The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So HOW Did Captain America End Up in Suspended Animation?
In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
Today, based on a suggestion by commenter Bob, we take a look at how an error by Stan Lee in Captain America’s Silver Age debut led to a storyline that revealed that Captain America had a whole other adventure AFTER the flying bomb he and Bucky were on top of exploded over the English Channel!
In Avengers #4, we see a now-revived Captain America explain to the Avengers how he came to be frozen in the North Atlantic…
Notice anything odd on that page? Roy Thomas did. Cap says that he fell into the water off the coast of Newfoundland. That was pretty clearly just a mistake on Stan Lee’s part, as clearly Cap is in Europe when the bomb plane took off and it clearly didn’t travel the more than 2,000 mile distance from England to Newfoundland.
Thomas decided to address Lee’s mistake as well as explain just how Cap went into suspended animation just from falling into cold water.
Thomas took over the writing duties on Captain America with #215. He quickly wrote Falcon out of the book and was clearly intent on spotlighting Cap’s origins. The problem was that Thomas was extremely overextended at the time at Marvel due to some other creators leaving the company. His second issue was a reprint issue! So rather than constantly fight deadlines on the book, Thomas gave it up to Don Glut, who continued Thomas’ first storyline, which based around Cap investigating how the Avengers discovered him and he came across the Newfoundland conundrum, as well, in #218…
So Cap goes to Newfoundland and discovers the lair of the villainous General Dekker…
The next issue shows how Cap met Dekker during World War II when Dekker was a spy working on the Captain America serial of the time.
Then #220 explains how Newfoundland figures into Cap’s suspended animation…
So that’s the real story of how Cap went into suspended animation. What’s funny is that I don’t know if you can truly say that this abandoned and forsaked the earlier stories, in that I don’t know if any story specifically said that this COULDN’T have happened. Along those same lines, I don’t know if any current Cap stories have said that this definitely did NOT happen, so it might very well still be part of Cap’s official history (Chuck Austen’s Ice storyline, which revealed that the United States government froze Cap themselves because he might have opposed using nuclear weapons on Japan, would conflict with this story, of course, but Austen’s story itself has been retconned, so this story might still be part of Cap’s official timeline).
Steve Gerber soon took over the book to continue Thomas’ examination into Cap’s origins. Gerber retconned Cap’s history, which I detailed in an old Abandoned an’ Forsaked and was himself then retconned when Roger Stern and John Byrne took over Cap.
Thanks to Bob for suggesting this one! If you have a suggestion for a future edition of Abandoned an’ Forsaked, drop me a line at email@example.com!