Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bicentennial Comics [Updated!]

Every once in a while I like to look forward by looking back.

I was seven years old in July 1976, when the entire country colorfully celebrated the American Bicentennial. I remember school art projects, fireworks, parties, parades, all kinds of pins and other mementos, TV specials, and magazine covers.

Oh yeah, and comic books.

I honestly can't recall ever reading a Captain America comic book before Jack Kirby's Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, but that massive ("treasury"-sized) book quickly burned its way into my brain. I became a life-long fan of Steve Rogers, Jack Kirby, and, of course, history.

I still have my battered copy of Bicentennial Battles. I re-read it every few years. Of course in many ways it doesn't hold up, but in others it remains a high point of comics from that era.

But Bicentennial Battles is very lonely in my collection. Even though I fondly remember two other Bicentennial-themed comics from that year, they have long since left my possession. I want them back, and I want the rest.

Over the past few years, I have trimmed and slashed my comic-book collection over and over again. Now it's time to build it back up again, only in a more focused way. I'm going to pick a few kinds of comics that I want to collect and slowly seek them out.

Bicentennial comics shall come first.

It shouldn't be too hard. I've done some research. From what I can tell, there weren't all that many Bicentennial comics. Some of their connections to 1776/1976 were pretty tenuous. Quite a few were kids' comics. But I'm still going to try to track them down.

Here are the covers for most of the titles that I have identified so far. Some of them should be easy to find. Others may take a while. No worries, I'm not in a rush. I'll just try to finish my collection before the tricentennial.

This Adventure Comics issue is only Bicentennial-themed on its cover, but I still like it. (Similarly, almost every DC Comics title for July 1976 featured a cover banner proclaiming "DC Celebrates the Bicentennial!" As far as I'm concerned, those don't count as Bicentennial comics.)

The first of several underground comix on this list.

This was the only Batman comic to show it on the cover, but all of the above issues had Bicentennial-themed stories.

Not exactly patriotic, but I think my collection would be lacking if I didn't include this.

A restaurant freebie? I'm not sure if this will be worth tracking down, but I'll give it a shot.

This was actually the final issue in a 10-part storyline, starting in issue 193, all building up to the Bicentennial. Collect 'em all!

Okay, this one is a stretch. The only Bicentennial theme is a pun in the story title. But as a product of the time, it counts.

I don't think this issue contains any Bicentennial content aside from the cover, but apparently issue 15 does.

Who knew Dennis the Menace was so patriotic?

I had this one as a kid. Vague memories of it are what sent me down this trail.

Neither of these Jughead issues show any Spirit of 76 on the covers, but they each apparently contain Bicentennial-themed stories.

Another restaurant freebie.

Okay, so it's a calendar, not a comic book. Close enough.

A book, but it's about comics, so it counts. 

I don't think the date on this one is quite correct, but the story is set in 1776.

You can't tell from the cover art, but the text tells us there's a Bicentennial story inside.

Another restaurant freebie. Hmm.

Shazam issue 25 also seems to have had a Bicentennial story.

I had this one, too. Hmm. Maybe giant-sized "treasuries" should be the next category that I collect!
Probably more in the comic strip column than comic books, but I'm intrigued.

Did I miss any? Let me know. I'll add 'em to the list! (Update: I've already added a few -- thanks to everyone's contributions!)