Why Captain America Had to Leave the Avengers for the First Time

This is a feature called "Beg Steal or Borrow," which is about when comic book characters are abruptly pulled from one book to another. I'm not talking about when comic book characters simply migrate from one title to another (I spotlight examples of that in my feature, "Looks Like I'm Moving"). I mean examples where a writer has a character taken out of the book against their wishes. It almost always happens in team books, but sometimes it occurs in solo titles, as well.

Today, we look at how Captain America was pulled from the Avengers for the first time (and we're not talking all those brief break-ups the Avengers had during Cap's Kooky Quartet days, I mean a REAL departure from the team).

As you likely know, when the Avengers debuted in 1963, the team consisted of four heroes who currently starred in their own ongoing feature in one of Marvel's anthology books at the time (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor and Iron Man) and one hero who had just lost his own ongoing series (the Hulk).

However, while the original idea was to promote the characters who had their own features, Stan Lee soon changed his mind on what the direction of the book should be.

It began with the addition of Captain America to the team in the fourth issue of the book...

Very quickly, the new Avenger (and the former star character from the Golden Age of Comics) popped up in Iron Man's comic book series, Tales of Suspense...

and became a regular feature in that book, with the two heroes splitting the comic (initially, Iron Man just shared Tales of Suspense with other unrelated back-up stories)....

Stan Lee decided that he wanted Avengers to spotlight lesser-known characters that DIDN'T have their own series, led by Captain America, so Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man and the Wasp all left the team...

Of course, the odd thing was that Captain America remained on the book despite having his own feature, as well.

Well, after Roy Thomas took over writing duties on the Avengers from Stan Lee, he learned that he had to lose Cap, as well. Thomas later reflected, "As I’ve oft reported, Stan made me take Captain America out of THE AVENGERS, and wouldn’t let me bring him, Thor, and/or Iron Man back on a regular basis… till after a few years I just did it without asking, and he accepted the situation."

How, though, was Captain America written out of the Avengers for the first time? The "real" reason is that Stan wanted him out of the book, but what in-story reason did Thomas come up with?

1 2
Dark Multiverse Azrael Saint Batman
Saint Batman: Who Is the Dark Multiverse's Caped Crusader?

More in CBR Exclusives