Essential Seven WWII-Era Comic Book Patriots Without Cool Movie Adaptations

Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters today. Created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Captain America wore his patriotism on his sleeve (not to mention his chest, head, shield, and pirate boots) and did his bit to save the world from the Axis Powers. And, after years of waiting (and one crappy movie starring the son of J. D. Salinger for Pete’s sake!), we’re finally getting a Cap movie! Of course, Captain America was not the only WWII-era freedom fighter. There were a host of others who hit the front lines. However, unlike Cap, most of them will never be seen on the big screen. Some are forgotten, some are ridiculous, but all of them make up the Essential Seven WWII-Era Comic Book Patriots Without Cool Movie Adaptations! Click below to check them out.

7. Spy Smasher

While Captain America has a name that is…well, American, it is open enough to work in many time periods. As a solider and hero, it seems believable for Cap to fight both Nazis and futuristic robots to save America. Fawcett’s Spy Smasher, on the other hand, has a name that is much more specific. Donning a cap, goggles, and a cape, Alan Armstrong didn’t just battle spies he smashed ’em!  Out of work when the war ended, he changed his name to the uninspired “Crime Smasher.” Sure, Republic Pictures produced a hyper-kinetic movie serial in 1942, and there is a new female Spy Smasher featured in Birds of Prey, but  a big screen adaptation most likely will not smash its way into theaters any time soon.

6. The Destroyer

Talk about specific names. The Destroyer: Enemy of Dictators didn’t mess around. Dressed like a devil in, well, the best pants ever, The Destroyer battled the Nazis deep behind enemy lines. One of the earliest creations of Stan “The Man” Lee, The Destroyer was actually Keen Marlow, who received a less stable version of the Super Soldier Serum. After the war, I believe he became The Accountant: Auditor of Dictators and Low-Level Drug Lords. Sorry, Stan. I don’t think you’re going to be getting a call to put in a cameo in Destroyer: Ass Kicker of Dictators The Movie.

5. The Shield

Have you ever read a Captain America comic and thought, “This is great, but I wish I could see his hair”? If so, then The Shield is for you! Actually, The Shield pre-dated Cap and a host of other patriotic avengers. However, he is usually seen as a well-coiffed imitation. Secretly, he’s G-Man Jack Higgins, because, yeah, being a G-man doesn’t let you fight crime or anything. But, it’s on the level, folks, as J. Edgar Hoover was in on the secret. Higgins perfected a secret formula for super strength. S.H.I.E.L.D. actually stands for Sacrum, Heart, Innervation, Eyes, lungs, and Derma, the parts of the body affected by the formula. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? “There are Nazi spies on the pier! Quick, call Sacrum, Heart, Innervation, Eyes, Lungs, and Derma–The Shield!”

4. Bulletman and Bulletgirl

Looking for a romantic gesture for an upcoming anniversary or the next Valentine’s Day? Well, try following in the footsteps of Jim Barr. He developed a Gravity Regulator helmet that could deflect bullets and allow him to fly. Making another one for his girlfriend, Susan Kent, they became Bulletman and Bulletgirl and went off to fight the Nazis. Ahhh, young love!

3. The Fighting Yank

Director Joe Johnston and his design team did a great job turning Cap’s suit into something that looks like it could have actually existed in the time period. Not only does it look functional and realistic, but it also looks cool with all of the straps and pockets. If someone were to ever make a movie featuring Richard Hughes and Jon Blummer’s The Fighting Yank, they would have one hell of a task designing an adaptation of the costume. A tri-corner hat doesn’t really work in any scenario. Hell, they barely work in Revolutionary War movies. While I do smile at the thought of Nick Cage as the Fighting Yank, pummeling Nazis and throwing out zippy one-liners with a straight face, it seems that the Fighting Yank doesn’t have a fighting chance.

2. Rusty Ryan

Good old Rusty Ryan was just your average 40s teenager living in Boyville, a community for orphaned boys supervised by a retired sailor named Cappy Jenks. With only a winning smile and some sweet Judo moves, Rusty recruited his friend Smiley and donned a patriotic costume to fight spies, criminals, and saboteurs. Let the inappropriate/creepy jokes begin!

1. Uncle Sam

Okay, that’s just Uncle Sam (Editor’s note: Tate put about the same level of thought into writing this entry that the writers of National Comics put into the Uncle Sam feature).


The Essential Seven is a weekly list of seven items that we at believe needs to be identified. Want our opinion on a topic for a future list? Email Lando Da Pimp. Don’t agree with our list? Then leave a comment. We will try not to laugh at your dumb opinion! 😉

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