Captain America and Nick Fury team up to take on a terrorist cartel!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Captain America and Nick Fury might not exactly see eye-to-eye on all things when it comes to keeping the good people of the world safe, but we all know they’d both do anything to ensure peace and prosperity. In the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #78 from 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought the world’s number one super spy into the Sentinel of Liberty’s book to finally figure the true identity of a group previously only referred to as “Them.”

Fury came in with a unique device he wanted Cap to look at, a miniature brain that could grow into a humanoid when added to the right combination of chemicals. He knew it had belonged to “Them,” but still hadn’t IDed the group. As the two heroes pondered the mystery, an aircraft dropped off a strange new visitor outside: a robot! The automaton changed from white to orange and then melted its way right through the walls of Avengers Mansion to confront our patriotic pals.

Fury emptied his clip with no effect, but Cap knew the house’s security system better, turning on the Frigi-Defense which would drop the temperature in the room to freezing with a quickness. When even that failed to slow their pursuer down, the valiant veterans decided to take on their foe face-to-face. It easily brushed Fury’s advances off, but failed to avoid the star-spangled hero’s mighty shield. The Avenger even got the attacker on its back, but a quick dose of chemicals knocked him out.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #78

Tales of Suspense (1959) #78

  • Published: June 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The action then cut to a mysterious super-lab filled with people wearing yellow jump suits and masks. Though readers at the time didn’t know it just yet, they’d just been introduced to those nefarious scientists in Advanced Idea Mechanics, otherwise known as A.I.M.! At the time, they remained focused on using their genius-level intellects to build an army of artificial lifeforms to do their bidding.

Back at Avengers HQ, a revived Cap rejoined Fury in battle, realizing that, with its ability to mix elements, this new foe could potentially go nuclear. With the doomsday clock potentially ticking down, Nick jammed a secret pill down the robot’s mouth and Captain America landed one more powerful blow that finally felled the beast. Before their eyes, the artificial being withered into a husk of its former self. Fury then informed Steve Rogers that the Avengers had better stay out of the “Them” hunt for now and left having given the super-soldier a S.H.I.E.L.D. Priority A-1 badge!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Matthew Rosenberg sends Hawkeye and Winter Soldier on a personal mission!

This December, Matthew Rosenberg takes over a Marvel title that hasn’t seen shelf life since the late 1960s. That would be TALES OF SUSPENSE from the writer and artist Travel Foreman. The original run of the series featured work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introducing characters like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and The Mandarin—so no pressure!

Taking place after the events of Secret Empire, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 showcases a team-up of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier with the duo interested in finding the person responsible for killing the late Black Widow’s enemies. Did we mention both men used to date the Widow?

Arriving on December 20 for the first time in nearly 50 years, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 promises a triumphant return for the genre-themed Marvel title. To get a better idea of this watershed moment, we hit up Matt who told us about taking over a piece of history, the friction we can expect between Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton, and the cathartic process of rebuilding the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Right off the bat, TALES OF SUSPENSE is pretty attention grabbing. What was the process like of writing a story to match the title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, first of all I had to go back to my original story idea and add more suspense! But seriously, TALES OF SUSPENSE has a rich history at Marvel. It was the place where Black Widow and Hawkeye first appeared. It’s where Iron Man first appeared. M.O.D.O.K. and The Mandarin too. And it’s the title that would later become CAPTAIN AMERICA. But more than that, it speaks to a time when Marvel had genre themed books, which is awesome. I think that is the thing we are really trying to lean on here. TALES OF SUSPENSE is a love letter to these old, thrilling super hero stories that have these wild cliffhanger endings. It’s our pulp serial story full of spies and super heroes, intrigue, and excitement.

Marvel.com: The TALES OF SUSPENSE label was originally a showcase for the talents of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. It must feel pretty cool to be getting a shot at the same title.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, it’s surreal for sure. Stan Lee. Roy Thomas, Gene Colan. One of the things I love most about working at Marvel is the legacy of it all. The idea that these are characters and stories that existed before I was born and will continue long after I am done with them. Even on a book like SECRET WARRIORS, which has a relatively short pedigree, I am still carrying on the work of so many great creators. But, for a title like this, a book that hasn’t appeared on racks since 1968, it’s really a piece of history that I am adding to. To be honest, I try not to think about it too much or it gets kind of overwhelming.

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: The idea of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier teaming up to track Black Widow’s “ghost” is awesome. Can we expect some friction between the two? If so, is it a machismo thing among two ex-boyfriends or something more?

Matthew Rosenberg: Friction may be putting it lightly. They don’t like each other. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye and Bucky have very similar backgrounds—bad guys turned good, they both died and came back, they have both carried multiple mantles in their time as heroes, been on multiple teams. But in the end they approach things very differently. And that is what is at odds here: How they approach a mission, what they are willing to do, that is a big thing in the book. Hawkeye’s lighthearted approach that masks his determination and intensity. Bucky’s quiet ferocity that hides his self-doubt. All of that plays out in really fun ways. They are the Odd Couple of super hero team-ups. It’s dysfunctional. It doesn’t work well. But they keep going because they both want the same thing.

And then there is the element of Natasha. They both cared about her, obviously. But this isn’t some sort of romantic competition. Not really. This is two heroes trying to defend the honor and the memory of a teammate. And obviously who they are and how they felt about her gets tangled up in that in some ways, but mostly they just want to do right by Natasha and who she was.

Marvel.com: I don’t want everything to be spoiled too early, but how much can you give away on whether or not Natasha or really dead?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be coming off the heels of Secret Empire? What kind of vestiges from that major event—other than Natasha’s apparent death—are we looking at here? 

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Secret Empire did an amazing job of setting up the coming status quo in the Marvel Universe. We have these characters that everyone knows, that everyone loves, and what Secret Empire did is just push them. It tested each and every one of them. Probed them, tested them, looked for weaknesses. It was this tremendously dark time, this real low point for the Marvel Universe. And now we get to rebuild it. That’s what I love about these characters. They get to the edge and then they come back. They get pushed farther than they have before, and then they come back. And that is what we are doing here. This is Bucky and Hawkeye trying to get closure, trying to come back. I think that’s really important for them, for readers, and for me too. I want to see how they come out of this, how Secret Empire hurt them, and who they will be on the other side. I hope that, after all they have been through, all the trials and tests, we find that they come back stronger than ever. That’s why we all look up to them, right? Well, now we’re going to see that up close. This is the story of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier healing, or trying to. And I really hope people are as excited about that idea as I am.

Matthew Rosenberg and Travel Foreman delve into TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 this December!

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Take a look at exclusive TALES OF SUSPENSE pages courtesy of Matthew Rosenberg and Alanna Smith!

It’s the weekend and we’re here to give you the gift of a brand new episode of This Week in Marvel, the official Marvel podcast!

Ryan, Ben and Tucker give you the rundown of all this week’s latest and greatest comics releases including BLACK PANTHER, SILVER SURFER, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, and so much more. Enjoy a chat with red hot writer Matthew Rosenberg (1:13:13) and then head on over to the west coast where Christine and Eric give you a thorough report on the latest movie and TV news (1:54:45). We close it all out with your questions and comments answered (2:10:06)!

Feast your eyes on an exclusive look from TALES OF SUSPENSE courtesy of Matthew Rosenberg and editor Alanna Smith!

Download episode #313 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel!

This Week in Marvel will focus on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Friday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Marvel.com Editor Eric Goldman, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes!  Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM@BenJMorse@chrissypedia or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Lee, Williamson, Heck, Buscema, and Ditko bring the sci-fi frights!

Every day this month, a new supernatural character or story from the Marvel Universe gets a spooky spotlight leading up to Halloween!

While comics have always provided some of the most strange and wonderful visual storytelling around, at times they’ve taken certain cues from other popular entertainment—like scary movies and sci-fi serials. And those kind of stories filled a series of classic Marvel anthologies including STRANGE TALES, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, and TALES OF SUSPENSE.

For the inaugural Marvel Spooklight of 2017, we focus on 1959’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #1—edited by Stan Lee with art by Al Williamson, Don Heck, John Buscema, Larry Lieber, and Steve Ditko…some of the all-time great artists featured in one single comic.

Opening the Don Heck cover, the first story “The Strangers from Space!” took place in the far future—the year 2000—and posited a solar system conquered by the planet Earth. Presuming themselves to be the only sentient creatures around, humanity got a fright when an unidentified flying object appeared and began surveying various local planets.

In fear of what the aliens might do next, the U.S. military fired on the craft. In response, a humanoid creature emerged from the alien ship and announced that that merely needed a pit stop. Soon, however, the aliens revealed that they actually used hypnotic shields to hide their actual, more frightening forms. When they finally departed, the visitor stated that they hoped mankind would be more accepting when they would return in several hundred years.

Next in the issue, Don Heck illustrated a piece called “I Dared Explore the Unknown Emptiness!” Set in 2478, this story saw several space crews searching for planets to help combat Earth’s overpopulation problem. Air Force Colonel Frank Stevens and his crew braved a planet called Atavisius, where they faced hungry dinosaurs, a harrowing meteor shower, and angry metallic denizens. Despite their failed mission, Stevens gave an impassioned ending speech about taking responsibility for overpopulation and using human intelligence to find another solution.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #1

Tales of Suspense (1959) #1

  • Published: January 01, 1959
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 17, 2007
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Don Heck
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Following that, John Buscema drew a quick story called “The Day I Left My Body!” After a scuffle at a prison, an inmate named Wells saw his spirit emerge from his body and begin to watch the scene. While in his phantom state, Wells realized he had the ability to control the mind of a visiting lawyer—and after returning to his body, the prisoner realized that this power remained. He pushed the lawyer to get him his release, though he tried too hard—and caused the lawyer to lose focus, and thus the case, sending Wells back to the prison for good.

Larry Lieber pencilled the next installment, “He Fled in the Night,” which took place, rather than in the future, in the past. This story, set in 1717, found a man dreaming of a life more exciting than his own nine-to-five office existence. The man quit his job to set sail on a ship…and in the last panel was revealed to be none other than Robinson Crusoe!

Finally, Steve Ditko brought this issue to a close with the story “Prisoner of the Satellites!” A character named Mark Coren innocently walked through the night when, suddenly, a series of meteorites crashed around him—with chunks of stone then turning and revolving around his body, shrinking him in the process. As a radical remedy, a group of scientists launched Mark into space to utilize nearby cosmic rays that might help reverse the process. Thanks to a series of trips around the Earth, nearby aliens—who had launched the meteors as a test—realized that this planet should not be explored further and left to conquer other planets.

At times more sci-fi than horror, these stories still dug into a few of humanity’s perennial fears.

Fright Fact

TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 introduced Iron Man—and by issue #59, the Armored Avengers got a new partner: Captain America. The two heroes then shared the book until issue #99, when they each scored their own series—with CAPTAIN AMERICA carrying on the numbering from Suspense while IRON MAN launched with a brand-new issue #1.

Tune in tomorrow for another Halloween Spooklight!

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Ulik, MODOK and the future Adam Warlock were all part of another great year for the King.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

By 1967, Marvel editor Stan Lee knew exactly where to use his top artist, Jack Kirby. Together, “The Man” and “The King” whittled Jack’s output down to two main titles that year, with two main side-projects just to make things interesting. One might say it became a true “Summer of Love” between the Marvel creators and their fans at that time.

Stan and Jack continued to infuse FANTASTIC FOUR with way-out wonders and swingin’ splendors in ’67. They kicked off the year with a multi-issue tussle between the FF and Doctor Doom, and then wasted no time tossing them into a battle with the Negative Zone’s Blastaar in FANTASTIC FOUR #62, and the alien Kree Accuser named Ronin—another stand-out Kirby design—in FANTASTIC FOUR #65.

Though the fans might’ve been unaware of the history-making events occurring in FANTASTIC FOUR #67, Stan and Jack introduced another great concept in that issue’s “Him.” Jack’s visuals on the golden-skinned godling seemed a bit subdued and minimalistic, perhaps, but the character continued on to transform into Adam Warlock a few years later, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic yet engaging stars.

In the pages of THOR, Jack’s other blockbuster assignment, the Thunder God met his physical equal in Ulik the Troll in THOR #137, Kang and his Growing Man in THOR #140, and the Kirby tour-de-force of the Super-Skrull in THOR #142. Thor himself suffered under an almost-complete loss of his Asgardian powers in THOR #145, allowing Jack the opportunity to portray the majesty and grandeur of the character in an Earth-bound, civilian-dressed form.

After a break from Captain America’s adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, Jack returned to the strip along with Stan in TALES OF SUSPENSE #92 to kick off a storyline that illustrated the great depth of feeling from Cap for Agent-13, one of Nick Fury’s valued S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After that, Cap met MODOK, surely the most unique Jack Kirby-designed character of the entire year, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #94, and temporarily retired to try and live a “normal life” in TALES OF SUSPENSE #95.

Apart form all the danger and drama delineated by Jack in 1967, he also poked some fun at himself and the rest of the Marvel pantheon through Stan’s latest brainchild, NOT BRAND ECHH, a comedy-parody mag. Utilizing Jack sparingly, but effectively, Stan included his star artist on the introduction of the Silver Burper in NOT BRAND ECHH #1, Sore, Son of Shmodin in NOT BRAND ECHH #3, and the ever-lovin’ origin of none other than Forbush-Man in NOT BRAND ECHH #5. What a way to go-go!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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A trio of takes on the Sentinel of Liberty from his co-creator!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

During Jack Kirby’s decades-long career he certainly created a number of memorable characters, but none can match Captain America when it comes to longevity. Along with his partner Joe Simon and the talented artists who worked for them, Kirby delivered CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 to Timely Comics in 1941 and continued working on the series through issue #10. During that time, Kirby not only drew Steve Rogers’ origin as the Army reject who wound up becoming the symbol of all things American when given the Super Soldier Serum, he additionally introduced the likes of Bucky and The Red Skull.

As later established in AVENGERS #4, Bucky died thanks to a plot by Baron Zemo that also left Cap floating through the ocean in a block of ice. He remained there until 1965 when Kirby teamed up with Stan Lee—who also contributed to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS—to reintroduce the Sentinel of Liberty to a new generation of readers! The thawed out Super Soldier quickly became a stalwart member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

After bringing Steve Rogers back, Lee and Kirby decided to tell even more Cap stories, this time in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE, starting with #58. While some of these adventures took place in the present, others drew on some of that raw material from the first run of Cap comics and retold them for a new audience, complete with new art that showed off how Kirby’s work had evolved in that time.

TALES OF SUSPENSE gave way to CAPTAIN AMERICA #100 in 1968. Between the two books, Kirby helped introduce characters like Batroc, Doctor Faustus, Sharon Carter, The Falcon, Peggy Carter, M.O.D.O.K., and more. Kirby drew the series through issue #109, and then returned for #112, which he reportedly drew in 24 hours.

In the mid-70s, “The King” returned to the castle he helped build and did one more stint with his bravest of knights: Captain America. Kirby took over as writer-artist-editor of the title with 1976’s #193. Without missing a beat, he launched the Avenger and his partner Falcon directly into classic adventures like “Madbomb,” which dealt with the dangers of weaponized hate.

During this time, Kirby created one of Erik Larsen’s favorite moments during “The Swine,” not to mention the still-relevant Arnim Zola. Ultimately, the King’s reign on CAPTAIN AMERICA would come to a close with 1977’s issue #214, leaving behind not one or two, but three legendary runs on the character!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Two of the Fantastic Four tie the knot, Hulk fights Thor, plus more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Even a casual Marvel reader in 1965 might’ve believed that Jack Kirby worked on every single issue of every single title the House of Ideas published that year. The truth of it stands as something less than that, but Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee knew a good thing and ensured Jack’s presence across the line in varied ways, and with a concentration where the Kirby touch would bring comic book gold.

First and foremost, Lee and Kirby’s flagship book remained Jack’s true focus at the midpoint of the 1960s. In FANTASTIC FOUR #32, after a battle with the strange android Dragon Man, Reed Richards received the answer he’d hoped for from his marriage proposal to Sue Storm, setting up one of the true monumental moments in comic history: the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 that summer.

Not to rest on their laurels, Stan and Jack also introduced the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #36, brought Daredevil in for a guest-spot in FANTASTIC FOUR #39, and following Gorgon’s introduction in FANTASTIC FOUR #44, unveiled their next big idea, the incredible Inhumans, in FANTASTIC FOUR #45 to round out the year.

Over in Thor’s universe, Jack illustrated one of the greatest clashes of comics, the Thor-Hulk match fans clamored for, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112, as well as designing a villain for the ages, Absorbing Man, for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114. In addition, Jack’s images of the robotic Destroyer impressed fans in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, but perhaps the real stand-out moment of the year in Thor’s world came in the introduction of Greek demi-god Hercules into the ongoing drama in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ANNUAL #1.

Jack’s penciling duties for 1965 also extended into Captain America’s solo series in TALES OF SUSPENSE. For the first part of the year he produced covers and simple layouts for others to follow, but for his and Stan’s powerful team-up between Cap and Nick Fury in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, he provided full interior art. From there, the duo planted dynamite under Cap’s world with the return of The Red Skull in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, and the amazing Cosmic Cube saga beginning in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Speaking of Nick Fury, Jack’s visions of technological wonders expanded exponentially when he and Stan promoted the sergeant into their newest concept, S.H.I.E.L.D., in the landmark STRANGE TALES #135. For the next several issues of the mag, Jack would do layouts and covers, helping guide his former World War II star into the Swingin’ Sixties.

Jack relinquished penciling chores on AVENGERS in 1965, but also helped out with layouts and covers, same as with SGT. FURY and TALES TO ASTONISH. Over in UNCANNY X-MEN he worked to illustrate the memorable meeting of the young mutants and the Avengers to fruition in X-MEN #9, and introduce the savage Ka-Zar in X-MEN #10.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Tony Stark builds his very first armor as the legend begins!

Dive into one of Iron Man’s most iconic adventures on Marvel Unlimited every day with Stark Week!

Tony Stark looks pretty good for a guy who’s been kicking around since his first appearance in 1963’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #39. That classic issue by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Don Heck introduces the world to the wealthy playboy weaponsmith who eventually proves himself as one of the greatest heroes in the galaxy!

Developing transistors to help the American government fight the Vietnam War, Stark thinks he’s helping out boys, but winds up in trouble himself after heading over to see his inventions in action. Little does Stark know that his trip to South Vietnam will lead him into a booby-trapped explosion that nearly kills him and the clutches of the evil General Wong-Chu.

Held by Wong-Chu and suffering from shrapnel all around his heart, Stark agrees to build a weapon for the villain. Realizing he’s nearing the end of his days, Tony instead plans to develop something to take his captors out. Soon joined by the dissident Professor Yinsen, a genius in the field of physics, the two scientists join forces and use transistor technology to create the armor that keeps the shrapnel from moving any closer to Tony’s heart.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #39

Tales of Suspense (1959) #39

  • Published: March 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: February 28, 2008
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

To buy Stark time as the suit charges up, the professor fakes an escape attempt that leads to his death. Thanks to the sacrifice, the newly minted Iron Man uses a few spare moments to take the suit for a brief test spin before facing off against Wong-Chu and his soldiers.

In addition to his augmented strength, Iron Man also utilizes magnets, air pressure jets, suction cups, electrical interference, a mini buzz saw, and ultimately a flame gun to take out the enemy. He then frees his fellow prisoners and walks off into the jungle wondering, “As for Iron Man, that metallic hulk who once was Anthony Stark…who knows what destiny awaits him? Time alone will provide the answer! Time alone…”

Hacking the System

After reading the first appearance, it seems like the writers toyed with making it so that Tony Stark could not remove any parts of his gray armor and would be stuck in there for the foreseeable future. By the next issue of TALES OF SUSPENSE, though, we see that’s not the case as our hero returns to the States, heads out with just the chest plate on and even updates the suit with a nice gold paint job thanks to a suggestion by his lady friend Marion.

Tomorrow, follow Tony as he heads down his darkest path in the classic “Demon in A Bottle” story by David Michelinie, John Romita, Jr., Bob Layton, and Carmine Infantino.

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Learn about the beginnings of Cap's archenemy!

Every day we celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives and going through some of Steve Rogers’ most thrilling adventures. Happy diamond anniversary Sentinel of Liberty!

Earlier this week, RED SKULL: INCARNATE took center stage as it chronicled the early days of Johann Schmidt, the man who would become Captain America’s greatest foe. Today, take a look at Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s initial take on Schmidt’s ascension to Nazi royalty as originally seen in TALES OF SUSPENSE #66-68 from 1965.

The World War II-set story kicks off with Cap tied to a chair in the clutches of the Red Skull. Instead of simply finishing off his longtime foe, the villain takes the time to fill the Star-Spangled Superstar in on his personal history.

“Lots of people had tough lives,” Cap says. “My early years were no bed of roses either! But I don’t waste time telling sob stories!” Skull responds by knocking the hero and his chair down before continuing to explain how he first met Adolf Hitler as a hotel bellboy. During that invitation, Hitler saw the young man’s hate-filled eyes and immediately commands him to become a “perfect Nazi” under the tutelage of his soldiers.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #66

Tales of Suspense (1959) #66

  • Published: June 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unimpressed with the outside training, Hitler decides to take over himself and turn Schmidt into a symbol complete with swastika-emblazoned jumpsuit, crimson mask and chill-inducing new name. Soon enough, it becomes clear that Skull recounting this information fits into a plan that allows a chemical brainwashing agent to take over Captain America’s mind!

The next two issues feature Skull presenting the mind-controlled Cap to Hitler, Bucky escaping from his own imprisonment, and an assassination attempt on a high-ranking Allied general at the hands of Captain America! The hero then reveals that he played along with the plan before heading off to stop yet another attack by the Red Skull’s minions.

Many of these TALES OF SUSPENSE issues did a great job of filling in Captain America’s WWII adventures, which many of the then-young readers missed the first time around. Seeing Kirby’s evolution since those early days combined with the whimsical and grandiose nature of Lee’s stories makes for a great history lesson.

Cap Declassified

For years, the true face of the Red Skull remained a mystery to the readers. You’ll notice during the Kirby-drawn flashbacks in these issues that you never actually see Johann Schmidt unmasked. We’re always looking at him from behind or obscured in some other way. The very first time anyone saw the face under the mask came decades later in CAPTAIN AMERICA #297 from 1985 when the aged man lifts his covering to reveal the withered visage underneath. He died not long after that, but soon returned in a body cloned from Steve Rogers!

Next time find out what Roy Thomas, Don Glut and George Tuska think would happen if Cap stayed unfrozen in WHAT IF? #5.

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Stan Lee and Jack Kirby bring back one of the most dastardly villains in the Marvel Universe!

Every day Marvel.com celebrates Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives to showcase some of his most thrilling and important adventures.

Captain America burst back onto the Silver Age scene with AVENGERS #4 and continued to appear in that book, but he also took up residence in TALES OF SUSPENSE alongside Iron Man starting with issue #58. While those stories eventually found inspiration from the old days of World War II, the book originally took place in modern times, including the return of the Red Skull as seen in #79 through #81!

Written by Stan Lee with artwork by Jack Kirby, these three issues explain that the nefarious Nazi survived thanks to a gas that left him and two of his stooges in suspended animation until they were discovered by A.I.M., an evil organization of scientists first appearing in STRANGE TALES #146.

Before realizing the Red Skull still walks the earth, Captain America thinks he’s losing his mind because the Skull secretly utilized Hypno Helmets on his agents so only Steve Rogers can see his attackers while everyone else around them remains oblivious.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #80

Tales of Suspense (1959) #80

  • Published: August 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Once he realizes who’s really behind the attacks, Captain America goes after the Skull, even though he has the reality-altering Cosmic Cube in his hands. Dedicated to stopping evil, Cap shows why he inspired thousands of soldiers during the war as he fights a battle no one’s sure he can win.

“It’s inconceivable! He’s become the ultimate enemy – the ultimate force of evil,” Rogers thinks while fighting the Skull, especially after the villain explains that he wants to take over the entire world and make all humans battle for his entertainment.

To show his power, the Red Skull dons golden armor to face Cap himself, but ultimately fails when the hero knocks the Cube into the water with a thrust of his mighty shield. The action seemingly kills the bad guy while leaving the powerful device at the bottom of the sea until another day.

Cap Declassified   

Not only does TALES OF SUSPENSE #79 explain how Red Skull survived to modern days, but also introduces the Marvel Universe to the Cosmic Cube, an all-powerful item that seems to follow Cap throughout the years. The Skull fashioned a number of these devices over time, most of which were destroyed by the star-spangled hero. However, one was cobbled together in the pages of Ed Brubaker’s “Winter Soldier” saga that eventually had incredible ramifications for the Star-Spangled Avenger.

Return next time to find out how Captain America reacted when his old pal Bucky Barnes returned as the Winter Soldier in Ed Brubaker’s first year of CAPTAIN AMERICA. 

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