Review: Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age U.S.A. Comics, Vol. 2

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age U.S.A. Comics, Vol. 2
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age U.S.A. Comics, Vol. 2 by Syd Shores
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second volume of the Marvel Masterworks series reprinting USA Comics is heavy on wartime propaganda, primarily in the South Seas/Guadalcanal area. Captain America takes center stage as the star of the book, though costumed heroes like the Whizzer, the Secret Stamp, the Fighting Hobo, and the Destroyer back him up, as do a lot of more mundane military features. Sgt. Dix, Captain Daring and the unfortunately named “Jap-Buster” Johnson help fill out the four issues.

One has to read these stories with an eye toward the era they were created in, and the reasons they were popular at the time. This was basically military propaganda for both the home front and the troops overseas, so they stories do tend to be very jingoistic and the enemy is treated and portrayed as either incompetent or inhuman, Japanese and German both.

If you can get past the institutionalized racism and propaganda, you’ll find some well-crafted golden age stories.

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