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Five Goofiest Moments in the Captain America Feature in Tales of Suspense #91-95

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

I was going to begin with the first five issues of Captain America’s late-60s solo magazine (#100-104), but then I realized that A. Those issues continued directly from Cap’s Tales of Suspense issues, so it wouldn’t be like I was giving the “real” first five issues of the story and, perhaps more importantly B. skipping over the end of his Tales of Suspense run involved skipping over one of the goofiest moments in the entire Silver Age of Marvel Comics. So here we go, Tales of Suspense #91-95, scripted by Stan Lee, penciled by Gil Kane (#91) and Jack Kirby (#92-95) and inked by Joe Sinnott.

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

I suppose that since Cap is still sort of stuck in the mindset of a World War II soldier, the notion of proposing to a woman on very short notice is not THAT odd, which is why this moment from #95 is not lower on the list…

Still, dude had met her only TWICE at this point and he’s already proposing to her?

Slow down there, Cap!

From #94, I love this sound effect when Agent 13 karate chops a bad guy…

In #92, the agents of AIM don’t fully trust that Agent 13 is actually betrating SHIELD…

so she gives them proof…

Only isn’t that really, really weak proof? “To prove that I am not conspiring with SHIELD, here’s a tape recording of Nick Fury saying he’ll be at the spot I say he’ll be.” Doesn’t that basically prove NOTHING? Impressively enough, though, the AIM agents basically say, “Eh, if you’re wrong we’ll just kill you, so it’s no big deal.”

In #91, the Red Skull has used some sort of hypnotic machine to take control of the minds of the crew of an experimental nuclear submarine. Luckily, Captain America knows his way around nuclear subs, including…

The button that cancels out hypnotic devices?! Huh?

5. We get it Stan, we get it!

In #93, Sharon Carter lays the situation between Cap and her out for us readers…

And in #94, she decides to do so again…

What is that, her catch phrase?

4. Oh…yeah…anti-polar clothing…of course!

In #93, Cap is being held captive by a magnetic force beam. Luckily, Agent 13 is wearing…sigh…anti-polar cover-alls!

Yep, anti-polar cover-alls…awesome.

3. We must keep Quicksilver up to date on the U.S. military at all times…

In #91, we learn that the Avengers are given routine updates of America’s defense setups, including where all their nuclear submarines are…

Uhmmm…why? Do we really need the freakin’ Wasp to know this stuff?

2. Is that you, Cap, or just a brilliant disguise?

After Cap’s brilliant move in #91 of canceling out the Red Skull’s hypnotic device, the Skull orders the crew to kill Cap and then leave the submarine. Cap’s plan to stop the Skull involves the Skull not realizing that they have not gotten rid of Cap. So him leaving disguised as a member of the crew is very important to his plan to stop the Skull.

So why can’t he take off his stupid mask for five minutes to make sure he isn’t caught?!

1. The goofiest moment in Marvel’s Silver Age?

In #92, Cap is fighting against an artificial life form created by AIM to kill Nick Fury. Cap regains his composure and makes one of the greatest declarations in superhero history…

Hilariously awesome.

36 Comments

That looks like the ultimate typo on #1.

But much credit to the great Marvel letterers Artie Simek and Sammy Rosen, unsung heroes of the Silver Age.

And that horizontal panel from issue 92 is incredible. Great composition, an establishing shot, and carries a plot point. The King at his best.

I’m as mystified by Cap’s positioning in that last panel as much as I am by the typo in his dialogue. That’s the strangest uppercut I’ve ever seen.

Number 1 is hilarious. I was not expecting that at all.

Hard to count # 1, as it is an obvious typo. Indeed, I seem to recall Stan apologizing for the error in a subsequent Letters Page.

Cut Cap some slack. It wasn’t as bad as a typical Bushism and he wasn’t using a teleprompter. Even fighting the Adaptoid, he can out-orate our last two presidents.

The #1 choice was good but it’s a fairly well-known Marvel goof (and I think it’s more of a goof than it it goofy.) IIRC, Peter David satirized in when Marvel did a fifth week event of “Marvel Comics.” (The idea was that it these were the Marvel comics that people would read in the Marvel Universe.) Captain America had the same line and then added something like, “Because I’ll be using this skateboard.” It’s almost Marvel’s “All your base are belong to us.”

Surprised Cap versus the second Brotherhood of Mutants didn’t make this list. That Annual was hilariously weird.

I’ll take all the goofy you got if it’s accompanied by art as good as in the restaurant scene in the beginning of the list.

I would agree with Sharon repeating the premise of Cap and her not knowing each other as being goofy if it happened multiple times within the same issue. But if it happened once per issue that’s not so goofy at all. Back then they took the attitude that every comic book was someone’s first, and back in those days of newstand distribution it was actually often very true as opposed to just being theoretical like it is today. Comics were much more of an impulse purchase. So they had to bring new readers up to speed every issue. When I read old-school trade paperbacks I notice that many basic premises of the series will be repeated once per issue.

HEY! The freaking Wasp is future leader to be of the freaking Avengers! Show some respect!

It was a typo? I was expecting Cap to have some clever way of winning that involved knocking himself out. I guess I’m too used to DC’s Silver Age.

Adam Weissman

May 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

You can really see Bernie Krigstein’s influence on Gil Kane in #2.

Cap’s “And it won’t be me!” outburst was indeed goofy, and indeed a typo. Still, it was in the book, so it was a goofy thing in that book. It was also featured in “The Mighty Marvel No-Prize Book” (which you really should own) from the early 80′s, which is where I first saw it. Taken out of context thus, I was never sure if Cap had just thrown a huge uppercut, or gotten kicked in the face by two feet, since he’s being thrown back so far. That’s probably how the letterer got it wrong.

I agree with Syon and Pack, I would disqualify #1 because it was an error — goofy, yeas, but an error nonetheless. Fittingly, I would make Cap trying to disguise himself with a sailor’s hat at the goofiest of this group

that restaurant scene is amazing. i love how he’s looking up towards something with that big crazy manic grin on his face and then the next panel, he’s turned towards her, glaring at her accusingly. poor bipolar Cap. it’s great cuz it’s goofy, but the artwork is amazing and it actually works to tell a lot about Cap’s state of mind and his place in the world now. great stuff, this is my favorite kind of goofy moment.

also love #2, comic book logic is so rad. it reminds me of a period i went thru watching Days Of Our Lives, the only two people that stayed dead both met their ends by falling down and hitting their heads on rocks. a character could be burned alive at the stake or fall from a jet plane into shark infested waters during a typhoon or be shot point blank in the head 3 times and left in a burning explosives factory…and they would resurface within the next year. but if u heard that someone hit their head on a rock, u knew they were a goner.

also, don’t take the criticisms from people here to heart. you’ve prefaced all of these with the same disclaimer paragraph and i don’t think anything has come off as mean spirited or dismissive of the talents of the creators or the intelligence level of the people who love these classics.

these are pretty funny thanks.

Cap was so busy adjusting his sailor’s cap, he didn’t notice the Skrull next to him.

The story line for issues #90 and #91 might be the goofy part. The Red Skull had some powerful device to levitate entire sections of Manhattan, but gave it up for an experimental submarine, that was going to be scuttled though he didn’t know it. Now that’s goofy.

lieutenant_non

May 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I LOVE In #95, after the proposal to Agent 13 goes south (which is the first date and where she sees him out of costume FOR THE FIRST TIME) , he signals the waiter, immediately cancels the dinner and takes her straight home.

The Cap panel “And it won’t be me!” is a well documented art error. I think Kirby referenced it years ago in an interview, and it’s been mentioned since then again by someone else involved with production.

Still, hilarious effect as ever!

Still, all things considered, I’ll take any of this goofiness over Bendis and Nu-Marvel any day of the week.

Further to Garky’s comment, not only was it in the Marvel No-Prize Book, it was the final bit in there, with the last panel full-sized. So not only was it an error, it was seen then as Marvel’s *greatest* error. Probably still is, at least if we’re talking about entertaining errors.

[...] had to repost this from CBR. I almost burst out laughing here at work. That wouldn’t have looked completely sane. Sudden [...]

Actually, while I’ve been a fan of this series of “Goofy Moments,” I have to say that this is one of the weaker entries.
Some of them I don’t even understand. In one of the “honorable mentions,” there is a sequence where Agent 13 is trying to convince AIM that she’s betraying SHIELD by providing them with Nick Fury’s location. When she’s asked for proof that she’s not lying about where Fury will be, she gives them a recording of Fury *saying* he’ll be where Agent 13 said he would be. What’s weak about that as proof? Not only is Agent 13 giving the location but the target himself is saying he’ll be there.
The anti-polar coveralls are kinda silly but didn’t every James Bond movie start with Q giving Bond some incredibly specific gadget that ended up being *exactly* what Bond needed at some later random moment?
As for the Avengers being briefed on national security, that also doesn’t seem that odd to me at a time when over in Gotham City, the police station had an open-door policy for anyone in a Batman costume. The Avengers were considered some kind of quasi-official security force. Why wouldn’t they be in the loop?
I also agree with T’s explanation re: bringing readers up to speed and I would add that there were no trades at the time so each issue really did stand on its own. Sure, it led to being clunky sometimes (Members of the Avengers or X-Men not only calling each other by their full superhero names but also saying things like “Marvel Girl, use your telekinetic powers to catch that falling kitten!”) but I read an issue of Supergirl recently and I had no idea *what* was going on. People would appear who I guess I was supposed to know but didn’t and conflicts were implied but never explained. Which works better?
I don’t mean to be a downer. I guess my expectations were elevated by some real fun and goofy examples in earlier installments.

Pack: It’s weak because they don’t think she’s some crazy woman who doesn’t know anything, but because they think she might be a counter agent, sent to lure them into a trap. If this was true, why wouldn’t she have Nick Fury record himself saying “Yeah, I’m totally going to be at this barber shop guys… I hope no AIM agents come get me because I’ll be completely defenseless!”

It’s a weak proof because it doesn’t prove anything.

Peter, I think you’re wrong. If they’re going to be suspicious of *any* information because it could be planted than no one would *ever* be able to prove that they’re a double agent. (Unless she showed up with the bowling ball bag full of Nick Fury’s noggin….) It seems like the only way anybody could ever prove they’re crossing over is to provide information and let the other side see if it checks out.
It’s not like AIM would be obligated to send a kill squad. Barber shops have big windows so they could just send someone strolling by in civilian clothes and report back, “Yep, she seemed to be telling the truth,” and take it from there.
How do *you* think a double agent would prove they were legitimate in the 1960s? The micro-dot of infomation? Couldn’t that be just as fake and therefore just as weak?

worstblogever said:
“Surprised Cap versus the second Brotherhood of Mutants didn’t make this list. That Annual was hilariously weird.”

Um, it’s not here because it’s not part of the Cap feature in Tales of Suspense, it’s from Kirby’s 70s-return-to-Marvel Captain America & the Falcon run. I remember that book very well myself, but it definitely belongs on a different list.

Re: Cap proposing. Totally understandable – he’d been on ice for a couple of decades, and one of the first girls he sees is a hot blonde. In his day you had to at least promise them you were going to marry them before you… well… y’know… plunged the patriot missile in there!!!

Cap’s goofiest moment? I dunno… it may have been his craftiest (especially considering how quickly he got out of there when he was turned down!)

And if I don’t see Anti-polar coveralls in the X-Men: First Class movie I will be walking out!!!!!!

Pack: But see, she already DID provide the information that they could then check out. The audio doesn’t add anything to it except that she’s not a randomly crazy person, which they didn’t suspect. They suspected it was some kind of trap. And when you suspect that, the audio doesn’t help. In fact, if I were AIM, I’d be more suspicious (because it seems a little convenient that he’s being recorded saying exactly which barber shop he’s going to and that he’ll be alone there).

Regardless, it’s not actually proof. You could just say “Check it out, he’ll be there, you can keep me guarded until then” and that would be more convincing. Providing a lot more information on a number of different areas of secrecy (weapon systems, security plans, etc) wouldn’t be proof either, but it would inspire a lot more trust. Just saying “I have proof what I’m saying is true, here’s this easily faked thing that says that exactly what I’m saying is true, is true!” isn’t.

And I think if it were easy for double agents to prove they were on the side they were pretending to be, it wouldn’t be such a dangerous enterprise. Killing someone on your own side isn’t even proof – a particularly cynical government could arrange that as acceptable losses for a greater good. One way that probably helps is to provide them information that they already know, but they don’t know you know that they know, so it looks like you’re giving them something you think actually helps.

So out of curiosity, does is Agent 13′s proof faked or not?

XBen, Well, she wasn’t a double-agent, if that’s what you mean…

Peter, I’m not following your argument at all. If the basic premise is, the information could be faked, then, as I said before, wouldn’t any and all information be suspect? Also, for the sake of argument, let’s say Fury is in the habit of saying, “I’ll be at XXX place if you need me,” how hard would it be to secretly record that? Why would it be a “little convenient” if you plan to defect so you make the effort to get a little info that the other side wants?
The point I was originally making, and I stand by it, is that there’s nothing inherently *goofy* about the scene. Let’s put it this way: An al Queda member wants to defect (and stay alive.) He comes to the Pentagon and says, “You’re looking for bin Laden. I can tell you that he’ll be at this village on Thursday. To prove I’m not lying, I secretly recorded him telling the other high-ranking members that he would be in that village on Thursday.” would that seem “goofy”? True the al Queda member might be lying and it could be some kind of set-up but I don’t think there’s inherently anything silly about it.
Again, I think most of the articles in this series were good. I just thought this one was kinda weak.

The situations aren’t similar, Pack, because even assuming it’s a setup, the Al-Qaeda operative isn’t going to get anywhere significant with the deception… the most they’ll get is a team of special forces troops killed in a trap. But it’s not going to get them a trusted place in the organization, or for him to be in any significant place to do damage to the organization. A member of a criminal organization defecting to the government is a very different scenario to a member of a government defecting to a criminal organization. A video tape, in the Al Quaeda scenario, confirms one major thing: that he’s not a crazy person spinning a story for no good reason, or that he’s saying “yeah, he’s totally here” and then when he’s not, he just shrugs and says “I guess they changed plans. Oh well, a deal’s a deal.”. It is proof of that, which is probably the biggest concern in that scenario. But in a spy situation, they don’t think she might be crazy, or not really know anything. But there IS that risk that she’s telling them something deliberately designed to make them screw up. It’s so much of a risk that they routinely believe that somebody defecting them from the government is a double agent, and the information is planted, that she’s trying to get herself into a position where she can betray them and bring down the whole organization. Therefore, information confirming that information, that they suspect is being planted on them, doesn’t actually confirm anything. It’s what you’d expect a double agent to have, enough information to confirm their story. Therefore it doesn’t prove it. (And, if she is in fact a double agent, it’s technically IMPOSSIBLE to prove it, because you can’t actually prove something that’s false, you can just come close to looking that way). They might still want to go ahead with the information if they judge the risk is worth the potential rewards, but her providing superficial, easily manufactured evidence that the story she’s come to them with about Fury is true doesn’t disprove the assertion that she’s a counter-spy, not in any way.

Look at it from the perspective of the AIM agent.

Knowing she actually is who she says she is, he has two things he can believe:
a) she might be genuinely turning to our side, in which case, the information about where Fury is probably true, and the recording doesn’t provide any new information. If you already believed her story, the recording is useless. Nice to have, maybe, but if you trust her, you’re going to act on it anyway.
b) she might be a shield counterspy, in which case the information about where Fury will be may or may not be true, but is deliberately being planted for some reason – either it’s a trap, or it’s really true and designed to make them trust her. In this case, the recording would also be provided by Fury, and therefore STILL doesn’t prove anything about whether she’s trustworthy. If you don’t trust her, you STILL WON’T.

In either scenario, the recording has provided no benefit for her story. Therefore it proves nothing, and it was a little silly to think that it would. Yeah, all information by double agents is on some level suspect, but in this case, the recording adds nothing to the believability of her story.

“I’m as mystified by Cap’s positioning in that last panel as much as I am by the typo in his dialogue. That’s the strangest uppercut I’ve ever seen.”

It’s not an uppercut. Look at the panel again. Clearly Cap took them out with a powerful pelvic thrust.

“It’s not an uppercut. Look at the panel again. Clearly Cap took them out with a powerful pelvic thrust.”

Which, of course, nearly drives them insane.

randypan the goatboy

February 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

I remember seeing number one in the marvel no-prize book. the one with Cap dressed in navy blue’s with his mask on makes me think of a line from the Batman tv show[ made god punish the guilty for that sometimes funny but patently useless show] batman was in a night club and the waiter/bartender/whatever asked him if he would like a table in front…at wich point Batman tells him he wouldnt wish to draw attention to himself..paraphrasing here but you get the idea

Ironically enough, anti-polar coveralls were INVENTED by AIM, back when they did contract work for Union Carbide! Buy were their faces red. To be fair though, they expected that anti-polar material would just send Cap slamming against the ceiling instead of held to the floor, because…well, they thought magnetism worked according to some kind of logical principles instead of crazy Stan Lee physics.

In #93 are we seeing Cap’s O-face? I bet he always shouts that while climaxing, “Save yourself!! You must!! YOU MUST–!!”

That nuclear sub in #91 looks a lot more like a muscle car than a self-contained environment for deep-sea travel. I wonder how much that giant aerodynamic tailfin helps it steer. Oh wait a minute…obviously the military is yanking Stark’s chain. “Yeah, this here? It’s a submarine. A nuclear submarine! Cruises at about a third the speed of sound. Underwater. ” (Modern subs max out at about 45 knots, rather than 200.)

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