Earth-1983 Timeline


What If (first series)#44

Diverges from Avengers #4. The Sub-Mariner picks another route to flee the Avengers, and bypasses the place where the Inuits worshipped Captain America.

The Avengers eventually disband, without a central source of morale to hold them together. Later, upon discovering Nixon’s diplomatic overtures to Mao Zedong’s China, a disgruntled government worker revives the 1950’s Captain America and Bucky (James Monroe). They later take part in many adventures, facing the Serpent Squad and the Yellow Claw-but keep away from the other costumed heroes, as they do not want the truth that they are not the original Captain America and Bucky to get out.

Quentin Harderman, agent of the Committee to Reassert American’s Principles-who knew of the truth about the 1950’s Cap and Bucky-contacts them. They get persuaded to become spokespersons for Harderman’s organization’s candidates and platforms. The 1950’s Cap appears in commercials supporting a bill to instate an identity card for Americans, to weed out illegal immigrants, as well as a Federal Jobs Bureau. The NAACP, ACLU, and various Hispanic groups protest these changes. The 1950’s Cap meets with a group of marchers demonstrating against these policies, trying to reason with them. As he speaks with the leader of the marchers, a sniper hidden in shadows shoots him, albeit not fatally. Enraged, Bucky and the police attack the marchers, thinking them responsible. Riots start across the country due to this incident.

In reaction to the civil unrest, soldiers get called in throughout the U.S.A. Some of these soldiers fell victim to snipers. Senator Chadwick pushes through a bill for emergency powers to address the civil unrest. By 1983, U.S. society has radically changed. S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten disbanded, Stark International has gotten "nationalized" (with Iron Man seen no more), and the Fantastic Four have gotten relocated to Arizona. Armed guards on street corners become a common scene.

That same year, however, severe arctic storms dislodge the frozen, original Cap. A U.S. sub discovers him. The sub commander, Captain Johanson, recognizes the true Captain America. He informs him of U.S. history since 1945, of the shift towards an authoritarian government.

Arriving at the reopened Brooklyn Naval Base, Johanson passes Cap off as a regular sailor. They encounter the Sentinels of Liberty, the new police force. Cap and Johanson go to the Daily Bugle, which still publishes under heavy censorship. J. Jonah Jameson secretly helps coordinate a resistance movement. As part of this, a Bugle delivery truck transports Cap and Johanson to a resistance base in Harlem. Cap and Johanson see the squalid bombed out downtown area. At the base, they meet with Snap Wilson, Nick Fury, and Spider-Man, all resistance leaders. Fury, stunned, recognizes the original Cap and informs him of an important upcoming event; the America First Party will soon hold its national convention in New York.

Meanwhile, the 1950’s Captain America meets with Harderman, Chadwick, William Taurey of the Royalist Forces of America, and representatives of the Sons of the Serpent, Secret Empire, and National Force. They tell him how their activities have set things up for a key triumph; with the upcoming elections, they can get a majority of their candidates in most branches. They tell him to keep up his support for them, as their sweeping the elections will place them in ultimate victory: the ability to convene a new Constitutional Convention.

The party’s national convention gets held at Madison Square Garden. The 1950’s Cap appears with a special group called the Freedom Five, comprised of himself, Bucky, the Hangman, Hawkeye, and Golden Girl (that last is just an actress used for cheesecake). However, the resistance interrupts the convention. Simultaneously, across the country, resistance cells act in other cities. The resistance forces the newscasters to keep filming as the original Captain America defeats his impostor. Americans around the country realize that they had followed a cad, and embrace the original Captain America.

Earth-1983 is the home of the little seen 1980's version of the Freedom's 
Five. It diverged from Earth-616 circa Avengers I#4, when Namor the 
Sub-Mariner, in fleeing the Avengers, chose a different route in the 
oceans-and thus did not run into the Inuits who worshipped the frozen 
Captain America.

In the 1970's, the mad Captain America was revived by a disgruntled 
worker. Later, he hooked up with Quentin Harderman's CRAP [Committee to 
Reassert America's Principles] organization. In tandem with the Sons of 
the Serpent, William Taurey's Royalist Forces of America, Norman Chadwick,
the National Force, and the Sons of the Serpent, they managed to produce 
electoral landslides for the America First Party. This group passed an 
act creating an identity card bill and Federal Jobs Bill to protect the 
American job market from illegal aliens. 

Civil rights leaders in the NAACP, ACLA, and Hispanic groups soon 
protested these measures as allowing an insensitive government the chance 
to keep minorities from advancing in the work place. Holding up signs 
reading "Jobs Not Cards", "No I.D.'s", "No Yellow Stars", "Clovers and 
Blue Moons", they protested. An unseen sniper shot (not fatally) the mad 
Captain America; said incident, which was blamed by the authorties on 
leftist radicals, incited race riots. Senator Chadwick had the Emergency 
Security Powers Act passed, leading to severely curtailed civil rights.
The special Sentinels of Liberty soldiers began. 
By 1983, the USA had become an apartheid state similar to South Africa 
(except for the latter's pro-Jewish stance). It was in 1983, however, 
that the Inuits who had found the frozen true Captain America lost him 
in a storm during their annual migration. Once again lost at sea, he
was found by sailor's hostile to the Sentinels of Liberty........    
I am presuming that Earth-1983 progressed real time-and since the latest 
we saw this word was up to 1983, this could work. The name Earth-1983 
refers to the year the story ends. 
 The Freedom's Five (Crimson Cavalier, Sir Steel, Silver Squire, Phantom 
Eagle, and Union Jack) active during World War I. They battle Baron Blood
and others. [Invaders I#7-9]
 After Bucky is killed in a battle with Baron Zemo, Captain America is 
dropped into the English Channel. He is found by rogue Axis agent Lyle 
Decker, who has him brought to Canada. While there, Captain America is 
exposed to an experimental gas that places him in suspended animation, 
and is lost at sea. He eventually drifts to the Arctic, where Inuits 
worship him. [Avengers I#4 and #56, What If I#4, Captain America I#220]
 Am unnamed man who had idolized the original Captain America and secretly 
discovered the super-soldier serum while studying German intelligence 
files becomes the new Captain America with a young boy named James Monroe 
as Bucky.
 This Captain America goes to action to oppose the erstatz Red Skull, a 
Communist agent. He remains active for a least a few more adventures, 
including battles with Electro, Arnold and Lupa Lupoff. This Captain 
America even meets Namor and the original Human Torch, who do not 
recognize him as a fake. [Young Men #24-28, Men's Adventures #27-28, 
Captain America Comics #75-78, Captain America Annual #6 Captain America 
Annual #13, Marvel: The Lost Generation #1]
 Later, this Captain America and Bucky went mad and mindlessly Abrahamic 
conservative, seeing Communists everywhere. So, they were placed in 
suspended animation. [Captain America I#155, Captain America I#234]
 Harris Krueger becomes the Comet. [Nova I#22/speculation]
 At some later point in time, the underworld discovers his true identity. 
They order a man to destroy him and his family. Accordingly, Krueger's 
spouse Helen dies in an explosion, in which Harris and his son Frank 
apparently die. However, Frank at least survived. [Nova I#23/speculation] 
 Tulip Tender, a hard-nosed model/actress, brushes shoulders with Kathy. 
Her daughter Sally will later become Golden Girl, a cheescake sideshow 
for the Freedom's Five. [Kathy I#15-16/speculation]
 After battling the Avengers with the Hulk, Namor swims a more southerly 
track to flee. [Avengers I#3-4]
 The Avengers battled the Lava Men, the Masters of Evil, and Kang the 
Conqueror. [Avengers I#5, 6, 8]
 Iron Man battles Hawkeye and the Black Widow. [Tales of Suspense I#57]
 The Avengers disband. [Presumably, this took place around the time of 
Avengers I#16]  Presumably, after the Black Widow is wounded by her 
fellow Communist agents, Hawkeye becomes a bitter anti-Communist and 
joins John Birch-style societies. [speculation based on Avengers I#16]
 Frank Krueger, the son of the Comet, decides to avenge his father and 
becomes the Hangman. [Date based on publication date of first appearance 
of Harlan Krueger Hangman, subtracting two years per statement by 
Crimebuster in Nova I#13 that he began his career 2 years before his 
first public case]
 Nixon announces he will visit the People's Republic of China. Enraged, 
a government worker frees the mad 1950's Captain America and Bucky. 
 The mad Captain America and Bucky face the Serpent Squad, Crime-Wave, 
and Yellow Claw.  [Presumably these adventures parallel Captain America I#157-167]
 The Hangman (Frank Krueger) faces Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night, 
in his first public case. [Werewolf By Night #13/Nova I#13/speculation]
 The true Captain America is eventually found by American sailors who 
oppose the conservative regime. Captain America teams up with Spider-Man, 
Nick Fury, Sam Wilson, and others to face the Freedom Five (mad Captain 
America and Bucky, Hawkeye the Archer, Golden Girl, and the Hangman). 


The Hangman who is a member of the America First Party's Freedom Five is unnamed, and his costume does not resemble any other Hangman characters seen elsewhere. However, we have chosen to meld him with MLJ's Hangman (Bob Dickering) character and the Harlan Krueger Hangman seen in the original Werewolf By Night and Spider-Woman series. The latter Hangman was a former soldier (court-martialed for torturing prisoners) who decided to take the law into his own hands and execute criminals with a scythe or noose. His brutal tactics would fit in with the more apartheid/Abrahamic conservative USA of Earth-1972.

The Hangman name suggested another connection; the MLJ Hangman was actually the brother of the Comet, who began his career in Pep Comics #17 (July 1941) after mobster "Big Boy" Malone had his sibling killed. Dickering swore to avenge his brother's death by becoming the Hangman.

Marvel also had a Comet character introduced in volume 1 of Nova. This Comet was named Harris Moore, and was a retconned hero for the 1950's. His past was explained in Nova I#22-23. His son, Crimebuster (Frank Moore), had been introduced in Nova #13. The relationship between the Crimebuster and Comet was revealed in Nova #24, where it was revealed that Crimebuster became a crimefighter to avenge his father's apparent death. The similarity between this situation and the origin of the MLJ Hangman (who also had a relative called the Comet) lead us to combine Crimebuster with the Hangman (Harlan Krueger) with the MLJ Hangman.

The Harlan Krueger Hangman, for those curious, was killed off in Bizarre Adventures #31 in a story where he had decided to kill the makers of modern movies for promoting immorality. So, he attended the showing of a horror movie called Gore Galore. While attempting to write down the names of everyone who made the film (this was long before the Internet Movie Database, so you could not go online to get cast credits for movies), the Hangman was stymied when the credits were shown to fast for him to copy down. So, a film critic attending the film innocently gave him a press kit......

The Golden Girl who was a member of the Freedom Five was only a model/actress. She sadly has little outward similarity to any of the various Golden Girl characters who have shown up. I have speculated that she could be a descendant of Dixieland woman Tulip Tender from those issues of Kathy. The name Sally is derived from Sally Jupiter, aka the Silk Spectre, a similarly themed (although more active in crimefighting) character from Watchmen.

The story mentioned that the Avengers, before they disbanded, had fought the Masters of Evil; however, since the true Captain America was not freed until after the Avengers disbanded, one can only speculate as to why Baron Zemo came out of hiding.

The inclusion of Hawkeye in the Freedom Five is rather odd, as in his Iron Man appearances, Hawkeye worked with the Black Widow.....then a Communist agent.

Article by John McDonagh, with assistance from Mikel Midnight.