Captain America has arrived at Sun City Peachtree!  For some of our residents, I’m sure he’ll bring back childhood memories of lazy summer afternoons spent reading Timely Comics’s Captain America while lounging in the shade under a tree.

The superhero dates back to March of 1941 when Timely Comics (a predecessor to Marvel Comics) released Captain America Comics #1, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  The character was designed as a patriotic super soldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II. 

Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young artist enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental “super soldier serum,” after joining the military to aid the United States in the World War II effort.  The character wears a costume bearing an American flag motif, and he utilizes a nearly-indestructible shield that he throws as a projectile. 

Joe Simon had first conceived the idea for Captain America in 1940 and made a sketch of the character in a patriotic costume.  In Simon’s autobiography, he stated, “I wrote the name ‘Super American’ at the bottom of the page.  No, it didn’t work.  There were too many ‘Supers’ around.  ‘Captain America’ had a good sound to it.  There weren’t a lot of captains in comics.  It was as easy as that.  The boy companion was simply named Bucky, after my friend Bucky Pierson, a star on our high school basketball team.”

Simon said Captain America was a consciously political creation; he and Jack Kirby were morally repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Fittingly, their first issue featured Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.  That image proved so popular that one million copies of the comic book were sold.

Not everybody was thrilled with the cover, though.  As Simon noted, “When the first issue came out we got a lot of… threatening letters and hate mail.  Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.”  The threats, which included menacing groups of people loitering out on the street outside of their offices, proved so serious that police protection was posted with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacting Simon and Kirby to give his support.

The fans outweighed the objectors, though, and Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character of the period.  The popularity of superheroes waned following the war, however, and Captain America comics was discontinued in 1950.  Marvel Comics revived it in 1964, though, and the superhero has been around ever since.  As of 2007, and estimated 210 million copies of the comics had been sold in 75 countries.

The superhero was the first Marvel Comics character to appear in media outside comics with the release of the 1944 movie serial, Captain America.  Since then, the character has been featured in other films and television series, including The Avengers, released in 2012.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my previous post about Popeye, if any more of his buddies (or enemies) came along to our community, I would let you know.  Although somebody snagged him off the bench before I got there, Bluto made a brief appearance.  The artist photographed the rock, so I could share it with you.

Bluto the Terrible is Popeye’s best-known enemy.  The brute always has a plot to get the better of his rival or strike it rich.  He’s a selfish and greedy dude, and has a devious attraction to Olive Oyl.  Popeye comes to her rescue, though, thanks to his trusty spinach, which makes him strong, powerful, and able to defeat the villain.

These beauties are a few random acts of kindness left on our neighborhood bench over the past days:


Popeye and his family have come to Sun City Peachtree to take shelter from Hurricane Ida, which is pummeling the Louisiana coast as I write.  He has abandoned his boat somewhere on the lower Mississippi, so I hope it will weather the storm ok. 

I missed the day Popeye arrived; he was snagged off the bench before I got to him.  The artist helped me out with a photo for this story.  The same happened with Wimpy.

The corn cob pipe-smokin’ sailor is actually from the upper Mississippi, in Chester Illinois.  We visited his birthplace in 2017, and you can read about Popeye’s hometown here.

Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye’s creator, was born in Chester, and created his Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1928.  Several of his characters were based on his experiences with people from the town.

The muttering Popeye is a language-challenged character—he mangles the easiest of words to pronounce.  Although he is violent and uncivilized, the sailor is an introspective guy and has his morals. 

Sporting a couple of anchor tattoos on his huge forearms, he has an interesting body type with those skinny upper arms.  Since we never see his right eye, I’m not sure if he is missing it entirely or just squinting. 

Those massive forearms serve Popeye well when he needs his strength.  Of course, it isn’t until he eats spinach when he becomes mighty enough to lift huge, heavy objects.

Olive Oyl is Popeye’s absent-minded and flirty girlfriend.  Have you wondered how she got her name?  Back in the 1800’s, Chester’s chief commodity was castor oil, which was used as a lubricant.  Castor Oyl and Crude Oyl are two of Segar’s comic strip characters, and Olive is their little sister. 

Segar actually created Olive Oyl an entire decade before Popeye came along.  The sailor became so popular, though, that Segar renamed his strip after the spinach-eating dude.

Olive, as Popeye would like to say, is “a perfect 57… 19-19-19.”  Those are her measurements—extremely skinny! 

Baby Swee’Pea, named for the flower (and Popeye’s term of endearment for Olive Oyl), was found in a box on Popeye’s doorstep, on July 24, 1933.  Popeye adopted the baby and raised him as his son.  In an August 17, 1933 comic strip, he christened his “boy-kid” as “Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom.”  It’s a bit cumbersome, don’t you think?

Finally, there’s Popeye’s lazy pal, J. Wellington Wimpy.  The guy loves his burgers, and it shows!  He’s smart and well-educated, but watch out, because he likes to mooch!  He’ll do whatever it takes to get a free burger.  Although he’ll always promise to pay you back “on Tuesday,” he never does. 

I’ll keep you posted if any of Popeye’s other pals come along.  Meanwhile, here are a bunch of other Betty Boop’s that I never got to see, because they were snagged before I got to the bench: