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Essential Captain America

Essential Cap: Dum Dum Dugan

Nick Fury's right-hand-man makes his mark on the Marvel Universe!

With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology  in the Marvel comics.

From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!

By Jim Beard

Dum Dum Dugan in the present day

Some say the clothes make the man; in the case of Dum Dum Dugan, we’d say over 70 years of wearing a derby’s made him quite the character. As the right-hand man of S.H.I.E.L.D. commander Nick Fury, Dugan exemplifies the type of loyal and unwavering soldier who’s made this country great.

Born in Boston and originally a circus strongman, Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader “Dum Dum” Dugan turned out to be anything but stupid. Falling in with Fury’s motley crew of soldiers during World War II, he set himself on a path that would provide him with a steady career for decades to come. And what a career--take a look below if you don’t believe us!

Howling at the Bad Guys

Dum Dum and the Howling Commandos

Dum Dum Dugan curried the favor of both General Sam Sawyer and Sergeant Nick Fury in the early days of the global struggle called World War II, and when the time came for Fury’s “Howling Commandos” to seek a second-in-command, the derby-wearing dude stood out from the rest. Dugan's service to the special squad of operatives cannot be hailed too vociferously--suffice to say, Fury and his men owe their lives to Dum Dum many times over.

Dugan snapped off his first salute in the landmark SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1, and you can find that and many more of his WWII adventures in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS VOL. 1. Whew, that’s a mouthful!

The Derby Sails On

Dum Dum Dugan, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Dugan’s service to his country didn’t end with the war, though; he went on to rise to the rank of corporal and continued to work with Nick Fury as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The espionage game seemed to come naturally to him, and though often surly, he never swayed from his duty, proving Fury could always count on him in a tense situation. This devotion to duty once earned Dugan the command of a special S.H.I.E.L.D. unit created to track and combat the invasion of a giant, radioactive lizard, and also take part in a new version of the Howling Commandos--this time made up of monsters.

Look for many of Dugan’s SHIELD missions in STRANGE TALES #135-168, collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: NICK FURY VOL. 1-2, MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #18: SHE-HULK, and NICK FURY’S HOWLING COMMANDOS #1-6, collected in NICK FURY'S HOWLING COMMADOS: HOWLING MAD. Warning: weirdness!

Dark Days for a Dum Dum

Dum Dum captured by a Skrull

A shadow fell over Dugan’s time with S.H.I.E.L.D. when the so-called “Civil War” erupted among the country’s super heroes. Ordered to bring in his old war buddy Captain America, Dugan met with defeat and even questioned his faith in the organization. Things took a turn for the worse as more events unfolded, such as World War Hulk and the Secret Invasion, where Dugan fell prey to the Skrulls and found himself incarcerated and impersonated by the aliens for the duration of their assault on Earth. Upon being freed, the World War II veteran suffered through a support group for Skrull abductees. Fortunately, our dear Dum Dum continues to serve his country well to this day, aiding Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors against the mysterious Leviathan.

Check out all the nasty particulars of these dark days for Dugan in the CIVIL WAR, WORLD WAR HULK and SECRET INVASION collections--they’re Dum Dum delicious! Check out SECRET WARRIORS for the ongoing story of Dum Dum Dugan.

Ultimate Dum Dum Dugan

In 2000, Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics, contemporary re-interpretations of their most classic characters. Over the last 10 years, the Ultimate Universe has grown to include new visions of many of Marvel's greatest heroes and villains.

Ultimate Dum Dum

In the Ultimate Universe, Dugan’s the Director of the creepy-sounding “Mutant Operations” arm of S.H.I.E.L.D. and also a World War II veteran. Rumor has it that he had his fingers in Project: Rebirth, the government project that gave the world Captain America. Alas, Dum Dum doesn’t don the derby in his Ultimate form…but don’t hold that against him, ‘kay?

To get your Ultimate Dum Dum on, check out his first appearance in ULTIMATE X-MEN #39, collected in ULTIMATE X-MEN: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL. 4 as well as ULTIMATE ORIGINS #2, collected in the trade paperback of the same title.

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