Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
COMIC LEGEND: Steve Englehart revealed that before he was changed by the Red Skull into being a hero, the Falcon worked as a pimp.
COMIC LEGEND: Steve Englehart was going to reveal that the Red Skull’s revelations about the Falcon were a lie.
STATUS: Essentially False
This is a two-for-one!
Captain America #186 has one of the most controversial retcons in Marvel Comics history, where we learn that Captain America’s partner, the Falcon, was actually a former crook who the Red Skull had used the Cosmic Cube to make into Cap’s perfect partner, all for the purpose of eventually having the Falcon turn on his friend at a key moment…
First off, I often see this referred to the revelation that the Falcon was a pimp. Especially in coverage of the upcoming Captain America sequel with Anthony Mackie as the Falcon. There are a bunch of articles mentioning how Mackie’s Falcon will not have the pimp background. However, if you look at the comic, the Falcon is pretty clearly NOT a pimp. Check it out…
Not only is he never referred to as a pimp, it is clear that he is just working for the mob. He dresses in clothes that might be stereotypically viewed as “pimp clothing,” but the context makes it clear that he is not, in fact, a pimp. LATER writers might have decided that he was a pimp during his time as “Snap” Wilson, but it sure did not appear from the actual text.
Anyhow, this leads to the main question, sent in by reader Jim S., who wanted to know if it was true that Englehart had planned to reveal that the Red Skull’s Falcon revelation was, itself, a ruse, but since Englehart left Captain America with the following issue (with John Warner taking over), he never got a chance to reveal it. The simple answer is no, but Englehart explained to me it was a bit more complex than that…
I came up with that as a jumping off point for John. Many people have asked “Was it true?” and the answer “We, including me, would have found out.” This was one of those things I did where I toss an idea into a story and then see where it takes me. If I’d been the writer, we might have found out that it was true, or we might have found out that it was all a mind-fuck by the Skull, or we might have discovered some third or fourth solution — but I would not know until I ran with it for a while. Since I was not the writer and didn’t run, I have no idea, and when John had trouble keeping up with his writing, the whole thing ended up going nowhere.
Thanks to Jim for the question and thanks to Steve for the always valuable insight!
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