Steve Rogers was the first Captain America, but he wasn't always the Captain America of the 20th Century. There was a man who took up the spirit of Cap
, and another patriot who wore Captain America's suit...
...and then there was the Captain America of the 1950s book published by Atlas Comics (a precursor to Marvel Comics), at a time when monsters
ruled the comics!
"The Real Captain America"
Though Captain America appeared in comics in the 1950s when there was a slight revival of super-heroes, Steve Rogers was at this time frozen in ice, awaiting to be found by the Sub-Mariner and the Avengers.
In comes William Burnside, a devoted Captain America fan, had surgery to look like Steve Rogers (and even legally adopted his name). Burnside recruited Jack Monroe to be his Bucky, and the treated the two to a version of the super-soldier serum...and they fought the red menace of Communism...at least until the two went crazy and were locked away by the U.S. government for a time.
and Sal Buscema
introduced the readers (and the Falcon, Captain America's partner at the time) to the 1950s Captain America with Captain America #153
(September, 1972), wherein Falcon faced a Captain America and Bucky who were looking for the real America (that being the recently escaped Burnside and Monroe). Over the course of Captain America #154-156
, Burnside captures Falcon to get info on Captain America, Falcon escapes and goes to the Avengers, Burnside faces the real Captain America and explains his origins (in Captain America #155
), and the real Captain America defeats Burnside in the end.
Captain America Returns
Burnside returns as a pawn of other villains under a different identity in Captain America #231-236
Burnside then returned again proclaiming himself the real Captain America in Captain America #36-49, #600-605
(2008-2010), when the original Bucky served as Captain America for a time.
Jack Monroe was cured of his problems and took up the identity of Nomad (an identity Cap himself took on when he gave up being Captain America for a time) starting with Captain America #282
(June, 1983, by J.M. DeMatteis
and Mike Zeck
This Nomad even ended up with a four issue mini-series and a twenty five run in his own title for a time in the 1990s...
Captain America History
Here are the Atlas issues where Burnside and Monroe were Captain America and Bucky (though they are referred to as Steve Rogers and James Barnes in the issues), and the two face the various Communist menaces of the day (such as the Man with No Face and Electro, as well as his own version of the Red Skull, a fellow by the name of Albert Malik), though the original Human Torch monopolized the covers of the early stories.
Young Men #24-27
(December, 1953 thru April, 1954), Men's Adventures #27
Captain America Comics #76
(May, 1954), Young Men #28
(June, 1954), Men's Adventures #28
(July, 1954), Captain America Comics #77
(July, 1954), ending his reign of terror in Captain America Comics #78
All this covers Captain America until he's found by the Avengers in Avengers #4
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