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CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – Fourth of July!!

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme.

Today we look at patriotic comic book moments for the Fourth of July. Click here to see the groups already featured so far.


In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme.

Today we look at patriotic comic book moments for the Fourth of July. Click here to see the groups already featured so far.


It was surprising how few non- Cap moments there are (I didn’t feel like counting the Golden Age stuff, like the anti-German and Japanese stories)

Here is a notable non-Cap one from Action Comics #775, where we see Joe Kelly do a “retort” to the Authority…

The speech might not appear to be clearly meant as an “American” thing, but clearly Superman was thinking that way, as seen by Clark Kent’s headline…

Perhaps this Born Again moment is not as straightforward patriotic but it sure is powerful. It begins when the Avengers are called to the scene where the deranged super soldier, Nuke, is trying to kill Daredevil (the government lent him out to Kingpin to help kill Daredevil)…

As you can see, Cap is definitely put ill at ease by the sight of this terrorist dressed in the red, white and blue.

We see just HOW pissed off Cap is later in the issue…

Powerful stuff. And even though Miller is clearly just riffing off of Alan Moore’s brilliant usage of the Justice League from Saga of the Swamp Thing, still, “a soldier with a voice that could command a god”? – SO good.

Here is a great patriotic speech from Cap in Avengers #6…

A cool speech from an Amazing Spider-Man Civil War tie-in…

And here, from Roger Stern, Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein, is one of the most famously patriotic moments, from Marvel Fanfare #18…

E-mail me suggestions for future installments at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

Happy Fourth of July!


Happy Fourth of July. Take a moment and thank the people that earned us our freedom.

Man, that first one is ridiculous, but Cap’s always good for a good speech. His spiel to Spidey may be the best thing that came out of the mess that was Civil War.

Oops, I had text but it somehow didn’t show up at first. So weird. It is visible now! Sorry about that. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Nonononono! Why oh why did you have to include a scene from Action Comics #775?!? Besides the transparently flimsy straw man arguments that the story made, the timing of its release was abysmal. If Superman really did care about “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,’ why did he just stand back and allow Lex Luthor to get elected President of the United States just a few short months before? I can understand that Superman did not want to interfere in politics. But democracy relies of an INFORMED electorate. Superman should have called a press conference and declared on national television “Lex Luthor is a criminal and a murderer who has attempted on numerous occasions to kill me. He should not be allowed to gain the highest office in the land.” How would it be interfering in the democratic process for Superman to tell people that he personally did not think Luthor should be President, and then stand back and let them make up their own minds at the voting booths?

Maybe it’s just because I’m a GIJoe nerd, but I’m sorely missing Roadblock’s classic explanation as to why he threatens a looter who’s trying to burn a US flag while ignoring everyone else stealing expensive office equipment: “No one ever died for a typewriter.”

The Action Comics one is the only good and true statement and rebuttal made about the whole disgusting ‘judge, jury, executioner’ theme that runs through so many modern heroes.

The Cap and Spider-Man scene is pretty awesome.

You can never go wrong with Mark Twain.

That scene in Action Comics was definitely heavy-handed. I remember being a bit fed up with The Authority at the time that issue came out, and I still found it bad.


July 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

The Cap and Spider-Man scene *was* awesome when it first appeared… but then its message was completely undercut shortly thereafter when Cap surrendered to Iron Man at the end of the Civil War series.

To recap: Basically Cap makes this big speech in ASM about believing in your principles and how you should plant yourself like a tree and tell the world, “No, you move!”… but then you should surrender a month later because it turns out you must have not really believed in the principles you were fighting for. Or that your principles were wrong. Either way, it was an unfortunate coda to the stirring speech in ASM in that Cap surrenders precisely because he suddenly seems to care what the rest of the world (e.g., the horrified civilian onlookers of his fight with Iron Man) thinks about him and his principles.

The whole speech reads to me now as if no one at Marvel told JMS what the outcome of Civil War was going to be.

@comicbookreader: I think that more than the horrified reaction of the people watching the fight, it was the destruction caused by the fight that made Cap surrender.

It’s still a silly way to end a story, though. Manhattan gets destroyed in almost every single Marvel big event, with Captain America right in the middle. Why have second thoughts at that particular fight?

I’ve always liked Cap’s speech to the fake Cap in that old What If? issue.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

July 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I liked the Superman story but I felt it was more an F. U. to nihilist British authors who mocked the heroic ideals comics were based on.

Lobotomy = Bad. Chemical Lobotomy = Good.

Superman wins, not because his ideals and ethics are superior, but because he is more powerful. And he’s fucking smug about it. “I kicked your ass because I’m right! How do I know I’m right? Because I kicked your ass.”

I don’t understand why people love that comic. It’s well-executed wankery.

What about the 9/11 issue of Amazing Spider-man?!

The Crazed Spruce

July 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I remember a great scene from Preacher where a former Nazi told Jesse Custer about coming to America as a spy during World War II, fell in love with the country, stopped reporting to his superiors, and just reveled in the American experience. It struck me as very patriotic, in its own quirky way, which is impressive for a scene written by an Irishman, spoken by a German, and read by a Canadian. :)

And then Jesse killed him.

That Cap speech from Amazing Spider-Man really showed that Straz knows Cap as a character and that Millar is a hack writer who hasn’t got a clue.

I’ve got that issue of Marvel Fanfare and count it as one of my favourite Cap issues ever.

technically he killed himself
Jesse gave him the choice

What’s the context of the one where Cap stands up to the general?

Also, in my opinion, the best Cap story involving his love for America was the one where he regains his identity after having quit in disappointment (for finding that a high level US government personage -implied to be The President (Nixon, at the time) himself, but never actually stated- was also the leader of the criminal Secret Empire.) He took on the costumed identity of “Nomad, the Man Without a Country” for a short while instead, but another man tried to fill in as Captain America- because he strongly believed America needed such a living symbol. He gets killed by the Red Skull for his troubles, but it makes Steve Rogers realize that he was right, and for better or worse HE was meant to be that symbol.

@jephd – I was exaggerating for comedic effect, but Jesse didn’t really give him a choice. He gave him no choice.

He didn’t use the Red Letter Voice, but he backed him into a corner and talked him into it. Jesse caused a man who was truly repentant, and had spent decades proving it, to die for his sins. He caused his own mother great pain just so he could feel morally superior to an Nazi.

I love Preacher big time, but Jesse is as big a dick as God.

Wait, was that the point?

@Sijo–if I remember right, that story was Daredevil’s “Born Again.” The newspaper he’s holding and asking “Who is this man?” has a picture of Nuke on it.

I gotta say of all of that, I appreciated Cap running back for the flag the most.

I’m reading the issue of Action Comics & it occours to me that your interpretation is exactly why the rest of the world hates America. You think that you have a monopoly on truth & justice., like you invented it or something. Its a shame your country never ever lives up to those stated traits. Put your hand up if your countries greed and avarice knowingly crashed the world economy *pst* thats your cue to put your hand up America.

Great your proud of the fictional achievements of fictional characters… So what?

I love ya, Cap, but anybody who risks their life to save a flag is a fool.

You know what British nerds, be as mad as you want at Superman. My country didn’t lay off a third of their government workers and I still have a job. so I feel pretty good this 4th after seeing a million dollar firework display celebrating the birth of our decadent empire. You guys have fun losing to Libya.

God bless America, it’s citizens, and it’s comic book characters. It is our faith in our ideals, not our failures or our cynicism, that makes us a great nation. Happy Independence Day everyone!

Ritchard, I also remember that scene from GIJoe. Forever in my mind from the day I read it as a youngster.

I like that Born Again ending, but its so completely out-of-place with the rest of the tale. The whole story has been about Matt Murdock’s grand fall and rise to redemption, then all of sudden Deus Ex Avengers show up and take over the damn story, and then Kingpin gets a slap on the wrist for his efforts. It’s what keeps “Born Again” from being a real masterpiece to me, that whole “wait wat” ending.

I don’t see it that way at all, Jeremy.

Kingpin loses a lot in the story – Miller makes a point of showing how close Fisk was to finally becoming accepted as a businessman, a hero even. And his stupid vendetta against Murdock took that all away from him. Yes, he avoided jail, but that was more because Miller knew that the comics still had to come out, he couldn’t write such a major character out of the comics. Instead, he did the next best thing – he made it so that the Kingpin literally “fell from grace” and would be forever known as a criminal. That was a major loss for Fisk.

happy fourth of july nice picks for remember that bit from born again where cap winds up having to learn about nuke. plus the last pick is appropriate this holiday

Honestly, as much as I loved “Born Again,” I was never particularly interested in the Nuke subplot as a whole.

Daredevil 232 with DD vs Nuke was one of the first Daredevil comics I ever bought. Cover had the Amercian flag/ Nukes eyes at the top with DD silhouetted in flames at the bottom. I had to buy it. I got Drug addiction, prison assassination attempts, a drugged up black-ops US assassin and and awesome fiery final page to match the cover.

Re-reading the whole “Born Again” trade years later, I was also struck by how the conclusion of the story with Cap & Iron man showing up seemed out of place for a Daredevil comic, but maybe that was also the point. Kingpin was used to dealing with street fighters like Spider-man and DD, but he over reached by bringing in a government black-ops guy like Nuke and he ended up getting the attention of the Avengers. At the time, though, it didn’t seem so unusual for them to show up – hey, its New York right? They live there. And you didn’t anticipate a clear beginning-ending to an arc or cycle like these days (issues weren’t labeled ” Born Again: part 4 of 6) so they were just special guests for an issue, and then on to the next month.

I’d have gone with that scene from Hitman #34, where Tommy Monaghan tells Superman, “You’re everything that’s great about this country and you don’t even know it!”

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

July 5, 2011 at 1:27 am


“You guys have fun losing to Libya.”

Last thing I heard was that the rebels are getting ready to invade Tripoli, the capital. You call that losing?


Cap surrendered not because the people were against him but because civillians were going to be hurt. You’ve got to remember neither side chose to fight in NYC, they were in the negative zone prison when each of their traps/betrayals occured, a dodgey teleport (from Wiccan?) tossed them out on to the streets. Cap’s group had been avoiding open conflicts just rescuing those they could and the previous big fight had been a trap they’d been lured to. Cap would never let innocents die if he could and the fight was getting out of hand.

Cap couldn’t see he was going to be shot, he was still going to fight the SHRA, except now in a courtroom where’d it would be hard for any jury to convict him once he got on that stand, the whole thing was going to be televised too so he’d have won over a lot of support. Had that not worked out, the New Avengers under Luke Cage probably would have busted him out (despites probably his protests).

Ronald Jay Kearschner

July 5, 2011 at 3:09 am

This has gotten way more political than I expected. But Ideals matter, even if you don’t always live up to them. Western Europe did pretty well under the American “Empire.” Better than Eastern Europe under the Soviets, or the Nazis, or India under the British Empire. Europeans had a better standard of living than a good portion of Americans since WWII because they spent nothing on Defence. So it’s galling to be resented for our strength when you are weak by your own choices. Math, not America ,is crashing the Greek economy. Multinational corporations are no more American than European.

Rollo Tomassi

July 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

@Ritchard and @Jason.

Add me to the list of people who fondly remembers that Roadblock scene as well. Yo Joe!

@Jan: Way to size up a 21st century problem with a 19th century view. You’re a fool if you think that it’s just Americans who’ve soured the world’s economy.

I agree with those who say the “Born Again” ending was a disappointment.

The best patriotic comic ever done is CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES, by Jack Kirby.

The best patriotic comic ever done is CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES, by Jack Kirby.

Generally agreed, but what specific moment? That was the problem I had and it is why I didn’t feature it.

As a disabled veteran, A member of the Disabled American Veterans, and a two time Commander of an American Legion post as well as a college literature professor who specializes in the Literature of the Graphic Word and Freshman Composition, I want to thank you for this compilation. It is too often that we see the price of our liberties diluted down to special interests and squabbling about what issue of what comic should or should not be representational of a particular concept. I think you have done a fine job here, and I’ve bookmarked it and sent it to my students for their observation and comment in class. Thank you for remembering that it isn’t about hot dogs, fireworks, football (or any other sport), and brand names…it’s about the hearts and minds of free citizens and their obligation to that “dream.”

Brian: What specific moment? The whole thing, actually. Because the whole thing is Cap’s journey to discover the real truth at the heart of the American identity, and in so doing discover a whole lot about himself. Cap represents the best of the American IDEAL, not necessarily the American reality — which is why he would never really have an “identity crisis”. Kirby was too smart and too good a writer to fall into that kind of trap. Captain America is not necessarily about what America IS; he’s about what America should be and could be — for everyone. So I guess if you’re looking for one specific moment, it would be the double-page spread which wraps the whole thing up, and Cap’s final words as he’s surrounded by a group of American youths (representing the future of the country and the hope embodied therein): “That’s America! A place of stubborn confidence — where both young and old can hope and dream, and wade through disappointment, despair and the crunch of events — with the chance of making life meaningful!!”

Right, that’s what I meant.

The whole thing is good, but for a bit that involves individual moments, what would you pick? There really isn’t one standout moment. The whole thing was good. So that’s why I didn’t feature it.

Re Superman: So the dormant heat particles swam like sperm up the winding retinal nerve, not damaging anything along the way? And when they arrived at their destination, they “flamed on” and burned out the mutant part of Black’s brain?

Mm…nope. Not buying it.

Civil War? Man, that was terrible. Did it happen or not. I knew they’d never explain how nobody knows who Spider-man is anymore OR what happened in Civil War that was different. That series didn’t make sense to begin with. I just didn’t buy into it. I knew Cap would die, too. He didn’t fit into Bendis’ universe, Ironman was always upfront. I don’t think people really believed the story. People still go ‘what happened to Tony, that wasn’t like him.’

It’s amazing how much it didn’t give the fans. Instead of doing an UNmasking story, it mostly ignored it. What does Marvel have against selling large quantities of issues. They shouldn’t of done it. They had no idea for it to begin with and Spider-man was not a magically-themed character which wastes the potential of the story when it has a television writer in place of a guy who ‘gets’ SPider-man. People who were first picking up those issues after it got press would of been sorely disapointed. It destroyed the credibility of the book that entire year and the one that followed. Spider-man actually flew (glided) in one issue in his snazzy new suit. Oh boy.

Cap is giving Spider-man a speech that includes themes like responsibility. Something this SPider-man character doesn’t have. He does stuff without thinking about it and doesn’t come to his senses, he weasels out of it. He changes sides and weasels out of everything including his Aunt’s eventual death.

Do people at Marvel know what responsibility is?

Looking at the stuff from DC in this article, thanks God I gave up on that company a long time back.

Isn’t there a scene in “Crisis of Infinite Earths” where Uncle Sam gives a rousing speech about this being the last battle and all? I found it strange reading it that here was an obscure character, so out of place in the DC universe, giving this speech. Where was Superman, or Batman, or Wonder Woman? I don’t remember how patriotic the speech was, if at all, i thought it strange that that character was even used, let alone given a good few panels to even speak.

@Regen: Perhaps the character of Uncle Sam is one you don’t know about as it comes from the early days of comics in America. He was, and still is, the embodiment of the American Fighting Spirit, he is the ultimate super patriot, and one of the foundational characters for Captain America. This “obscure character” and his monologue embody the very concepts of his speech: A rally to the flag, as it were, for heroes and civilians alike; a call to responsibility and a cautionary statement to those who would do away or cast aside the blood of heroes and civilians for their own selfish means and deeds. As for the Triumvirate, I would recommend rereading the series. There is a clear and “logical” reason for their lack of appearance at that point in the story arc.

@Tony O’seland-Damn straight!

“All — Star Comics” # 58 — 74 came out between 1976 and 1978 . The words “Justice Society of America” appeared on the covers of “All — Star Comics” # 58 — 72 in some capacity . The covers of “All — Star Comics” # 73 and 74 only featured the words “Justice Society” . An article about the Justice Society in “Amazing Heroes” claimed the name “Justice Society of America” was “too nationalistic” for a comic book in the late 1970s . Why would the name “Justice Society of America” be “too nationalistic” for the late 1970s ? What about the name “Justice League of America” ?

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