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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #22

Each day in June you’ll get an entry showing you the first appearance of seemingly minor characters, phrases, objects or events that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of what I’ve featured so far.

Today is an all-metal edition!!

Enjoy!

Reader Glenn S. wanted to see the first of the fictional metal Adamantium and he also wanted to see the first time it was revealed that Captain America’s shield was made from Adamantium and Vibranium. Can do, Glenn!

First appearance of vibranium

In 1966’s Fantastic Four #53, we were introduced to vibranium (this was also the introduction of the villian, Klaw)…

Interestingly enough, Stan Lee also introduced a DIFFERENT vibrating metal just a few months earlier in Daredevil #13….

This metal has retroactively been termed Vibranium, as well, just the Savage Land version of the metal.
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First appearance of Adamantium

In 1969’s Avengers #66, we got our first look at adamantium and its creator, Dr. Myron MacLain…


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First mention of Captain America’s shield as an adamantium/vibranium alloy

In 1981’s Captain America #255, we learn that Cap’s shield was the result of a metullurgical accident…

In 1985’s Captain America #303, we meet MacLain again, who, we learn, created Captain America’s shield…

He later explains how the shield came about…

And yes, as noted in the comments, the mixture is not precisely adamantium/vibranium. It is steel plus a “mystery something” plus vibranium. In his attempts to discover what that “mystery something” was, MacLain invented Adamantium. That’s why the shield is ofen referred to as an adamantium/vibranium mix, however, to be technical, it is a steel/”mystery something”/vibranium mix.
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Feel free to send in ideas for future debuts I should feature here to bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

20 Comments

I’ve never quite gotten the origins of Vibranium and Adamantium correct and I never grow tired of reading Stan and Jack’s Panther/Klaw origin story. What a gem! These pages are quite a treat. Thanks for including these classics along for the ride! I really want to know what happened to Myron now and who the white-haired guy turned out to be…

Them where THE days!!!

Surely those pages state that the shield is a steel/vibranium alloy (which is compared to adamantium)?

That was my memory as well Paddy. Cap’s shield is steel/(Wakandian) vibranium.

The metal destroying vibranium is Antartica Vibranium

Something mixes with the steel. His attempts to recreate that “something” led to adamantium. So that’s why it is referred to as an adamantium/vibranium mix, but yes, technically it is a “mystery something”/steel/vibranium mix. I can see why the former description is more appealing.

Ethan Shuster

June 21, 2011 at 6:44 am

It’s funny, since I’ve always been more of a DC fanboy than a Marvel one, I think I had assumed “adamantium” was a more recent invention only mentioned in connection to Wolverine!

The Crazed Spruce

June 21, 2011 at 6:57 am

I’m pretty sure the knockoff shield John Walker used was made of a vibranium/adamantium alloy. That’s probably where the notion came from.

USAgent used the same shield Steve used as the Captain, which was strictly vibranium. The notion that the shield was an adamantium/vibranium mix came from Marvel, in the 1980s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Matthew Johnson

June 21, 2011 at 7:35 am

Priest did a nice story in “Black Panther” explaining how the US got Wakandan vibranium in WWII.

@The Crazed Space what Brian said. Steve Rogers turned in his shield and uniform, both of which were given to John Walker. The shield that Steve used as The Captain was given to him by Tony Stark. I think.

OH WAIT, I just double-checked and, indeed, Tony DID TRY to give Steve a new shield, but that was during all the Armor Wars stuff, so Steve turned it down. Apparently, the one he used as the Captain came from the Black Panther. Of course.

It’s shocking that no writer has tried to explain (i.e. overexplain) how Cap’s shield came about while MacLain was sleeping. Alien intervention? The essence of the American Spirit? Speed force? No matter the answer it would ruin the mystique.
We can be thankful for it.

I’m more knocked out by Barry Windsor-Smith’s Avengers art. Wow. he came out of the gate swinging. It’s the design aesthetic of British comics brought to American comics to the first time. It’s really gorgeous.

@ Graeme “I’m more knocked out by Barry Windsor-Smith’s Avengers art. Wow. he came out of the gate swinging. It’s the design aesthetic of British comics brought to American comics to the first time. It’s really gorgeous.”

I always thought the two biggest influences of BWS at that time were Kirby, foremost, and Steranko, secondly.

Mike Loughlin

June 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

As BWS explained in an interview once, his art had strong Kirby influences because in his mind “Kirby is comics” and he equated the style with the medium.

knew that one of the black panthers duties was to guard the Vibranium mound due to its sound property. though never knew caps shield was suppose to be a combo of Vibranium and Adamintium. or a mystery element .

There’s Kirby and Steranko in there for sure, but the influences of British comics of the ’50s and ’60s are there as well.

MacLain says he was trying to bond vibranium with “this steel alloy I was trying to develop,” a “new super-strong metal to build tanks out of.” I take that to mean adamantium, at least at an early experimental stage. He subsequently perfected that alloy and called the final version adamantium. So technically, Cap’s shield could be described as a proto-adamantium / “mystery something” / vibranium mix, or just an adamantium-vibranium alloy for short.

There’s Kirby and Steranko in there for sure, but the influences of British comics of the ’50s and ’60s are there as well.

Maybe you’re right, but all I see is someone heavily riffing off of Kirby and Steranko. Not saying you’re wrong as I don’t know much about British comics of the 50s and 60s. I just think their influence on that art is much less than what you say.

Captain America’s shield is not mentioned as an adamantium/vibranium alloy anywhere in CAPTAIN AMERICA #255. It only states that it a metalurgical accident produced it. Using the error from OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2, you are assuming that it is the “First mention of Captain America’s shield as an adamantium/vibranium alloy,” when it did nothing of the sort. The first mention of Captain America’s shield as adamantium/vibranium is OHotMU #2 (1980).

Also claimiing that it is a “mystery something/vibrainum/adamantium” mix is incorrect. An “unknown factor” is all we know. It can be as simple as the iron alloy cooling to a certain tempature before the bonding process is able to finish or the way the resin is mixed. You are assuming that it is another element, as in a physical form that is added, when it is left vague on purpose as to what the “unknown factor” is that caused them to bond. Unknown factor does not equal to someting be added into the mix.

@Tony – “So technically, Cap’s shield could be described as a proto-adamantium / “mystery something” / vibranium mix, or just an adamantium-vibranium alloy for short.”

Yes, it is refered to as a proto-adamantium alloy. However, not as a “proto-adamantium / “mystery something” / vibranium mix” because the shield itself IS the proto-adamanitum. And it is not an adamantium/vibrainium allow, it is a steel/vibranium alloy. This is all explained in AVENGERS 2001 Annual which Kurt Busiek explains various errors about characters over the years, such as Falcon incorrectly being labled as a mutant, Iron Man being a amalgram of 3 different Tony Starks (original, Heroes Reborn, and “Teen” Tony), Hawkeye no longer being deaf after Heroes Reborn, Wasp returning to human form after Heroes Reborn, and the adamantium/vibrainium error.

The weird thing is that up until the late sixties, Cap’s shield wasn’t all that. I don’t know about the Golden Age (my impression is that it’s bulletproof, nothing more) but nobody suggested it was invulnerable the first few years. In fact the Living Laser destroys it (Cap apparently picks up a spare) and the original Red Guardian chips it. When someone does try to steal it in one story it’s for tech gadgets Tony built into it, not for the metal.Then, in the first Modok story, AIM scientists proclaim it proof against diamonds and lasers and wonder if it’s extra-terrestrial (I don’t know if that means Stan had an origin in mind).

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