With Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of D-Day earlier this year, and Fourth of July just passed, I think this is the perfect time for my next list that makes cents. Let us focus on what makes these holidays so important. No! I do not mean beer, brats, dogs, burgers and grilling. I mean remembering what makes this country so great, and the huge sacrifices that people have given over the years so we could enjoy the above-listed food.
What starts that patriotic heart pumping? A symbol that inspires us to put forth and show our patriotic pride. Below are what I consider the top 9 flag comic book covers. While there are decent amounts of flag covers, I think the striking imagery of these specific ones makes them the best. All are from the Golden Age, a time when we as a country came together to defeat an evil greater than the world had ever seen before.
#9) National Comics #9 (Quality, 1941)
What’s worse than Uncle Sam opening that can of whoop%@#% (censored) on you? Uncle Sam opening that can, and then hitting you, while holding someone on his shoulders while carrying the Stars and Stripes! Oh and also bringing his closest friends to join the ruckus! Every time I see this cover, I find a new flag! I am assuming the ones that show flags but not the Stars and Stripes are American flags, but since you can’t see details I am not going to say they are. Regardless, I think this book hit the flag record! I cannot be certain there are any other comics out there that have as many on the cover. Or as much action. What a striking cover!
#8) Man of War #1 (Centaur, 1941)
If you have never seen this book, it is no surprise. We have only sold one in the last twelve years. Centaur books are super difficult to find, and this one is no exception. The print date of this was November of 1941, weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I would say this was a bit prophetic, wouldn’t you?
#7) Master Comics #40 (Fawcett Publications, 1943)
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book. I LOATH the image of Captain Marvel Jr here. He looks like a ventriloquist dummy to me, and I feel like Jeff Dunham is hiding around the corner to start cracking jokes (ok that would be cool and Jeff if you see this… HUGE FAN). On the other hand, the background is so inspiring to me; I can almost look past Jr looking like he’s a painted up wooden dummy hell-bent on world domination.
#6) Captain Marvel Jr. #9 (Fawcett Publications, 1943)
Now THIS is a Captain Marvel Jr flag cover I can get behind. Most Raboy covers are great, but this one to me is exceptional. One can almost hear the music when looking at this cover and at the same time feel the ghosts of the fallen. As a special shout out, because of this inspiring cover, I would like to thank all those who have sacrificed so much for us. To the families who have lost loved ones, I can only console you with my gratitude. Your loved one’s sacrifice allows us to live, and while those words are small and cannot fill the hole left behind, I fully believe in them with all my heart.
#5) Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (Fawcett Publications, 1943)
Fawcett seemed to have been trying to corner the market on flag covers and patriotism. By comparison, only Superman seemed to use the iconic flag image (more on that later) as individual titles like Green Lantern, Sensation, Wonder Woman and Flash Comics bore the colors but not the flags themselves. A few things to note about this book: first, if you get one, keep it out of direct lighting. It WILL fade and it will do so rapidly without you knowing it is happening. Second, this is the first appearance of Mr. Mind. If you read my other articles, you will recognize this cover as being a very important book for that fact. Mr. Mind showed up at the end of the Shazam! movie. Look for this book to become more difficult to find at a good price as time goes on.
#4) Speed Comics #26 and #38 (Harvey, 1943 and 1945)
Speed Comics #26: It is time for a WWII history lesson, with your professor Brian W. By 1943, the allies had drawn equal to the Axis Powers and were not fighting a losing battle anymore. Having won in the African theatre and causing the Axis Powers to abandon the continent, plans for the allied invasion of Europe started. By now the writing was on the wall and even Hitler knew an invasion of Europe was imminent. The comic book propaganda machine was in full “take the fight to them” mode.
Speed Comics #38: Does the image look familiar? This is a re-imaging of one of the most famous pictures we have of the Pacific Theatre and the Japanese side of the war. Once Hitler was defeated, the war was far from over. Japan still had to answer for bombing Pearl Harbor in 1941. To make this happen, the U.S. had to strategically take Japanese controlled islands one by one in the Pacific, one of the most famous being Iwo Jima. Speed #38 shows the iconic raising of the flag during the capture of Iwo Jima by U.S. forces.
#3) All Star Comics #22 (DC, 1944)
This was the first flag cover I ever owned, and still one of my favorites. I love the background pictures of Washington and Lincoln. The deeper background color really brings the characters and flag to the forefront in almost a 3D way.
#2) America’s Best Comics #10 (Nedor Publications, 1944)
History lesson part #2. With the invasion of Normandy, France in June 1944, the allies were on their way to defeating Hitler. This book has a publication date of July ’44 so clearly, the point is to show we were on our way to marching on Germany and Japan. This is my all-time favorite flag cover and is a grail book to me. I have been looking for a copy for almost 25 years, and still, have not found one. I had my chance three years ago, but the book sold before I got to it.
#1) Superman #14 and #24 (DC, 1942 and 1943)
While #14 doesn’t technically have a flag, it gets a pass. It does have the coat of arms and an eagle. How much more patriotic can you get? Of course, as I ask that rhetorical question, you then look at #24. I think these two books go hand in hand. The flag of the United States was envisioned to be a symbol to all for freedom, democracy, and national pride. Superman was created in the same image. His name is synonymous with words like “truth”, “liberty” and “justice”. One can almost hear him crying out “Stand behind me! I will show the way!”