144 – Captain America!

A panel from Captain America #1, December 1940
A panel from Captain America #1, December 1940

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby have their first hit with Captain America #1 (December 1940). Captain America is the first character to star in his own comic book, not as a try-out feature in another book, and comes complete with a fully-fleshed out (and interesting) origin, a sidekick and an iconic villain (the Red Skull) all wrapped up in super-patriotic, Nazi-busting bubble wrap. The origin story even has a throw-away mention of the Human Torch to weave into the rest of the Marvel Golden Age continuity!