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When Did The Outer Ring on Captain America's Shield Change to Red?

In "When We First Met," we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Today, based on a suggestion from my pal, Avash I., we look at the oddly convoluted history of when Captain America's shield went from blue outer rings to red outer rings.

Of course, Captain America debuted with a triangular shield...

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But then MLJ Comics threatened a lawsuit over the fact that the shield looked just like the chest emblem of their superhero character, the Shield, so Timely changed Cap's shield to a round one...

As you can see, the outer rings are blue, not red.

Interestingly, comic book covers have always (well, maybe not nowadays, but for DECADES) colored differently from the interior colors, so the colors sometimes don't match, so the shield on the cover would occasionally have red outer rings...

while still being blue inside...

Sometimes, just sort of rushed coloring jobs left the rings uncolored...

Finally, Captain America Comics #34 saw the shield's outer rings be red for the first time...

Although, the next issue again had white outer rings...

Captain America Comics #37 was funny because now the COVER had blue outer rings on the shield...

while the interiors had a red outer ring...

You would think that this would be the answer, but then in Captain America Comics #40, the blue outer rings returned...

And they would remain for the next THREE YEARS, which brings into question whether the rings changed from blue to red just by accident.

Finally, in the last few issues of Cap's ongoing series, the rings were all over the place...

When Cap had a brief return in the 1950s, it was with red outer rings...

Although, do note that artist John Romita also drew the shield entirely different inside...

So really, it was not until Cap made his Silver Age debut that the official design of the shield was set, first with Cap's fake cameo in Strange Tales #114 (testing the waters for Cap's REAL return)...

and then his REAL return in Avengers #4...

The shield has been colored fairly consistently ever since.

Thanks to Avash for the question!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that they'd like to see spotlighted, just drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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