MARVEL COMIC #444: Captain America Comics #52
DATE: January 1946
PUBLISHER: Complete Photo Story Corp.
CONTENTS: Cover by Alex Schomburg; “The Case Of The Telepathic Typewriter” (Captain America story), written by Bill Finger, pencilled and maybe inked by Vince Alascia; “The Cat-Man” (Human Torch story), drawn by Allen Bellman; “Future Alliance” (text story); “The Hermit’s Heritage!!” (Captain America story), maybe written by Bill Finger, pencilled by Vince Alascia, inked by Al Gabriele. Editor: Stan Lee.
CREATOR NOTES: Allen Bellman draws this month’s Human Torch story, and Al Gabriele comes on board for a couple of issues to help out with inks.
I think this might be a sweet spot: the cookie-cutter WWII stories are done forever, but nobody’s quite sure what else to do with superheroes yet, so we’re getting quirky, experimental stories until things settle down. It won’t last long, but for now, things are interesting.
In the first Captain America story (a two-parter), an author creates a radio show about a monster with the bizarrely unimaginative name Am.
Does Joss Whedon know about this?
Am becomes a hit— such a hit that he comes to life. Know how? So many people listened to the radio show that the combined energy of their thought waves made Am real. Yep, that’s the entire explanation. In an era when seemingly mystical villains were usually unmasked as Scooby-Doo-style villains, Bill Finger casually drops thought-wave energy-manifestations into a story as if it requires no justification.
Do Alan Moore and Grant Morrison know about this?
Am, who’s more or less an archetypal hunchback-type monster, can’t be stopped by weapons, because “nothing physical can destroy an idea!”. Pretty heady for 1945. Am falls in with some gangsters and goes the usual monster route of trying to make a girl love him, until finally, Cap and Bucky land on a simple solution to Am’s problems: since he exists only as a fictional character, he can simply be rewritten to be handsome. Everybody wins. I’m making this story sound cooler than it is— but still, I’ll take more stories like this.
In the second Captain America story, a hobo turns out to be a formerly successful artist, which leads to all sorts of goofy criminal scheming and a bunch of hobos going on a field trip to a museum. Meanwhile, the Human Torch and Toro fight Cat-Man— basically a male Catwoman, making him one of the rare codenamed supervillain types to have appeared at Marvel so far.