The 1940s Captain America

Part 2: Post-War

Society has often wrestled with the problem of what to do with those who have been trained to fight and kill for their country after the war is over. Naturally, it's a bigger problem when you're dealing with a super-soldier, especially when your company has a lot invested in the concept.  Thus Timely Comics had to figure out what to do with Captain America without war fervor and PXs to fuel sales.  Sadly, they made him yet another crime-buster.

Comic Source
Name and Image
Captain America Comics 52
Captain America Comics #52 (January 1946): "The Case of the Telepathic Typewriter"

The collective hysteria over a monster, Am, from a popular radio serial has brought Am into physical existence, and the writer, Slake, discovers he can control Am through his typewriter. Am realizes this and steals the typewriter.
Captain America Comics #52 (January 1946): "Beauty and the Beast"

Now his own master, Am wants no longer to be feared. To please a female reporter who has found him, Am hunts down wanted criminal Jigger.  But Jigger convinces Am that the reporter would like him more if he brought her money, jewels, and furs. While Jigger and Am fight over the loot, Cap (oh, yeah, him) has the reporter to use the typewriter to write "Am dies," and he does.
Captain America Comics #52 (January 1946): "The Hermit's Heritage!!"

Hugo PergodyLefty
25 years ago, sculptor Hugo Pergody became a hermit when critics laughed at his statues. Today, three hoboes, having met Pergody, discover the statues he left behind are worth a fortune. Lefty overhears and follows the hoboes back to Pergody. Cap overhears and follows Lefty.  After a fight, Pergody decides to return and use the money to build a homeless shelter.
Captain America Comics 53
Captain America Comics #53 (February 1946): "The Robe of Evil"

The Robe, Master of EvilHammer Riley
Snatch, a cheap crook, steals a suitcase and finds a shabby robe.  But when he puts it on, his entire demeanor changes, he becomes immune to harm, and he is able to commit daring robberies as The Robe. The Robe kills Hammer Riley, his former gangboss, and starts to assemble a criminal army. Meanwhile, Cap learns Snatch has found the legendary Robe of Evil, originally worn by Satan during his rebellion and later used by conquerors and killers through history, and Cap thinks he's also found the secret of its former owners' defeats.  After The Robe issues an ultimatum to the country, Cap allows himself to be captured and brought to The Robe. At first fighting ineffectually, Cap delivers a single blow to The Robe, who, never having been hit before, finds his power broken.  He tries to escape out a window, but Cap grabs the Robe of Evil, and it is only Snatch who falls to his death. Cap reveals that the Robe's flashing colors seemed to be the source of its power, so he kept his eyes closed while fighting until he luckily hit The Robe.

This was actually a two-part story but had the same title in both parts, so I gave it one entry. And it was not a bad story. There's a clumsy moment in Part 1, where a costumer says "This is a replica of the famous Robe of Evil. Let me tell you the legend." The next panel starts "After hearing the legend of the robe..."  What?  After that build-up, we don't get the payoff? But it turns out to be a timing decision, as Part 2 opens with the delayed legend. And it was apparently the real Robe, and there was no "Snatch had his confidence increased by what he thought was the Robe of Evil" cop-out, which I had feared would happen.

Captain America Comics #53 (February 1946): "Murder Etched in Stone!"

Ivor the Sculptor
Miss Drew pleads with Cap to get Ivor the Sculptor to stop working on a statue of her father lest her father die when it's finished.  Inspector Grady remembers Ivor from two similar cases, both former city councilmen (like Mr. Drew), both dying immediately after Ivor finished a sculpture of them. But Ivor pleads helplessness: he must do what the Voodoo god Os-So-Me-Lim drives him to do, and none of it is criminal -- unless you admit the power of Voodoo.
Captain America Comics 54
Captain America Comics #54 (March 1946): "The Big Guy"

The Big Guy
After encountering thugs ordering oversized furniture for someone called "The Big Guy" ("Bucky, do you realize a man would have to be at least fifteen feet tall to be comfortable in a chair that size?"), Cap plays a hunch and kisses the biggest showgirl in town.  Indeed, she is The Big Guy's girlfriend, and Cap is summoned before him.  The Big Guy turns out to be a physically small guy, but none the less dangerous: a giant stone fist catapult knocks Cap through a door.  After thwarting a robbery at an atom-smasher, Cap forces The Big Guy and his girlfriend to flee town, but The Big Guy swears to return.

Too bad he never does.
Captain America Comics #54 (March 1946): "Scarface and the Script of Death"

Cap and Bucky try to prevent a murder, only to learn it's a scene from a new horror movie. But when two of the actors really die, they must learn the secret of Scarface.
Captain America Comics #54 (March 1946): "Murder Mountain!"

Dr. Weerd
The U.S. Army wants to build an air base (in these pre-Air Force days) on a Pacific island, but there are reports that the volcano Oku Sama has become active again. Cap comes to investigate and finds himself facing the hirelings of Dr. Weerd at every step. Governor Hawes suggests he speak to geologist George Harris, but someone shoots at Harris.  During his investigation, it looks like Harris is Dr. Weerd, but Cap eventually learns that Harris and Hawes (the real Weerd) conspired to make Oku Sama appear active because they had discovered silver in the course of surveying for the air base.

Young Allies Comics #19 (Spring 1946): "Death Solves a Puzzle"

The Masked Man

Young Allies Comics #19 (Spring 1946): "The Mad Man of Horror Mountain"

Dr. ReidClub Larson

Young Allies Comics #19 (Spring 1946): "The Ghost Walks Softly"

Kid Komics
#10 (Spring 1945-1946): "Wonder Wheel of Crime"

Herbert Jenks

Captain America Comics 55
Captain America Comics #55 (April 1946): "The Hands of Sensitivo"

Sensitivo was born with abnormally large hands whose sensitive fingers could detect subtle vibrations, such as picking up conversations through a wall. He commits a series of robberies and proves so difficult a foe to catch that Cap sets a trap with the aid of artist Anders, who collects hands. They beat Sensitivo when they learn he has a rare condition which prevents his hands from determining what an object is in the dark.

Sensitivo is an interesting villain, and this would have been a pretty good story if the writer hadn't gone overboard with the "hand" puns and references: hand grenades, manicurists, fingermen, all tossed in.
Captain America Comics #55 (April 1946): "Just What the Doctor Ordered"

serum thieves
Cap and Bucky are after a ring of thieves who've been stealing a desperately needed serum. The thieves hire runaway Patsy Perkins to deliver one package of serum to their hideout, but she meets Cap and stirs his suspicions. After helping Cap beat the thieves, she decides to return home and keep out of any more trouble.
Captain America Comics #55 (April 1946): "The Merry Widow Murders"

Myron Delasco
After filming on The Merry Widow Murderer concludes, actor Delasco gets amnesia and can only remember (from his part in the movie) that he hates women. He goes on a killing spree which ends only when Cap realizes the connection to the movie and tells Delasco "It's a wrap!" Confused, Delasco falls to his death.
Captain America Comics 56
Captain America Comics #56 (May 1946): "The Casbah Killer!"

Mike Reilly
Sent to Algiers to find relief-supply hijackers, Cap meets Miguel Lopez-Iruli, who has Americanized his name and takes it upon himself to show Cap around. But Cap quickly learns no one in Algiers is to be trusted, and "Mike Reilly" turns out to be the head of the hijackers.
Captain America Comics #56 (May 1946): "A Name for an Old Doll!"

Old Newsstand Nelly takes in boxer Rocky Norton as a border because he's like the son she never had. Rocky is threatened by gamblers who mistake the relationship: throw the fight, or your mom gets shot. Rocky doesn't throw the fight, Nelly is shot but survives, and Cap is on hand to capture the gamblers. And Rocky formally adopts Nelly as his mother.
Captain America Comics #56 (May 1946): "Murder on the Campus!"

Absent-minded Prof. Squiggins stumbles across counterfeiters threatening his college's football coach to help them pass their phonies. After some mishaps, he leads Cap to the counterfeiters, and the coach is saved.
All-Select Comics #10 (Summer 1946): "Crime Takes a Cruise"

Tiny TimkinHarriet Hawkins
All-Winners Comics #18 (Summer 1946): "The Silk Stocking Strangler"

The Silk Stocking Strangler
Captain America Comics 57
Captain America Comics #57 (July 1946): "Death on the Downbeat"

The CroonerDoc
A famous crooner is identified as a thief and killer, but he's always been on stage when the crimes are committed. Cap and Bucky follow the crooner and learn his doctor always brings a bass fiddle on tour, even though he's never seen to play it.  Inside the fiddle case is the real thief, who had his features changed to resemble the crooner.

It's not the most logical of crime schemes, and the writer didn't even bother to give any of the main characters names.
Captain America Comics #57 (July 1946): "The Monkeys' Curse"

Bill Summers
Watching Cap and Bucky break up a robbery, Bill Summers finds part of the loot: a variation on the Three Wise Monkeys statue which claims he must commit three crimes to rid himself of the statue's curse. He is stopped by Cap during his second crime and shown the statue is a mere novelty.
Captain America Comics #57 (July 1946): "Beware the Medicine Man!"

Doc Spiel
Jig Baker
Doc Spiel and his son Tommy are patent medicine conmen. Arrested in a small town, Doc will be sent to jail unless he gets a job. Mr. Lamont hires him as a watchman in his aluminum plant, but Jig Baker threatens Tommy unless Doc lets Jig into the plant. And no speaking to Cap and Bucky (in town for charity). Doc sends Cap a coded message, Cap stops the robbery, and Doc becomes the top salesman of Lamont's aluminum ware.
Captain America Comics 58
Captain America Comics #58 (September 1946): "Crime on Cue"

The Statue of Death
Captain America Comics #58 (September 1946): "The Sportsman of Crime"

The Sportsman

Captain America Comics #58 (September 1946): "The House of Hate"

The House of Hate

All-Winners Comics #19 (Fall 1946): "The Crime of the Ages"

Just imagine! The mightiest heroes of Timely have banded together as The All-Winners Squad.  A museum robbery leads them on the trail of a mystery criminal called Isbisa, and each member of the Squad fights a different petty criminal before coming together at the end to stop Isbisa himself. Since this is a Captain America site, I'm only including Isbisa and Cap's antagonist.
Young Allies Comics #20 (October 1946): "Dreams For Sale"

Jonas MorehedMayhem Monk

Young Allies Comics #20 (October 1946): "Pie-Eyed Plunder"

Young Allies Comics #20 (October 1946): "The Crown of Quetzacoatl"

Captain America Comics 59
Captain America Comics #59 (November 1946): "The Private Life of Captain America"

"Tiger Sweet"
Captain America's origin is retold, as part of a story that covers what Steve Rogers can do for America, now that the war is over.  He goes back to his "old job" of history teacher and learns one of his students is an unwitting accomplice in a burglary racket: he delivers perfume in gimmicked bottles which burst into flame at night, allowing crooks to rob the home disguised as firemen. "Tiger Sweet" is the odd name of the perfume, but I've given it to the otherwise unnamed gang leader.
Captain America Comics #59 (November 1946): "Pennies from Heaven"

Robin Hood
Captain America Comics #59 (November 1946): "House of Hallucinations"

The Great Amazo
All-Winners Comics #21 (Winter 1946): "Menace From the Future World"

Future ManMadame Death
Captain America Comics 60
Captain America Comics #60 (January 1947): "The Human Fly"

The Human Fly
Captain America Comics #60 (January 1947): "The Last Case of Inspector Leeds"

Rocky Rhoads
Broadway Lil Carter
Captain America Comics #60 (January 1947): "The Big Fight"

Captain America Comics 61
Captain America Comics #61 (March 1947): "The Red Skull Strikes Back"

The Red Skull

Captain America Comics #61 (March 1947): "The Bullfrog Terror"

The Bullfrog

Captain America Comics #61 (March 1947): "Death Enters Laughing"

Laughing Boy

Sub-Mariner Comics #22 (Spring 1947): "The Clown Who Killed for a Laugh"

Captain America Comics 62
Captain America Comics #62 (May 1947): "The Kingdom of Terror"

The Black BaronQueenie

Captain America Comics #62 (May 1947): "The Dance of Death"


Captain America Comics #62 (May 1947): "Melody of Horror"

The Mad Musician

Captain America Comics 63
Captain America Comics #63 (July 1947): "Tenpins of Terror"

Rip Van Winkle

Captain America Comics #63 (July 1947): "The Parrot Strikes"

The Parrot

Captain America Comics #64 (October 1947): "Sparkles Strikes Back"


Captain America Comics 64
Captain America Comics #64 (October 1947): "Diamonds Spell Doom"

King Leer
I've chosen to put the cover with the second story from this issue because it's the cover story.
Captain America Comics #64 (October 1947): "Terror at the Fair"

The Acrobat

Captain America Comics 65
Captain America Comics #65 (January 1948): "When Friends Turn Foes"

The Chief

Captain America Comics #65 (January 1948): "Meet the Matador"

The Matador

Captain America Comics #65 (January 1948): "The Menace of Mirth"

The Jester (II)

Captain America Comics 66
Captain America Comics #66 (April 1948): "Golden Girl"

Golden Girl Lavender
Captain America Comics #66 (April 1948): "Swords of the Cavaliers"

Captain America Comics 67
Captain America Comics #67 (July 1948): "Secret Behind the Mirror"

Mr. Zrr
Captain America Comics #67 (July 1948): "The Singer Who Wanted to Fight"

Killer Casey
Captain America Comics 68
Captain America Comics #68 (September 1948): "The Enigma of the Death Doll"

Captain America Comics #68 (September 1948): "A Case of Conscience"

Little Johnny
Captain America Comics #68 (September 1948): "The Case of Joey Arnold"

Joey Arnold
Captain America Comics 69
Captain America Comics #69 (November 1948): "The Weird Tales of the Wee Males!"

Prime Minister Grinko
Captain America Comics #69 (November 1948): "No Man Is an Island!"

John Barton
A storm causes Cap's boat to put in for the night on a small island, where he must share quarters with a sullen hermit who lives there.  But Cap's presence causes John Barton to recall the criminal missteps which led him to exile himself from humanity, and he flees into the storm.  Cap finds him dead the next morning.
Captain America Comics 70
Captain America Comics #70 (January 1949): "Worlds at War"

Captain America Comics #70 (January 1949): "The Man Who Knew Everything"

Oliver Oliphant
Captain America Comics 71
Captain America Comics #71 (March 1949): "Trapped by the Trickster"

The Trickster

Captain America Comics #71 (March 1949): "Terror is Blind"

The Human Torch #35 (March 1949): "The Outer World of Doom"

Tahn the Conqueror

Captain America Comics 72
Captain America Comics #72 (May 1949): "Murder in the Mind"

John Dolan
Captain America Comics #72 (May 1949): "Tricks of the Trickster"

The Trickster
Captain America Comics 73
Captain America Comics #73 (July 1949): "The Outcast of Time"

Wolf Turber

Captain America Comics #73 (July 1949): "The Mystery of the Deadly Dreams"

The Dream Master

Captain America Comics 74
Captain America Comics #74 (October 1949): "The Red Skull Strikes Again"

The Red SkullMaster JudgeCharon
"From hell's heart I stab at thee...!"  Being dead doesn't stop the Red Skull. He contrives to bring Cap into the afterlife, to share with him the unending torments of hell.

And perhaps he has some effect after all, as this is the last 1940s Cap story. As the cover title change indicates, the rest of the book contains "weird tales", those grotesque, never satisfying horror stories so common to comics.

Captain America Comics 75
Captain America Comics #75 (February 1950)

Poor Captain America. All that's left of him is his name on the cover.  Super-heroes are passe, and horror comics are now all the rage.

And that's it.  For now, at least.
Tales of Suspense #82 (October 1966): "The Maddening Mystery of the Inconceivable Adaptoid!"

[actually first appeared in Boy Commandos #1 (Winter 1942-43): "Satan Wears a Swastika"]

Agent Axis
Agent Axis
The Adaptoid, a shape-changing android, imitates a number of Cap's old foes, including "Agent Axis!  The scourge of World War Two!"

Unfortunately, the story's artist, Jack Kirby, forgot (I assume) that it was his Boy Commandos, for rival DC, who had actually fought Agent Axis in the '40s.  It's definitely supposed to be the same Agent Axis, as a clubfoot, which plays a prominent role in the original story, is clearly shown.

It took Roy Thomas, in the Invaders comics of the 1970s, to come up with the story of the Marvel version of Agent Axis, a bizarre three-bodies-in-one fusion of Axis spies.