Contributed by Mike McDermott
Jack Casey was a reporter and photographer who worked for the Daily Bugle in the 1940s. He became friends with fellow reporters Jeff Mace and Mary Morgan, and the trio often worked together or competed against each other on stories for the newspaper.
Jack had no idea that his friend Jeff was also the costumed crime-fighter the Patriot, although he often took pictures of the Patriot in action for the paper and frequently got pulled into his adventures. Jack’s excellent photography skills earned him a degree of notoriety, and his photographs were featured in Life Magazine.
After the United States entered World War II, Jack was drafted into the Navy as a Photographers Mate 1st Class. Jack’s superior officers eventually learned that Jack was a homosexual and he was given a ‘blue ticket’ discharge from the Navy. Like many other blue ticketed soldiers, Jack was unable to find work after the war and eventually committed suicide.
By this time Jack’s friend Jeff Mace had become the new Captain America (standing in for Steve Rogers who at this time was frozen in a block of ice for 50 years), and decided to attend Jack’s funeral as Captain America as a sign of respect for his fallen friend. However Mace’s teammates and FBI handler would not permit it; they were concerned that Captain America being seen at the funeral for homosexual and a blue ticket discharge soldier would destroy the public’s respect for him and ruin his effectiveness as a symbol. So instead Mace attended as the Patriot, and spoke at the funeral about what a great man and a real hero Jack Casey was. Patriot’s tribute to Jack was published in the Daily Bugle by Mary Morgan, but unfortunately it led to the public turning their back on the Patriot, and that costume and identity was quietly retired.
Jack Casey was something of an unusual case for the old Golden Age superhero comics–an ongoing supporting character who was not a ‘teen sidekick’, crime-fighting partner or love interest.
Jack Casey first appears in Human Torch Comics #4 (1941) in a story titled “The Yellowshirts Turn Yellow” written by Ray Gill with art by George Mandel and is outed in Captain America: Patriot #2 (2010) by Karl Kessel. The Golden Age Human Torch story is reprinted in Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Human Torch volume 1.
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