Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"The Private Life of Captain America" Writer

Captain America 59 caption: The Legend of Captain America! Who He Is, and How He Came to Be

The writer of "The Private Life of Captain America" in CA 59 (Nov/1946) is exactly the one you'd guess by that first caption.

Batman 1 title: The Legend of the Batman--Who He Is and How He Came to Be

Batman co-creator Bill Finger is known to have written, for Timely, the All Winners Squad story in All Winners 19 (Fall/46). In the Who's Who of American Comic Books, Captain America is listed as another feature he wrote for the company.

Two years later, Finger would write "The Origin of Batman" (Batman 47, June-July/48) and "The Origin of Superman" (Superman 53, July-Aug/48) at DC, each of which would recount the origin and add some new twist—in the first case, Batman's finding his parents' killer, Joe Chill; in the second, Superman's first encounter with Kryptonite and learning he's from Krypton. The Captain America story, after recounting the origin, sets up Steve Rogers as a teacher at the Lee School, with Bucky a student (they're already civilians before the story begins) and then gives them a new case. I don't know who the artist is; the entire origin section is swiped, and I would imagine with editorial approval, from Kirby & Simon in CA 1.

Some of Finger's stylistic tells that I've found in various of his stories, and that he uses in this Cap one, are:

action garb
"Big boy"
"It seems ___"
"a look-see"
a melee ensues
Meantime, ___...
A quick change of [costume] and...
swing into action
unleash a sledge-hammer blow
vital people

And there's a cutaway diagram.

You can see that the more indications of style match up, the better; otherwise you might assume John Stanley wrote this story. "Yow!"

Another Cap story that I can attribute to Bill Finger is "The Sportsman of Crime" in CA 58 (Sept/46). The flashback caption starting "So-and-so's story: '____'" is a Fingerism found in a number of Batman stories.


  1. Correction: Superman's detailed origin recap and his learning about Kryptonite and thus Krypton were separate stories (but both were by Bill Finger). "Superman Returns to Krypton" in issue 61 (Nov-Dec/49) was the Kryptonite story.

  2. Martin, great stuff! Based on the single panel you posted, the artist on the Cap #59 "Private Life.." story appears to be Mike Sekowsky's pencils. If you have the entire story, send it to me and I can confirm 100%.