Today is the day we are reminded to “Never Forget.” It was September 11, 2001 — a day like most others. That is, until 8:45 a.m. It was a brisk Tuesday morning when an American Airlines Boeing 767 changed our life in this country forever.
Tragically, that caused the building to come perilously down to Earth. We at ComicBook Debate remember those who have lost their lives that day and thank the real heroes — the first responders who sacrificed their lives for the safety of others.
In times of war, this country has always come together in terms of galvanizing citizens for one cause, one nation. Different sects of society have banded together within that movement.
It was done under the guise of whatever passion fuels them, whatever purpose unites. During World War II, that sect was the nerdy type. Their passion was comic books and its characters. And the purpose was stirring nationalism and pride in this country.
Patriotic comics, specifically patriotic comic book covers, were created to give people an escape during war. The goal was to replace worry with a joy where they could return in times of peace. Although America is relatively peaceful now, nationalism should never erode and fade away. These patriotic comics book covers made sure that wouldn’t happen.
For many Americans, patriotic comics sparked pride in the effort of defending our country. The stories and characters gave a glimpse to why the defense was necessary. Just look at that cover! So, lets get into the 10 most patriotic comic book covers ever.
10. American Flagg #1
Many comic book writers were concerned about today while thinking about tomorrow. In 1983, Howard Chaykin wrote and drew a future state of America set in 2030 Chicago. One of the most acclaimed indie comics in history, American Flagg ran 50 copies from 1983 to 1988 and it screamed U.S.A., all starting with a patriotic comic book cover that would run for about $1,500 these days. That’s capitalism.
9. Batman #17
The War Bonds movement in America was something every citizen wanted to assist to help the military’s interest in World War I. It was an emotional appeal to patriotic citizens to lend the government their money because these bonds offer a rate of return below the market rate. So, who better to help Americans sacrifice their cash for a lower return? Batman and a Bald Eagle! ‘Murica. One of the first patriotic comic book covers that doubled as propaganda. Lovely.
8. Uncle Sam #26
When you think of Uncle Sam, it’s always the “Get Off My Lawn” version of Sam with his bellowing goatee and wagging pointer finger. Reed Crandall envisioned a more kickass version of America’s mascot, so he created this brawny, about to get in a bar fight version of Uncle Sam on this patriotic comic book cover. The ire of his attention? The Nazis. We’re talking righteous indignation.
7. The Lone Ranger #76
Back in the ’50s, there were few black-and-white heroes important to Americana as The Lone Ranger. When the man galloped into town on his fine steed, Silver, you know the baddies were about to collapse faster than you can shout “Hi-Ho!” Dell Comics wrote a good product, but they were great at the covers. Their artists knew the power of The Lone Ranger, so have a patriotic comic book cover with him shadowed by the U.S. Flag? You’re talking nationalism run-a-muck…and collectibles skyrocketing.
6. The Shield #1
There isn’t a single person alive — nerd or not — that isn’t familiar with Captain America. And that shield of his? Please. The Armed Forces may as well plaster those on today’s camo. A shield that strikes pride in fans and fear in foes began in 1940 with Irv Novick’s The Shield. MLJ Comics, which would later become Archie Comics, knew they had gold when they saw this cover. It would become this nation’s first-ever patriotic superhero. (And, oh yeah, this patriotic comic book cover would later become property of DC Comics, so there’s that.)
5. Wonder Woman #7
Oh man, you know a pre-pubescent Donald Trump went from Oompa Loompa Orange to a full Fire Engine Red when he read this. Harry G. Peter really took a chance this cover. To this day, it is still known as one of those most daring patriotic comic book covers ever. Not only is that a woman under the headline of “President,” but an immigrant?! The Statue of Liberty called and ordered some cosplay that looks like her outfit. Amazing when you think this was done in the 1940s. #GirlPower indeed.
4. Reagan’s Raiders #2
Before this generation got a national leader on the cover of a comic, the late ’80s had Ronald Reagan. The Great Communicator used every medium he had at his disposal to share a moving message of America, but had an assist when it came to reaching nerds. That’s where Rich Buckler came in handy with a spoof series featuring our 40th President of the United States. In the three-comic series, this is the most memorable series of the Gipper in all his glory to defend our country.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man #583
And that brings us maybe the most well-known patriotic comic book cover ever featuring President Obama. This cover was more than profound and possibly resurrected the comic collectible circuit, it was historic. That’s our first African-American president on a comic book cover. One of the most popular comic characters with that guy. Yes, it needs to be this high on the list.
2. Superman #14
A professional juggler could hurl these two in the air and you will still get mixed sentiment on which patriotic comic book cover is more important. And that’s the point: these meant so much to this county. From the moment this cover was created, people knew what “truth, justice, and the American way” was supposed to look like. It’s an iconic image of this country and what it stands for, using America’s emblem of defense. Truly momentous artwork by the great Fred Ray.
1. Captain America #1
What The Shield was created to be, Captain America lived to be. Naturally, the early Captain America collection is completely patriotic. But this?! Comic fans everywhere knew was patriotism meant when this cover came to life during the height of World War II. Our boys were storming the beaches of Normandy. And fans needed to see why. With one right cross, Captain America truly became the flag-bearer for our military thanks to the inspired hands of Joe Simon and the oh, so great Jack Kirby. This is when the “Silver Age of Comics” became golden!