All-American hero and comic book curator, Craig Yoe is a favorite of Forces of Geek and has a new book out, Super Patriotic Heroes.
This collection features a number of comic stories from World War II which showcase the the true role models of the patriotic ideal. In other words, Nazi bashing crimefighters!
Starting with The Shield and followed by Captain America, a whole battalion of red, white, and blue heroes appeared on the four-color page to help fight the Nazis. Their fascinating history and their stirring tales will both entertain and inspire new generations. Among the heroic crimefighters profiled are Miss America, The Fighting Yank, Super-American, U.S. Jones, Captain Freedom, Lady Liberty, Major Victory, American Eagle, and Captain Victory.
Craig took some time to discuss what makes a patriotic hero, why they resonated and his upcoming projects.
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FOG!: In your new book, Super Patriotic Heroes, you discuss the origins of Uncle Sam and then reveal that the first comic book patriotic hero was Pep Comic’s The Shield which first appeared in January 1940. Superman’s debut in 1938 jump started the super-hero industry. As depicted by creators Siegel and Shuster, Superman was an American hero. What, in your opinion, defines a patriotic hero?
CRAIG YOE: Hi Stefan, it’s good to talk to you again! Certainly Superman was an American and very patriotic in his early days, but this book is about flag-drenched SUPER patriots. As contrasted to Superman there is even one red, white and blue star-spangled super patriot in this new book called Super-American! Superman looks like a pinko commie next to him and these other super flag wearers and wavers.
Uncle Sam, The Shield and Captain America were popular characters and have existed beyond WWII. Why do you think these particular characters resonated where others didn’t?
Many of the super patriotic heroes in Super Patriot Heroes passed out of view after World War II. The Nazis and the super villain Adolph Hitler were a heinous scourge in real life, and guys and gals in long johns fighting them in fantasy did sell a battleship load of American comic books! The industry survived the post-war downturn but the smaller companies and their heroes were forgotten veterans.
The Shield and Captain America had big companies behind them, Archie and Marvel, so they kept on trucking. The Shield, the first comic book super patriotic hero (Captain America was a knock-off), has really only continued in brief revivals. Captain America hasn’t always been big on the scene post WWII. It was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby that really made him a thing again during the superhero resurgence in the 60s.
Do you think the country’s cynicism makes the concept of a patriotic hero obsolete?
Obsolete? Are you MAD?!?! 😉We need them more than ever! 😊 There are neo-Nazis and racist Klan-types marching in our streets and the President called some of those marchers “fine people”!
Today we need some heroes of the patriot persuasion to stand against that kind of wrong-headed thinking and stand tall for core American ideals like equality, the welcoming immigrants, freedom, quality education for all, the protecting of the environment, and the health and well being of our citizens! God bless America!
If you could pick one forgotten patriotic hero that deserves a resurgence who would it be and why?
USA The Spirit of Old Glory. She’s cool!
What do you have coming up?
Stefan, besides making a timely statement, Super Patriot Heroes was, in part, inspired by the immense success of our first super hero book, Super Weird Heroes: Outrageous But Real. That was a brick-thick book full comic book stories of the wackiest most bizarro heroes of the Golden Age of comics. Coming out in the next couple of weeks is a sequel, Super Weird Heroes Preposterous But True, with The Eye (a giant eye), The Bouncer, Pat Parker War Nurse, yes, a nurse in a very abbreviated superhero nurse’s outfit that fights Nazis,. There is well over 30 more super weird heroes in full bizarro stories! And it’s all introduced by a bizarro super weird hero of mine, Gene Simmons of Kiss!!!
Super Patriotic Heroes is available now!
For more details, visit Yoe Books!