover to Captain America #109 and was sold for $264,000 in 2018.  Branching out slightly, we have the Kirby and Frank Giacoia Captain America cover to Tales of Suspense #84 from 1966 that sold for $167,300 at Heritage Auctions in 2014. And finally, our first non-Kirby cover is by Sal Buscema and his Captain America #137 cover selling for $96,000 in 2019.

How rare is Captain America Comics #1?

Fewer than 100 copies have been certified by CGC with a Universal label. Almost the same number have a restored or conserved label. So this would be a difficult book to put into any collection at best.

Why sell your vintage comics and original comic art with Heritage Auctions?

Our marketing reach and a huge base of members mean more bidders and higher realized prices for your collectible comics. Reputation can make or break your sale. Heritage Auctions has a 60% market share in comics and comic art — three times the volume of any other comic auctioneer, and our record-breaking comics and comic art auctions speak for themselves:

  • 2019 was a record year with $79 million-plus sold, topping $58 million in Comics and Comic Art sold in 2018; triple all other comic auctioneers combined! 
  • World's Most Valuable Auction of Comic Books, Comic Art and Related Memorabilia: $15.121 million (May, 2019) 
  • World record for comic artist Robert Crumb - Fritz the Cat Cover, $717,000.
  • The world record for comic artist Frank Frazetta - Egyptian Queen, $5.4M
  • World record for comic artist Neal Adams – Batman #251 Cover, $600,000

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