Historically there are few less universally hated and feared groups than Nazis. The rise of Fascism in the early 20th century lead to one of the most horrific genocides in modern history and created a climate of fear and violence that engulfed the world and did not end until the final days of the Second World War. Fascism by no means disappeared, but over decades the Nazis became more of a spectre, a sort of historical boogie man, than a real recognized threat.
Fascism never died. In the 90s there was a huge swell in what was then called the “Neo Nazi movement.” In recent years there has been a huge spread of populist fascism across Europe. It recently peaked in the U.K. with Britain’s exit from the EU, lead by fascist dad Nigel Farage, followed swiftly by the election of Donald Trump, who was endorsed by the KKK and supported and lauded by numerous fascist leaders. Yesterday one of these leaders Richard Spencer was punched in the face. This lead to a lot of discourse around whether or not it was ok to punch a Nazi.
So, presented without ceremony:
TEN OF THE BEST TIMES THAT SOMEONE PUNCHED A NAZI IN COMICS
Wonder Woman #240: Wonder Woman Punched a Nazi
Wonder Woman is great at putting the smack down on all sorts of villainous foes, and in Wonder Woman #240 she took down the vicious Nazi Siegfried the Speedster, by punching him straight out of a window. Classic Diana.
Marvel Two In One #20: Red Raven Punched a Nazi
Red Raven may not be an A-List superhero but in #2o of The Thing’s team up book, he and his fellow Legion of Liberty members joined Ben Grimm to take down the dastardly Swastika suited Master Man, and boy did he do it with style. Sal Buscema introduced a unique wing swipe and THWOP! Master Man was history.
Marvel Two In One #20: The Thing Punched a Nazi
Marvel Two In One #20 delivered not one but two amazing Nazi punching moments, when Ben Grimm used his fists to clobber not one, not two but three Nazis. In one fell swoop. Yes one of those Nazi’s has a shark on his chest. If Nazis were sensible, they wouldn’t be Nazis.
Daredevil #1 Daredevil Battles Hitler: Daredevil Punched a Nazi
Before everyone’s favourite guilty catholic, sort of blind guy Matt Murdoch, there was another Daredevil. A black and red suited super hero who burst out of the now forgotten Lev Gleason Publications. In his debut issue he battled numerous Nazi foes but none more formidable than Hitler himself, who he took out with a punch to the gut. Special mention to the Nazi head kick in the last panel too.
TMNT Adventures #64: Raphael Punched a Nazi
Archie Comics’ TMNT Adventures had many an outrageous adventure but none more so than when during some time travel hijinx they use the “Time Slip Generator” and discover that Hitlers brain is controlling the machine and also a robot version of Hitler himself. Luckily Raph — the best Turtle — knocks him out cold with one punch, and the Turtles steal his brain and jump back through time. Because… The Nineties.
Superman #13: Superman Punched a Nazi
Superman #13 actually includes a brilliant and strange sci-fi style tale about a light so bright it momentarily blinds everyone and enables the mysterious “Light” to commit a lot of crimes. But it did come out in 1941, so has this incredible cover showing Krypton’s last son–so incensed at the Nazis that punching one of them isn’t enough, he has to punch their entire ship. A wonderful example of direct action from the worlds most famous immigrant.
Batman/Hellboy/Starman #1: Hellboy Punched a Nazi
Hellboy has battled plenty of Nazis in his time, but one of my all time favourite Hellboy punching Nazis moment was in this two issue DC/Dark Horse crossover from 1999. After one of their fellow heroes — The original Starman Ted Knight — is kidnapped by Neo Nazi’s our favourite Demon and Gotham’s most questionable billionaire team up to kick some fash heads in. It’s splendid.
Glory #23: Glory Punched a Nazi
Rob Liefeld’s half demon half amazon superhero Glory first appeared in Youngblood and not very many clothes. But 14 years after the end of her original run she reappeared in Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell’s Glory #23. Glory is now a strong, dynamic warrior and we are introduced to her in this totally badass splash page where she’s taking out an entire tanks worth of Nazi scum. Beautiful.
Captain America #1: Captain America Punched a Nazi
If there was ever a more obvious statement of intent than this front cover I don’t think I’ve seen it. Created by Jack Kirby, a man who actually fought Nazis and fascism. This issue made it clear this character was here for one reason: To stop fascism in its tracks. Unbelievably on it’s release Marvel received numerous letters and death threats from Hitler apologists. Foreshadowing decades of sad men trying to appropriate comics for their own means and denying their inherent and pointed political messages.
Marvel Premiere #52: Black Panther Punched a Nazi
In 1976 after the masterful Panthers Rage run, the creative team on Black Panther decided to do something incredibly controversial and take T’Challa and out of his beautiful and technologically advanced world of Wakanda and transport him straight into the racially segregated south. T’Challa’s battle with the Klan is still to this day one of the most surprising and raw of the Marvel books, that carries a clear message about the evils of racism, nationalism and white supremacy.