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Welcome to the four hundred and sixty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and sixty-four. This week, did Jack Kirby design two new costumes for Captain America in case Marvel lost a lawsuit over the rights to Captain America? Learn the bizarre story of how EC Segar and Bud Sagendorf first met (a story they didn’t even know for years)! And finally, did Garfield really die in a comic strip?!
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Jack Kirby created two new possible costumes for Captain America in case Marvel lost a lawsuit filed against them by Joe Simon over the rights to Cap.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
In 1966, Joe Simon sued Marvel Comics in state court and then the following year sued them in federal court, under the theory that Captain America was his creation and that Marvel had, in effect, usurped his rights to the character and that Simon was the proper owner of the renewal copyright to the character, which would be right around that time.
One of the ways that Marvel maneuvered against Simon was to pursue the alternate theory (their main theory was that Simon had created Captain America as a work-for-hire for Martin Goodman, and that therefore the copyright always belonged to Goodman) that even if the courts ruled that Joe Simon had created Captain America independently of Goodman and Timely Comics, that Simon was only the CO-creator of Captain America, along with artist Jack Kirby.
Marvel soon had an agreement with Kirby stating that they created the character as a work-for-hire. As part of his arrangement, he would get paid whatever money Marvel paid Simon. Eventually, Simon settled with Marvel and agreed to sign a deal where he said that he created the character as a work-for-hire.
However, before Marvel settled the lawsuit, there was always the chance that they would lose. If they did, with Kirby on their side, they likely would not have to deal with actually losing the character Captain America, especially since they had the trademark on the character name, so even if Simon won his lawsuit, it wouldn’t be as though he could do his own comic book called Captain America. However, he COULD do a comic book starring his original version of Captain America. That was at least a possibility.
So if there was going to be a rival Captain America comic book with Cap in his classic costume, Marvel at least entertained the idea of having a new costume for THEIR Captain America, then, to differentiate the two.
So Kirby designed at least two new looks for Captain America. Here they are…
The second one Kirby years later used as the basis for Captain Glory in his short-lived Topps line of comics in the 1990s…
Obviously, neither costume was ever needed since Simon settled.
Thanks to Greg Theakston and Mark Evanier for the information behind this one! Theakston first reported on the first costume back in 1995 and at the time, he was unsure of what the purpose of the drawing was (noting that the general belief was that it was for an alternate costume), but coupled with Evanier’s research saying that the second costume was for the same purpose (a possible new costume), I think it is enough evidence to conclude that the first costume was drawn for the same reason as the second costume. They’re both from the same time frame.
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Does Hasbro forbid G.I. Joe’s Snake Eyes from being portrayed as a New York Yankee fan?
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