There are very few comic books in American history that have the historical importance of Captain America Comics #1. This late-1940 Marvel Comics release is of course the first appearance of Captain America, a character who has become the cornerstone of one of the world's most successful media franchises. It's also the first appearance of important villain the Red Skull, and Cap's sidekick Bucky Barnes. The classic cover of Captain America punching Hitler is more iconic than ever, and the comic was created by one of the most acclaimed creative teams of all time in Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Al Lieberman inked this issue, with Howard Ferguson on lettering. Perpetually one of the most sought-after comic books in American comics history, there is a high-grade Captain America Comics #1 CGC 8.5 closing today at the 2021 January 14 – 17 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction at Heritage Auctions.
Of course, the timing of the release of this issue cements its historic legacy. According to the Library of Congress Catalog of Copyright Entries for Periodicals, Captain America Comics #1 was released around December 20, 1940. World War II had begun over a year prior, and Simon & Kirby were likely developing the character directly in the wake of the Battle of Britain. Paris had fallen to the Nazis that June. The U.S. did not formally enter the war until nearly a year after the release of Captain America Comics #1. But Hitler was already engaging in a propaganda war with America. As Joe Simon would later say about the United States' inevitable entry into the war, "The opponents to the war were all quite well organized. We wanted to have our say too."
The character had an immediate impact. It would appear that there were children dressing up as Captain America by the following October. By the next year, the character was being mentioned in the same breath as Superman and Tarzan, and by 1943, Captain America had made the jump to film.
The CGC Census has 87 entries for Captain America Comics #1, with three of those listed at CGC 8.5 and only 5 listed in higher grades. As of this posting, it appears that this copy may be headed for a new record price for this issue in any grade — and for good reason. Copies this nice just don't come up for sale very often. This one is closing later today at the 2021 January 14 – 17 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction at Heritage Auctions.
Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941) CGC VF+ 8.5 Off-white pages. Sensational copy of one of the most sought-after Golden Age comics of all! The Joe Simon/Jack Kirby cover image of Captain America socking it to Adolf Hitler made this one an instant classic in 1941, months before the US entered World War II. The issue has the origin and first appearance of Cap, his young sidekick Bucky, and his arch nemesis, the Red Skull. It ranks #7 on Overstreet's Top 100 Golden Age Comics list. How exceptional is this copy? In our 19 years of auctioning comic books, we've sold a higher-graded copy on just two occasions! Overstreet 2020 VF 8.0 value = $191,100; VF/NM 9.0 value = $313,700. CGC census 1/21: 3 in 8.5, 6 higher.