[identity profile] strannik01.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
MLJ's the Shield was the first patriotic superhero in American comics, but it wasn't until Captain America came around that the trend really took off. Every publisher rushed to jump on the bandwagon and get their own patriotic hero (or several) out on the shelves. Some were fairly mundane, but others... Others were just plain weird.

In this series, I am taking a look at some of the odder, more unique examples of the trend. Members of the original scans_daily will probably remember some of them, but others will be brand new.

This post focus on one of the later. It was one of the many patriotic superheroes that appeared in Quality Comics over the years (the most famous and popular of which was, of course, the company's version of Uncle Sam). This particular character only lasted a few issues of Feature Comics. As far as I know, she was very revived by DC, or anyone else, for that matter, which I think is kind of a shame. The concept is just too odd not to be used somehow.

The following story was originally published in Feature Comics #42. Writer unknown, art by Maurice Gutwirth

Feature Comics 42 - USA - Page 2
Feature Comics 42 - USA - Page 3
Feature Comics 42 - USA - Page 4
Feature Comics 42 - USA - Page 5

Note: I apologize for the quality of the scans. The originals were rather poor, and while I tried to clean them up the best I could, there was only so much I could do with what little photo editing software I have.

Date: 2009-09-02 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blaketiger.insanejournal.com
So, her flag droops every time America is in danger?

Date: 2009-09-02 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blaketiger.insanejournal.com
That raises so many questions. What's defined as America being in danger? The examples up there- a single Nazi sympathetic teacher, assassination of the president-

My personal theory is the flag droops when the wind drops down and she just looks for the nearest anti-American activity to explain it.

Date: 2009-09-02 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
That would actually be pretty awesome, except that just thinking about how one would write such a character makes me think it'd invite everyone's inner Mark Millar to come out to play:


Date: 2009-09-03 11:20 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-02 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
That was Captain America's excuse, before Viagra.

"Um ... Steve? Is anything happening down there yet?"

"Errr ... I mean, OH NO, MY 'FLAG' IS DROOPING!!! AMERICA MUST BE IN DANGER!!!" *Runs off*

Date: 2009-09-02 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] squirle.insanejournal.com
Maybe it's the poor scan quality, but it looks to me like the Spirit is copping a feel when she drags that swooning woman off the second time.

Date: 2009-09-02 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arilou_skiff.insanejournal.com
Yeah. I got a definite lesbian vibe from the spirit of Old Glory.

Date: 2009-09-03 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluefall.insanejournal.com
Well, you know.... (http://citizen-artiste.org/graphics/web-images/liberty_justice.jpeg)

Date: 2009-09-02 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
And how exactly is she holding onto the flag there?

Date: 2009-09-02 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] savok.insanejournal.com
Last page, bottom left panel.... what the hell are they doing?

Date: 2009-09-02 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
Also, why is Hitler wearing Hannibal Lector's facemask?

Date: 2009-09-02 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
Ah. I suspected, but that just looks ... really awkward.

Date: 2009-09-02 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
More like his face is in shadow. The comic has a March 1941 cover date, which means the US wasn't in The War yet. They may have been trying to avoid a too overt political statement by not specifically naming Hitler.

Date: 2009-09-02 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
True, but not only is it still pretty overt that it's Hitler, but now he looks like some sort of half-assed Cobra Commander.

Date: 2009-09-02 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
But isn't Cobra Commander just a half-assed, puppy kicking Hitler wannbe?

Date: 2009-09-02 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
Not really, IIRC Cobra Commander isn't racist or anti-Semitic, he's very much equal opportunity. He's the embodiment of capitalism gone wrong, not fascism (Well, if facism can ever be said to have gone right)

Date: 2009-09-02 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
Well, you got to give the guys back then props for doing something original with the patriotic heroine theme.

Date: 2009-09-02 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
So she uses a torch and a flag? she's like some sort of super powered rhythmic gymnast!

Date: 2009-09-02 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
From some of those poses she makes, I think you are right.

Date: 2009-09-02 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
ALSO, that's some poorly conceived character design right there, because you've basically ensured that USA (Or is that Usa?) can never have her fucking hands free, since she always has to hold her torch in one hand and Old Glory in the other. I suppose we see here that she can still carry things, after a crude fashion, but God help her if she ever has to WRITE anything ... which, now that I think about it, is actually an uncomfortable accurate metaphor for certain parts of self-described "real America."

Date: 2009-09-02 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com
Fair point, but if any character could benefit from having a utility belt (or a USAtility belt, maybe) ...

Hell, even Cap and Thor have places to put their shield and hammer, respectively.

Date: 2009-09-02 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] his_spiffyness.insanejournal.com
She's supposed to be more of a mystical character anyway, she doesn't really need pockets. It's not like she needs them, she just stands around on tall buildings waiting for her flag to droop.

Date: 2009-09-02 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com
Nothing is stopping her from planting the flag or the torch in soil if she's outside, propping the torch up on a handy wall or shelf, or even just handing one of the objects to a helpful bystander.

Some great poses there, but her outfit is a bit drab. I would rather see her in a white robe like Columbia (a little leg could show to keep the readers' attention).

Date: 2009-09-02 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
This is great !

Date: 2009-09-02 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
So, out of curioosity, how are you pronouncing her name?

YOOSA as in Una with an S


YOOESSAY as in pronouncing the acornym?

Date: 2009-09-03 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashtoreth.insanejournal.com
I found it amusing to read the comic pronouncing it 'youessay'. I mean, really.

"USA is looking pretty hot! SHOW US YOUR TITS, USA!"

Date: 2009-09-03 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com
"John Bull, drop your pants!"

Date: 2009-09-05 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
An interesting character, indeed - something like a combination of the Spectre and Uncle Sam. Not to mention, of course, that you didn't really get that many flag-waving female heroes back then - there were more than a lot of people think, but most of them were still men. (USA is particularly interesting because she's literally waving a flag - her costume is just a black miniskirt; the patriotism comes from what she's carrying.)
Also, I'm not noticing any kind of rod or flagpole or anything in that flag. Is she just holding it by one corner, or what? 'Cause I know from personal experience that holding a rectangular piece of cloth that way is going to quickly transform it into a twisted-up mess - not very patriotic-looking at all. My guess is there's a bit of doweling or something that we can't see.


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