2. CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
This is the issue that started it all. Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1941, Captain America was a direct response to DC Comics’ success with superheroes such as Superman and Batman during the previous decade. Captain America Comics #1 hit newsstands just months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and sported a cover featuring the eponymous character landing a haymaker flush on the jaw of Adolf Hitler. It was brash, controversial, and wound up selling over 1 million copies. Timely Comics (later known as Marvel) had a hit on its hands, but little did anyone know the character would still be around 70 years later.
The inside of the comic is broken up into multiple stories, but the most famous one is Meet Captain America. Showcasing how a scrawny army reject named Steve Rogers that gets transformed into a patriotic behemoth, Captain America’s origin still stands up despite being crafted in the '40s. It needs no updating, no reimagining, no remaking; it simply captures everything that is great about the character. It’s quaint, and somewhat campy, yet still amazingly relevant.
Combining real world problems with comic fantasy, Captain America Comics #1 created such a perfect image of the character that there hasn’t been a need for very many changes over the years. This issue needs to be read by anyone who claims to be a comic fan and is interested in seeing how the industry has progressed over the years.