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When Did Captain America Become a Comic Book Artist?

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.

I think someone else asked me about this (perhaps not over e-mail? If you ask me a question not over e-mail, there is about a 78% chance that I am going to lose track of the question after the fact, so if you like getting credit, stick to e-mail. If you don't care about credit, then feel free to keep using other parts of the internet experience), but the only e-mail I have about it came from reader Neil A., who actually had a whole other angle he wanted me to look at (and I'll get to it, Neil! First this and then I'll do your suggestion)!

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Okay, everything really started after Sharon Carter "died" in the late 1970s. Captain America went through a whole bunch of different writers over the next few years before Roger Stern and John Byrne took over, but the new direction in the series was set by Chris Claremont and Roger McKenzie in Captain America #237, when Cap moves to Brooklyn and decides to really pursue a career as a commercial artist (the commercial artist idea might existed before this point, but this was when he really went for it)...

Over the next ten issues or so, there were a number of different fill-in writers, and each guy had their own particular spin on Captain America's quest for a job as a commercial artist.

Mike W. Barr introduced an interesting publisher...

but then three issues later, Roger McKenzie introduced ANOTHER interesting publisher...

When Roger Stern, John Byrne and Joe Rubinstein took over the series, they decided to re-dedicate time to Steve's career (while also introducing a new love interest)...

See how much time they spend on Cap's art job? Impressive stuff...

In their quick recap of the series, Stern and Byrne explained Cap's current job...

Okay, J.M. DeMatteis then had Steve pursue a job at an advertising agency, but the guy said something anti-Semitic, so Cap quit...

However, five issues later, Steve returns to him and begins to work for him full-time (after he apologized for his anti-Semitic comment, of course)...

Well, as things go, Cap obviously had to leave New York City for a long time and when he returns in Captain America #308 (by Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary and John Beatty), he is basically fired (oh, by the way, Bernie and Steve are now dating and she knows his secret identity)...

He knows he can probably get another advertising job, but he realizes he needs something with more flexibility.

An idea of WHAT comes to him in Captain America #310 when he sees a pair of kids talking about comics...

His insights into his own body allows him to become the ideal Captain America artist...

In the next issue, he is quickly hired by Mike Carlin (editor of Captain America at the time)...

We see later that Steve is a very fast artist, which would explain how he is able to leave on missions and still keep his job...

So there ya go! That's how Captain America became the artist on Captain America!

Now, if you're Neal and are curious about what HAPPENED to that job, well, that's a story for another day!

If anyone else has a question/suggestion for a notable comic book first, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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