CAPTAIN AMERICA was a phenomenon when the series debuted in the very last days of 1940. It was by far the best-selling title that publisher Martin Goodman had in his Timely line of comics, and the character would go on to headline in other books as well–ALL WINNERS COMICS, ALL SELECT COMICS, USA COMICS and others.
However, by 1949, the bloom was off the rose. World War II had been over for four years at this point, leaving the Captain with no particular foe to battle. He carried on in peacetime, contending with the usual thugs and criminals of the era, and the occasional super-villain–but his reason for being was gone. Throughout the field, super heroes were falling by the wayside, being replaced by other now-more-popular fare.
And so, in its final two issues, CAPTAIN AMERICA transitioned into being a horror comic–not much of a stretch given that that’s the way Cap’s creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby viewed their approach to creating Cap stories. Cap didn’t even appear in the final issue despite having his name (small) on the cover, and he only appeared in a single story in #74–his final Golden Age appearance. So, presented here is the last Captain America story:
Captain America apparently hangs around in his apartment in full costume.
Gotta love a demon who knocks on the door.
The Red Skull apparently wears his skull-mask even in hell. People had strange ideas about costumes in 1949. Also, a red skull with a pink shirt isn’t exactly a winning combination.
And it was all a dream–or was it?
And that’s how Captain America wrapped up his Golden Age career, never to return–until 1953, when the character was brought back for a short-lived revival, and then 1964, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby resurrected him in the Marvel Age as a member of the Avengers.
Nobody’s been able to identify the creators on this last Cap story, but the cool cover was drawn by Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern.