Huston, We Have Amalgam

Just imagine Humphrey Bogart playing Sam Spade as Sam Wilson — a 1941 version
of Sam Wilson, private eye turned Captain America’s unofficial and unorthodox partner.

Fake movie poster in vintage style: Warner Bros. and Republic Present / Humphrey Bogart / Dick Purcell / with Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Gladys George / a John Huston film / Captain America and the Maltese Falcon

That’s what I did in this mockup for the mashup Captain America and the Maltese Falcon. Ever since brainstorming the title a couple of years ago for a hashtag game on Twitter, I’ve found its Reese’s Peanut-Butter Cup potential hard to shake.

Spade was introduced when the pulp magazine Black Mask serialized Dashiell Hammett’s seminal hard-boiled detective novel in 1929. Wilson debuted 40 years later in Captain America #117 at the hands of artist Gene Colan and writer/editor Stan Lee, forging a partnership so steadfast that covers billed the series as Captain America and The Falcon for nearly a hundred issues spanning most of the 1970s. More of you may have been familiar with the former Sam than the latter, if only via Bogie’s iconic screen portrayal — at least before this year’s Marvel blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier teamed Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers with Anthony Mackie as the high-flying hero. You might’ve even heard that Falc will soon be inheriting Cap’s mantle in the comics.

I’ve taken elements of this poster from one of several for the 1941 Warner Bros. film adaptation of Hammett’s novel directed by John Huston and a doctored color still from the 1944 Republic Captain America serial that had almost nothing to do with the character as created for Timely Comics, Marvel’s predecessor, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The serial starred Dick Purcell as a shieldless, pistol-toting crimefighter whose alter ego was crusading district attorney Grant Gardner.

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