Captain America #129
Issue(s): Captain America #129
Here's a view of Cap's bike from the side:
This issue's plot involves a bizarre scheme by the Red Skull to attack Cap and King Hassab, "of the oil-rich Irabia".
The scheme is executed well enough, with some misdirection to separate Hassab from his American military escorts and some coordination to get Cap and Hassab in the same town at the same time. I just don't really understand the point of it. The Skull intends to launch Hassab into space in a rocket, which will "plunge mankind into war". Ok, i guess.
In the end, it's the Skull who winds up in the rocket anyway.
I'm not sure why the king of Irabia is going on the good-will tour of the midwest. Did stuff like that actually happen?
Nice art by Colan. This isn't one of Stan Lee's most innovative plots, though.
In issue #133, there's a letter asking if this period was inspired by the movie Easy Rider.
Marvel doesn't answer directly, but surely it was. Peter Fonda's character was nicknamed Captain America, and he had the bike below (click to go to a site describing its origins).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Avengers #79-80.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This Cap-on-a-bike took some heat back then as being a ripoff of the "Search for America" stories at the start of Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams' "Green Lantern/Green Arrow".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 20, 2011 10:53 PM
I think Cap having a motorcycle is a wonderful addition to the character, and am disappointed not more is done with it. However, it's not because of the Easy Rider connection. I always associate Cap's cycle with the one best associated in WWII in my mind - the bike Steve McQueen used in The Great Escape. I also think that Cap's fondness for his motorcycle is a good way to offset the "boy scout" image he sometimes gets. It makes him seem a lot more tougher while not ruining the qualities that make him Marvel's conscience.
Posted by: Chris | August 22, 2013 1:00 AM
I feel Cap was pretty cardboard for a long time, I mean at least Stan had Sharon stick up for herself, and while this period isn't well written, it is nice seeing Steve question himself. I don't think they really got it right until Steve Englehart took over, fantastic Captain America writer but horrible Falcon writer.
Posted by: David Banes | November 27, 2013 4:16 AM
This has to be one of the Red Skull's most embarrassing appreances, as this is a "one and done" plot that centres around a loony tune manouver. (Well, except maybe when he learnt archery)
Posted by: kveto | October 1, 2016 3:14 PM
I agree about the value of the motorcycle. It gives a distinctive trait, especially before Ghost Rider.
Posted by: JTI88 | October 2, 2016 6:14 AM
I had caught the Easy Rider connection, but previously overlooked the similarity between Cap on motorcycles in the 1960s, and Steve McQueen in The Great Escape (1963 film). I'm guessing Jack Kirby, and/or Stan Lee, probably didn't miss it though. Did Captain America often use a motorcycle in the 1940s? I haven't read enough of the old Timely stuff to know.
The Great Escape also inspired the '60s TV comedy Hogan's Heroes, which I loved, but which my father, a WW II veteran, hated. He just said Nazis weren't that funny and walked away shaking his head... not a big fan of TV anyway.
Posted by: James Holt | October 3, 2017 11:58 PM
I've only read a handful of Cap's Golden Age stories, so I can't say how often he and Bucky rode motorcycles. I found covers showing them riding or leaping off motorcycles on CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #27 and #41, ALL-WINNERS COMICS #12, ALL SELECT COMICS #4, and USA COMICS #16. That might not be all.
The imagery might go back to "Spy Ambush" in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #10. I think that story's splash was the partial model for CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #27'S cover.
"Kill Captain America!" from MEN'S ADVENTURES #28 is set in Korea and starts with Steve and Bucky on a motorcycle in their soldier identities.
MYSTIC COMICS #10 has a Destroyer motorcycle cover.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 4, 2017 3:02 AM
Thanks Luke, I was hoping somebody here might know. That's a pretty good-size selection already. Maybe the Great Escape's writers got some of their ideas from reading old Captain America stories! Kirby lives! He is an immortal after all.
Posted by: James Holt | October 4, 2017 3:15 AM
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