Okay, with the Fourth of July fast approaching, I'm trying to compile a list of what I call the "Flagsuit Characters." Specifically, characters who seem to have taken the U.S. flag as their inspiration. When July 4, 2007, rolls around, I intend to post the list of all the Flagsuit Characters we can come up with.
To make it onto my final list, a character has to meet a few basic criteria:
1. He (or she) wears a costume that includes red, white, and blue. (The presence of other colors is also acceptable as long as all three of those are included. But if the costume only has two out of three -- red and blue without any white, for instance -- then that doesn't count!)
2. The character obviously wants to be viewed (by the general public) as an exceptionally patriotic American hero. I'm not saying the person must "really" be a hero, or even has to be a citizen or legal resident of the USA, for that matter! I'm just saying that this is the image the character obviously wants to project! If there have been any villains who put on red-white-and-blue outfits in order to fool people into thinking they were heroes for awhile, I'm perfectly willing to count that! (But not if they were just impersonating Captain America, for instance -- only if they invented a fresh identity for the occasion.)
3. He (or she) must have appeared in at least one published comic book story. (I don't want costumed characters who only existed in movies, TV shows, videogames or whatever.
As a few examples of what I don't want:
Rule #1 eliminates Superman. There's nothing white in his standard costume, so he doesn't match the color scheme requirement. (Besides, I don't think the red and blue in his costume were meant to be signs of conspicuous patriotism, so he'd also be disqualified by Rule #2.)
Rule #2 means that Marvel's (long-dead) character La Bandera is disqualified. She wore red-white-and-blue when she debuted in a story arc in Wolverine's series, way back around 1989, but she was not and did not claim to be a U.S. citizen. By the same token, I imagine there are probably several other characters in one comic book universe or another who wear red, white, and blue for reasons that have nothing to do with patriotic loyalty to the USA.
Rule #2 would also eliminate Spider-Man. His costume is mostly red and blue, but the things over his eyes are solid white. That color combo could meet the requirements of Rule #1, and he is certainly a U.S. citizen. However, he doesn't normally go out of his way to stress that he is "the Amazingly All-American Spider-Man" or anything like that, so he is still disqualified by Rule #2. As with Superman, I don't believe Spider-Man chose his color scheme with the American flag in mind. (Probably just said to himself: "Bright primary colors -- that's the way to go! It will look good on television!" :))
And to be fair about it, I have a request: Please, only mention a maximum of three names at once.
(Although if you want to post three names today, and come back and post three more names tomorrow, that's fine! Just space it out, okay? I say this in order to discourage any fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject from posting a list of 20 or 30 such characters, all at once, and leaving practically nothing for anyone else to do!)
Just to start the ball rolling, I'll mention three examples:
1. Captain America (Steve Rogers). A Marvel character.
2. The Shield (Joe Higgins and others). Allegedly the Very First American Flagsuit Superhero Character; he debuted in MLJ's "Pep Comics #1" in 1940. (MLJ eventually morphed into the company we now know as "Archie Comics.")
3. The Torch of Liberty (Paul Gibney), created by John Byrne for a backup feature in his "Danger Unlimited" miniseries for Dark Horse in the mid-90s. The Torch was basically a shameless Captain America knockoff who enlisted in the military right after Pearl Harbor and thus started his career in the WWII era (and stayed active for many years thereafter, evidently).
I can think of a lot more, but I'm going to follow my own rule and stop at three for the time being.
P.S. At the moment, I'm not planning to list every single character who has ever called himself "Captain America." Not unless that character has also had a separate, more "original" identity instead of just trying to be yet another "successor" or "imitator" of Steve Rogers.