Titan Comics is a publisher that’s pretty savvy when it comes to licensing characters and relaunching titles. Whether it’s European bandes dessinées or Doctor Who or Hard Case Crime, they consistently re-release and update existing titles that are of interest to the many corners and niches of fandom. So it’s no surprise, then, that they had something in the offing for the 100th birthday year of comics legend (in every sense of the word) Jack Kirby. This October, they’ll release issue 1 of Fighting American, a continuation of the series Kirby co-created with another, no less titanic, comics legend: one Mr. Joe Simon.
It’s long been repeated that Kirby and Simon crafted Fighting American in the mid-fifties as something of a response to the direction their character Captain America was taking at the time. While Simon has also reportedly stated that the character was more of a response to McCarthyism than to the Cap himself, Simon’s son, Jim Simon, had this to say:
Cheated out of their original Captain America creation, the two would show Marvel how to make a better patriotic superhero, and what might have been for Marvel became the Fighting American for Mainline. While the superhero market was weak, Simon and Kirby’s Fighting American lasted a few issues longer than the relaunched Captain America.”
Whatever the inspiration, Titan couldn’t have picked a better time to for a reboot of the character, as evidenced by their solicit for the series:
The Cold War superhero returns – originally launched in 1954 by the creators of Captain America, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby!
When the 1950s heroes find themselves trapped in the modern world, how will they handle what society has become, and what dangers will they face?
With new villains to contend with and enemies from their past pursuing them, what daring adventures could Fighting American and Speedboy find themselves in now?
Will this Fighting American follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and satirize the politics of its day? It’s indeed a time when much of the United States, and the world at large, hunger for a hero that does just that while sporting the colors of the American flag. If this teaser is anything to go by, we can expect some of those themes to show up in the new series, from writer Gordon Rennie and artist Duke Mighten:
With Fighting American‘s marketing already up to the task of subverting Marvel’s much maligned Secret Empire, it gives high hopes that this series will itself be subversive of our current political climate. We’ll have to wait until Joe Simon’s birthday of October 11th to find out, as that’s when the first issue hits the shelves. For now, check out our exclusive reveal of the complete set of Art Balthasar‘s Fighting American covers below. They’ll run as variants across the whole first 4-issue arc of the series. We’ve also got some of the interior preview art here for your perusal.