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How the World Forgot Captain America's Secret Identity the First Time

In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

Today, based on a suggestion from my pal, Fraser S., we look at how Marvel got the genie back into the bottle when they revealed Captain America's secret identity in the late 1960s.

Earlier tonight, I wrote about the reason Marvel came up with to write Captain America out of the Avengers (as Stan Lee didn't want the Avengers to have any of the more popular Marvel characters, as they didn't need the attention boost from appearing in a team book. Lee wanted that attention to go the less popular characters in the hopes that they could BECOME more popular and maybe get books of their own...well, at least I assume that that was his intention).

The whole thing began in Tales of Suspense #95 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott), when Captain America decides to retire from crimefighting so that he can devote himself to a life with his girlfriend, Agent 13. As part of his retirement, he decides to reveal his secret identity to the world...

Okay, man, I can't get over how bad of an idea this was (not for the storytellers, that is, not necessarily, but I mean for Cap himself).

First off, the next issue has a bunch of people try to fill in for Cap and they all almost get themselves killed and finally, Cap decides to un-retire at the end of the issue...

Think about that - he decided to put himself at permanent risk by revealing his secret identity (which, if he was going to retire, why would he want people to know who he was? Wouldn't he want to be left alone?) but then it turns out that he doesn't even stay retired for a single issue!

In the next issue, we learn that, since criminals now know where he lives, Cap's life is constantly in danger...

But here's the capper to this list of dumb moves by Cap. He thinks about his love, Agent 13...

Yes, that's right, dude retired and revealed his identity to the world so that he could marry...someone whose name he doesn't even know!

And then, the ultimate bit...she didn't retire from being a secret agent!

So he retired from being a superhero to be with a woman whose name he doesn't know and who he didn't bother to check to see if she she was also planning on retiring from their shared dangerous lifestyle! What a rube!

Okay, so fast forward to Jim Steranko's short run on Captain America in Captain America #111 (script by Stan Lee and inks by Joe Sinnott), we see that Steve Rogers' identity being public means that he is constantly at risk...

So at the end of the issue, Cap is seemingly killed, but when they dredge his body they find a Steve Rogers face mask!!

In Captain America #113 (with Tom Palmer now on inks), the world now believes that Steve Rogers WASN'T Captain America...

And at the end of the issue, Cap is happy about his identity being a secret again...

However, since Steranko left the book at this point, they never got around to actually coming up with a NEW secret identity for Cap, so now he was just walking around as Steve Rogers without anyone noticing.

Luckily, someone had an explanation for why no one noticed...

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