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Fighting Yank. Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

12 Patriotic Superheroes Other Than Captain America

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Fighting Yank. Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Captain America—created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon—is 75 years old, and he’s never been more prominent thanks to Marvel's terrific movies (the third of which, Captain America: Civil War, hits theaters May 6). While Cap is the most successful and enduring patriotic superhero, he’s far from the only one. There have been many flag-wrapped heroes in the long, weird history of comics. Before you buy your ticket for the latest Cap movie, take a moment to salute his forgotten cousins, spoofs, and predecessors.

1. MISS AMERICA

This Quality Comics hero with a pageant-y name has a very Captain America-like origin: Joan Dale was a product of Project M, a U.S. super soldier program. Miss America had the impressive power of molecular transmutation: she could turn stuff into other kinds of stuff. Miss America became part of the DC Universe when DC bought the Quality Comics heroes, including such gems as the Red Bee and Bozo the Iron Man (no relation to Tony Stark).

2. AMERICOMMANDO

Though he was also called Mr. America, Tex Thompson deserves to be remembered for the much awesomer name of Americommando. Like Indiana Jones, he had no superpowers but was good with a whip. Like Superman, he debuted in Action Comics #1—not as Americommando or Mister America, but a plain ol’ cowboy hero.

3. YANKEE POODLE  

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There have been many comic book dogs—such as Krypto the Superdog and Ace the Bat-hound—but no pooch as patriotic as Yankee Poodle. As Jon Morris points out, a meteor accident enabled this star-spangled canine to shoot stars and stripes from her paws. Our dogs won’t even roll over.

4. NUKE

Created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in their '80s classic Daredevil: Born Again storyline, Nuke is the rare patriotic hero who puts the U.S. government in a negative light. A product of the same program that produced Captain America, Nuke didn’t turn out quite so spiffy: He’s a freaky killing machine with a flag painted on his face and red, white, and blue pills to calm him down or turn him loose. The future Nuke appeared on the first season of Jessica Jones as Will Simpson.

5. UNCLE SAM

Uncle Sam has been the personification of America since at least 1813, but he’s also been a superhero since National Comics #1 in 1940. Appropriately, Uncle Sam led a group of heroes called the Freedom Fighters.

6. FIGHTING YANK

This character, created in 1941, is one of several patriotic superheroes that hearken back to the War for Independence. Bruce Carter III is visited by an extremely patriotic apparition: his ancestor, Bruce Carter I, who reveals the location of a power-granting magical cloak. Sometimes that’s all it takes to be a patriotic superhero.

7. LIBERTY BELLE

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Like many DC characters, World War II hero Liberty Belle is part of a superhero legacy. Just as new Flashes and Green Lanterns replace old ones, Liberty Belle is the descendent of Miss Liberty, a hero of the Revolutionary War. Liberty Belle is one of the most literal heroes in the very literal world of comics: her powers are triggered by, you guessed it, Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell. Move over, Bat-Signal.

8. THE CONQUEROR

Created by comics legend Bill Everett in 1941, this bombastic character gained superpowers from a Cosmic Ray Lamp—which may need a bulb change, since he didn’t last beyond a mere four appearances. The Conqueror is featured in Jon Morris’ wonderful book The League of Regrettable Superheroes. Morris offers an apt description of the Conqueror: “Brutal, relentless, humorless, and dressed a little like a waiter in an ice cream shop, the Conqueror didn’t skimp on action.”

9 AND 10. THE STAR-SPANGLED KID AND STRIPESY

That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Captain America and Bucky, does it? Truthfully, there’s not much worth knowing about this duo except for one cool fact: They were created by Jerry Siegel, one of Superman’s co-creators. One of this duo’s main nemeses was the unfortunately spelled Doctor Weerd. They are slightly more impressive than another patriotic duo, Yank and Doodle.

11. THE SHIELD

By far the most important patriotic superhero other than Cap, the Shield debuted in 1940 (over a year before Captain America) and features the same star-spangled outfit, a very similar super-soldier origin, and the same Nazi-fighting early adventures. In fact, the reason Cap carries a round shield is that his original triangular shield looked too much like the symbol on the Shield’s chest. This unfortunately forgotten character has been revived several times over the years, including in a current ongoing series for Archie’s Dark Circle line. One difference: This time, the Shield is a woman.

12. AMERICAN BARBARIAN

This is perhaps the strangest entry on the list: the American Barbarian—real name Meric—is a Conan/Thundarr type with red, white, and blue hair who fights evil hordes with the mystical Star Sword, which leaves a trail of red, white, and blue in the air, and lives on the planet of Earthea in the distant future. The comic describes Earthea as being populated by “Roving mutant armies, legions of the risen dead, renegade robots, wild herds of genetic supermen, roving citadels on wheels, science experiments run amok, swirling matter-devouring black holes, re-animated dinosaurs, the sewer people of New New New York…” Plus a massive evil pharaoh named Two-tank Omen. American Barbarian partakes of the spirit of Captain American co-creator Jack Kirby but is completely its own thing, thanks to the exuberance of writer/artist Tom Scioli.

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Pop Culture
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
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At its best, Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’ Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY

John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of this year and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In June, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE

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In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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Pop Culture
Funko Is Bringing a Ton of Old-School Hanna-Barbera Characters to Comic-Con
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Funko

Long before The Simpsons or SpongeBob SquarePants dominated the airwaves, classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, and The Huckleberry Hound Show reigned supreme. Now, some of the American animation studio’s most nostalgic characters are getting the Funko treatment.

As Nerdist reports, the toy manufacturer is launching a pop-up store at Comic-Con International, which runs this year from July 20 through July 23 at the San Diego Convention Center. The Get Animated! Pop!-Up Shop will sell exclusive models of Hanna-Barbera characters that fans can't purchase anywhere else.

For Wacky Races aficionados, there's a Big Gruesome model, two Rufus Ruffcut figurines (both of which come with a tiny Sawtooth), and two Peter Perfect models, one of which includes the notoriously rickety Turbo Terrific drag racer.

A Funko figurine of Big Gruesome from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon
Funko

A Funko figurine of Rufus Ruffcut from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “Wacky Races.”
Funko

A Funko figurine of Rufus Ruffcut from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “Wacky Races.”
Funko

A Funko figurine of Peter Perfect from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “Wacky Races.”
Funko

Scooby-Doo comes in three colors, including green, pink, and blue.

A Funko figurine of a green Scooby-Doo.
Funko

A Funko figurine of a pink Scooby-Doo.
Funko

A Funko figurine of a blue Scooby-Doo.
Funko

Funko also pays tribute to The Jetsons and Huckleberry Hound, with the beloved blue dog getting his own Pop! Animation eight-pack (each dog has a different outfit) and Rosie the Robot getting her own Pop! Animation three-pack.

A “Huckleberry Hound” Funko Pop! Animation 8-pack
Funko

“The Jetsons” Funko Pop! Animation 8-pack of Rosie the Robot
Funko

You can view the full round-up over at Nerdist, or by visiting Funko's blog.

[h/t Nerdist]

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