So much of what exists in our society and in our culture is prevalent in the comics we read. While comics are fictional, and superheroes aren't real, sometimes we take from reality and what exists in it and use it as inspiration for the fictional world we want to create. The idea of patriotism is one of those very things. There are countless symbols of patriotism in comics, and there are likely too many to count. So, to celebrate Memorial Day, I thought I would list five symbols of patriotism that I have found in comics that are most obvious to me. Maybe you guys can help me name a few?
Captain AmericaThis is the obvious one, I mean, just look at his name! Captain America was first introduced in 1941, a full year into World War II and was given his very own comic book, Captain America #1. He has since appeared in over 3,400 comic books and has been a staple of Marvel comics as one of their most prominent characters. While his costume has changed over the years, and has been modified by different artists, the red white and blue stars and stripes that have made him so iconic have remained.
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Wonder WomanOf course, if you know me then you know I would throw her into the mix. For obvious reasons, Wonder Woman has always been symbolic of patriotism to me, not simply because of her costume. After first donning red white and blue to embark on her journey to deliver Steve Trevor back to the American goverment after he accidentally landed on Paradise Island, Diana has retained the costume and continued to wear it as a symbol of respect for America. Not only that, but she loved the U.S. so much, that she decided to stay and fight alongside members of the Justice League.
SupermanTo me, Superman epitomizes what it means to be a patriot. Beyond the fact that he bears the colors of the American flag as his uniform, he represents what made this country what it is. Superman is an immigrant from another planet that has settled in America and fallen in love with the people and their culture. He is, to me, what it means to be American and one of my absolute favorite superheroes.
Now, for two of the more obscure examples...
Reagan's RaidersOne of the strangest examples I have come across, was a series that was first released in 1986 during the Reagan Administration. Published by Gary Brodsky under Solson Comics, Reagan's Raiders only lasted for about three issues. The release of the first issue came in October of 1986, shortly following the height of the Iran-Contra during Reagan's term. Not only did the team hold Reagan's name in their title, but one of the team members even had his likeness.
The ShieldBefore Captain America and the great Steve Rogers, there was The Shield, published by DC Comics. Created in 1940 by Harry Shorten and Irv Novick for Archie Comics, The Shield saw success for about a year, that is until Archie trumped him. Archie Comics made several attempts to bring the character back into the limelight unsuccessfully, that is until 2009 when they teamed up with DC Comics. DC took the Shield and used the character as a part of their Red Circle series. The Shield saw some more time in the spotlight in his very own self titled ongoing from DC, but the lack of sales inevitably doomed the series and it was quickly canceled. However, something tells me this is not the last that we have seen The Shield!
What other patriotic comic book characters can you name that you have found in comic books?