Hey everybody, welcome to another great character spotlight, right here in Marvel Snapshot. You know, Sam Wilson, A.K.A. Falcon, has been a Marvel mainstay for a long time now, and although he’s typically underused, it doesn’t take away from his value as a solid character. I was introduced to him as Captain America’s partner in that series, but he’s been a member of the Avengers as well over the years, and is always ready to take flight for justice! The Falcon was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1969 (Captain America #117).
You know, being the first mainstream black comic book character put a lot of pressure on Sam, but starting out on Captain America was probably the best spot for him. A former resident of Harlem, Wilson trained a falcon (Redwing). He answered an ad that was placed for a trained hunting falcon. Unbeknownst to Sam, it was actually Nazis, and specifically, the Red Skull. Wilson then urged the natives to stand up and fight against the Nazis, and then met Steve Rogers, and the two hit it off. Steve and Sam became friends, and after learning about Steve’s alter-ego, Cap trained Sam and they helped the villagers expel the Nazis.
For fifty plus issues after that, Captain America was called Captain America and Falcon. This was quite a big deal because Cap had been a long standing heroic icon, and Falcon was the new kid on the block. Stan Lee, however, always tried to push heroes of different races, and kudos to him for that.
Falcon had been appointed to the head of a new S.H.I.E.L.D. task force (Super Agents), but soon afterward was asked to be an Avenger. At this time, Sam was very bitter about that, because Henry Gyrich told him that the position was to “fill a quota.” He often referred to himself as “the Token.” This made Cap angry at times, and he told Sam that he didn’t want to hear that because he and the others knew of his abilities and qualifications to be on the team regardless.
During the Brubaker run on Captain America, Sam once again was a very prominent player alongside Cap, and then after Cap’s death, helping Sharon Carter, and even Bucky after he realized he’d been brainwashed by Dr. Faustus. He later was a part of the Shadowland story with Daredevil, and more recently (Marvel Now) has rejoined the Avengers as the team has expanded under Iron Man and Cap’s guidance. Where this will lead Sam Wilson, we don’t know yet, but hopefully he’ll be flying around NYC for a long time!
As usual, take a look at my recommended reading list and then some of the Falcon’s best cover shots! Enjoy!
Essential Captain America vol. 1, 2, 3, & 4 – Tpb
Falcon (1983) #1-4 Limited Series
The Avengers: Nights of Wundagore – Tpb
The Avengers: Avengers Disassembled – Tpb
Captain America (2005) Omnibus vol. 1 & 2 – HC