Real Name: Arnold "Arnie (or Arn)" Roth
Identity/Class: Human civilian (1920 - modern era)
Occupation: Costume store owner;
former publicist, sailor;
Group Membership: Avengers Support Crew
Affiliations: Michael Bech (his life partner), Arthur Bennett, Sammy Bernstein, Ann Brennan, Captain America (Steve Rogers), Dave Cox, Deirde (childhood acquaintance), Diamondback (Rachel Leighton),Falcon (Sam Wilson), Free Spirit (Cathy Webster), Jack Flag (Jack Harrison), Anna Kapplebaum, Zachary Moonhunter, Nomad (Jack Monroe), Bernadette "Bernie" Rosenthal, Gail Runciter, Sandy Sanderson, Fabian Stankowicz, Zemo's Mutates
Enemies: Baron (Helmut) Zemo, Doughboy, Lurch's gang (Lurch, Georgie and unrevealed others), Mother Night (Susan Scarbo), Primus, Red Skull (Johann Shmidt), Sisters of Sin, Vermin (Edward Whelan)
Known Relatives: Unidentified parents (presumably deceased), Wayne Roth (uncle)
the following are various derogatory terms used by various antagonists:
"Sissy" (used by his father); "Nancy,", "limp noodle," "goon oddball," "pin-head" (used by Hutch); "Fat-bellied little fool" (used by Mother Superior); "Jewish pig" (used by Helmut Zemo)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Cancer ward of Tisch hospital, Manhattan, New York City, New York;
formerly Cap's costume shop, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York;
formerly his uncle Wayne's condo in Florida;
formerly Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York
First Appearance: Captain America I#268 (April 1982)
Powers/Abilities: Arnold Roth possessed no known superhuman abilities. As a young man, he was a proficient boxer who later received further combat training as a sailor during World War II. Struggling socially after leaving the navy, Roth eventually managed to get his life back on track thanks to the love and support of his life partner Michael. Despite his setbacks and dealing with shady people, Arnie remained a kind hearted, steadfast and loyal friend to all who showed him kindness. Roth is a recovering gambler who had occasional relapses. During childhood and in his final years he wore glasses.
Arnold's mind was briefly transferred into one of Zemo's mutates, which was "atavistic" (primitive, primal) and savage, and easily manipulated into attacking others by Zemo. This form, perhaps 8-10' tall, was superhumanly strong (perhaps enhanced human or even Class 10) and durable. Arnold Roth's mutate form was pretty much identical to the second such form used by Michael, whose mostly whole form is pictured below.
5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Hair: Brown (balding)
(Captain America VII#3 (fb) - BTS) - Born in the early 1920s in Manhattan's Lower East Side, frail and kind hearted Arnold "Arnie" Roth was frequently bullied by the neighborhood kids. He also didn't find too much sympathy at home, where his father called his son a sissy for not standing up for himself. His only friend was young Steve Rogers, who also found himself to be a regular target for bullies.
(Captain America VII#3 (fb)) - In 1930, Arnold Roth had saved a nickel he intended to use to buy some baseball cards. However, on his way to the store he was ambushed by Lurch and his street gang who demanded Roth gave up his money. When Arnie refused, they started to rough him up. The sound of the fight alerted Steve Rogers who was nearby talking to his friend Deirdre. Steve came running to Arnie's aide, but proved no match for the gang. Taking Arnie's money and forcing Deirdre to join him, Lurch left the busted up boys in the alley. Walking home, Roth confided in Steve that he was sick of getting beat on and that he planned to take up boxing in order to be able to fight back. In response, Steve remarked that if he did, girls would like him better.
(Captain America I#270 (fb)) - Making good on his promise, Arnie took up boxing and soon became more muscular as he learned how to handle himself in a fight. Roth used his newfound physique to defend his ever so frail friend Steve Rogers from bullies on several occasions. Steve and Arnie bonded, with Steve often staying over at the Roths', considering Artie and his parents to be his second family. During their teens, Arnie realized he was gay but figured there was no way to act out on these urges. To compensate, he actively started chasing girls and gained a reputation as a teenage Romeo. This new persona he cultivated caused him to slowly drift away from the shy, withdrawn Steve Rogers.
When the United States got involved in World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Arnie joined the navy and served with distinction. Sometime during the war, he ran into his old friend Steve who at that point had become Captain America. Amazed to see the formerly scrawny Rogers' new physique, it didn't take Roth long to realize something was up. When he watched the first newsreels of Captain America in action, he immediately knew it was Rogers, but decided to keep quiet about it.
(Captain America I#270 (fb) - BTS) - Roth fell on hard times after he got out of the navy, always hustling to get by and always ending up with the short end of the stick. During these years, he developed a serious gambling problem and got involved in unspecified events that made him wary of the police (see comments). Roughly ten years before he would run into Steve Rogers again, the down on his luck Artie met Michael Bech, who proved to be the love of his life. A school teacher, Michael proved a loving, decent presence in Roth's life who helped him handle the hard times without going nuts.
(Captain America I#268) - Arnold passed a cinema in Park Slope, Brooklyn just as Steve Rogers and Bernie Rosenthal exited after seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark. When Roth spotted Steve, he could barely believe his eyes as he watched his old neighborhood friend -- who had aged significantly since the 1940s due to the Super-Soldier serum and having spent decades in suspended animation -- drive off into the night.
(Captain America I#270 - BTS) - Shortly after encountering Steve Rogers again, Arnie experienced a relapse and started gambling again. Quickly owing about 50,000 dollars to a local bookie, he was at his wits' end and got drunk one night at a bar, revealing he knew Captain America's true identity. This particular tidbit was picked up by an agent of Helmut Zemo, who offered to pay Roth's debt if he would deliver Captain America to a specific address. In order to force Roth's cooperation, Zemo had Michael kidnapped. Unbeknownst to Roth, the mind of Michael was transferred to a monstrous creation of Primus (posing as Arnim Zola) that lied in waiting for Cap to arrive.
(Captain America I#270) - On a warm evening in March,
Steve and Bernie were having a conversation on the steps of their Leaman
Place brownstone in Brooklyn Heights when Arnie walked up to them.
Instantly recognizing his old friend, the slightly startled Steve Rogers
introduced Arnie to Bernie as his father's old army buddy. Arnie and
Steve went for a walk to catch up on old times, during which Steve
realized Arnie knew he was Captain America. Taking Roth back to his
place, Steve listened as Arnie explained what had happened to him after
he left the service and met his "roommate" Michael. Lying to Cap that
Michael had been kidnapped by his bookie and was about to be killed, he
lured his old friend to the address given to him. However, just as Cap
was to walk into the trap, Arnie had a change of heart and told Captain
America what really was going on. Cap assured him everything would be
alright and told him to act as if the plan was still a go. Once inside,
Arnie spotted his boyfriend tied to a chair when the criminals cut the
lights. By then, Cap had already entered the building and was busy
fighting the goons. When he figured he'd beaten them all, he spotted the
massive monster left behind by Zemo and Primus had taken Arnie hostage.
The creature violently tossed Roth aside to go deal with the star
spangled Avenger. Though injured, Arnie made his way up the stairs to
find Michael. When he located and freed his boyfriend from the chair he
was strapped to, Michael's inert body fell to the floor. This
distracted Primus' monster downstairs, allowing Cap to gain the upperhand
and knock it out with his shield. As the creature lay smoldering, it
spotted Arnie rushing down the stairs looking for Cap. With a pained,
ghastly voice it called out Arnie's name before melting away. Frantic,
Roth realized his lover was somehow stuck inside the decomposing
monster. Luckily, shortly after it dissolved, Michael regained
consciousness. Cap watched how the two "roommates" reunited and then
took them both to SHIELD's Manhattan base for medical treatment.
(Captain America I#275 - BTS) - For several weeks, Michael and Arnie remained at the SHIELD base where they met, among others, SHIELD operative Gail Runciter and Vermin. The remains of the creature that Michael inhabited was also being studied there, the strange organic matter baffling SHIELD's resident scientists.
(Captain America I#275) - Arnie was at Michael's bedside
when Captain America came by to see if he could remember anything about
his time inside the creature's head. Explaining that all he could recall
was being kidnapped by an unseen maniac and his mind suddenly reverting
to some atavistic state. Clearly getting upset by recalling the
experiences, Michael was told by Cap to remain calm and let SHIELD's
medical team handle anything. As he left, he told Michael that his
roommate was a great guy, leading Arnie to call Cap "the greatest."
Shortly after Cap had left, the creature's remains were activated by
remote control by Baron Zemo and Primus. Breaking out of its containment
cylinder, it reformed and tore through the facility, inadvertently
freeing Vermin who attacked it. Making its way to the medical bay, the
creature kidnapped Arnie and Michael and left with Vermin in tow.
(Captain America I#276 - BTS) - Brought before Zemo and Primus, Arnie learned who was behind transforming Michael. He also realized that Primus' horde of mutates were actually kidnapped people the mad geneticist had experimented on. Even as Zemo started to condition Vermin, bending the feral mutate to his will, he had Arnie and Michael placed in specially prepared pods from which their brains could each inhabit a creature similar to the one Michael had been trapped in before. As Roth slept, Zemo and Primus sent an invitation to Captain America to come rescue his old friend Arnie. Cap accepted and was brought to the villains' Mexico headquarters via shuttle.
(Captain America I#276) - Cap, having faced several of Primus' minions, finally burst through the door leading to the lab Arnie was being held. Shocked to see his friend trussed up like a lab experiment, he was then greeted by Helmut Zemo (whom he'd only met before in his previous guise as Phoenix), Vermin, Primus and his mutates.
(Captain America I#277 - BTS) - Captain America immediately attacked his enemies, but was forced to agree to a temporary truce when Zemo threatened to have his creatures destroy the pods containing Arnie and Michael. Cap joined the villains for a brief tour of the castle, during which he learned he was facing his old enemy Heinrich Zemo's son. Helmut explained his plans, calmly stating that all he wanted was to take revenge on Steve Rogers by destroying his personal life. He then ordered the shapeshifting Primus to become Rogers and sent him off, even as Cap was gassed. When he came to, he found himself tied to the wall in an arena along with Vermin.
(Captain America I#277) - Zemo explained that he had ordered Primus to place the consciousness of both Michael and Arnie into his mutates, in an attempt to hurt Rogers in the same way he'd hurt his beloved mother and father. He then ordered the mutates containing the essence of Arnie and his lover to attack Cap and Vermin. While Captain America tried his best not to hurt the creatures, Vermin had no such qualms and ripped out the brains of "Michael", instantly killing the man himself. When the creature's dead body toppled over and pinned down Arnie, Roth's mind returned to his body only to find his lover dead. Dazed and confused, Arnie blamed Cap for letting Michael die, which delighted the sadistic Zemo to no end.
(Captain America I#278) - Shocked by his lover's death and still reeling from the sudden transference, Roth momentarily fainted after continuing to berate Cap for letting Michael die. However, Arnie quickly recovered when Zemo sent in Primus' creatures to finish them off. Cap, operating under the idea he was fighting artificial beings, hacked into them, until Arnie's mind cleared up enough to remember the hordes were actually innocent human beings. Convincing Cap to stop killing them, Roth's plea was so convincing he tried to reason with the creatures. Hearing his words, Primus' hordes called off their attack and joined Cap in taking the battle to Zemo. Cap carried Michael's corpse as they made their way out of the dungeons. Stunned by this turn of events, Zemo slightly panicked. When he ran into Cap and the others, Arnie managed to knock him out with a single blow. Seeing their tormentor taken down drove the mutate army wild with joy and they started tearing the castle apart. Roth, a little scared he and Cap would be next, then witnessed the arrival of SHIELD operative Gail Runciter and her squad who immediately opened fire on the creatures. Cap managed to prevent an all out massacre and then returned home with Arnie and Michael's remains.
(Captain America I#279 - BTS) - Four days after their return from Mexico, Michael was buried.
(Captain America I#279) - Steve and Arnie visited Michael's grave, with Roth stating he was all he had and all he ever wanted. Steve then tried to apologize, saying it was his fault this happened to Michael. Feeling cursed, he claimed to leave a trail of misery and death in his wake. Openly lamenting the fact he was never allowed to have a normal life, Rogers' rant was stopped by an upset Roth who called his friend out over his attempt to make Michael's death about his own self pity. Chastising Rogers for unjustly blaming himself for the world's ills, Arnie eventually broke down crying, leading to the two friends sharing a hug as they left the cemetery together.
(Captain America I#284) - Still mourning the loss of Michael, Arnie nevertheless decided to attend a party thrown by Bernie Rosenthal. There, he met amongst others, Anna Kapplebaum and Sam Wilson. Feeling somewhat ill at ease, he spotted the equally uncomfortable Jack Monroe and went over to introduce himself. The two instantly hit it off, to the delight of Steve who figured they could both use a friend.
(Captain America I#290 - BTS) - In preparation for his final strike against Captain America, the Red Skull (Johann Shmidt) ordered his psychic underling Mother Superior (Susan Scarbo) to recruit Baron Zemo. Furthermore, the Skull wanted her to start manipulating the dreams of Cap's close friend Arnie who began suffering such terrible nightmares he grew afraid to fall asleep.
(Captain America I#290) - Arnie woke up screaming after yet another vivid nightmare, this time dreaming he was at his lover's grave when Michael rose up as a decomposing corpse who still wanted him. Waking up screaming, Arnie got a second surprise when Zemo and Mother Superior emerged through a wall in his living room. When Zemo warned Roth of his coming death, Superior used her mental powers to force Roth to fall asleep again. He only woke up when Cap, Nomad and the Falcon showed up for a surprise visit. Delighted to have the company, Arnie shared his fear of falling asleep with his costumed friends, even recounting the recent visitation by Zemo and Superior as one of those dreams. He then lamented the fact that months after Michael's death, the pain still hadn't dulled and he continued to feel like a broken man. Eager to change the subject, he invited the heroes to stay for bagels and "schmear" over a few rounds of poker. Unbeknownst to them, Zemo and Superior observed them from a nearby rooftop before returning to Skull House to report back to the Red Skull. After Cap and the others left, Arnie felt a little better. But when he spotted the marks of footsteps disappearing into the wall, he realized to his shock that Zemo's visit might not have been a dream after all.
(Captain America I#292) - Despite the fact he was Jewish, Arnie happily accepted Steve Rogers' invitation for a Christmas party at his place in Brooklyn Heights. There, he met Bernie's friend Ann Brennan and Steve Rogers' advertisement agency boss Arthur Bennett who wanted to know what Arnie thought of his latest ad campaign featuring singing toilet bowls. When Steve spotted one of the Black Crow's titular birds on the window sill, he ran out along with Jack in tow. When a thoroughly confused Bernie followed them, Arnie was left to cover for his friends by claiming he figured they were about to come back dressed as Santa and his helpers, loaded with presents.
(Captain America I#295) - When Zemo and Mother Superior appeared before him again, Arnie figured he was having another nightmare. He fainted when Superior assured him they were quite real. Disgusted by the fact he had to carry a "Jewish pig," Zemo suggested they simply snap Roth's neck and be done with it. Superior reminded Zemo of their mission and insisted they brought back Arnie to Skull House so he could become "yet another nail to be pounded in Captain America's coffin."
(Captain America I#295 - BTS) - After they had abducted the real Arnie, Superior and Zemo replaced him with a robotic version they told to leave a message on Steve Rogers' answering machine telling him to rush to his aid. They then trashed Roth's apartment and brandished the living room wall with a burning skull. They also left behind robot Arnie who contained a microfilm with directions to where Captain America might find the real Roth. When Steve got the message, he rushed to Arnie's apartment where he, Jack Monroe and Bernie watched the faux Arnie dissolve before their eyes, leaving only the microfilm inside its eyes. Changing into their costumes, Cap and Nomad made their way to the location of Skull House where they faced Mother Superior's Sisters of Sin. Once inside, Cap noticed that for some reason he had begun aging visibly.
(Captain America I#296 - BTS) - After arriving in Skull House, Roth was brainwashed by Mother Superior to believe himself the master of ceremonies of the Rothkeller, a mock 1930s Berlin cafe in the basement of Skull House. Preying on Roth's insecurities about himself, his sexuality and sense of identity, Superior twisted the love he felt for his friend Steve Rogers in such a way that she managed to condition Arnie to give the performance of a lifetime. Meanwhile, a dozen or so Roth robots served as the Rothkeller's clientele. Cap and Nomad reached the basement of Skull House and were startled to walk into the Rothkeller. Greeted by the singing of Sister Pleasure, one of the Sisters of Sin, they then realized all the patrons and even the staff were Arnie. After Sister Pleasure revealed to Nomad she had been mentally manipulating him into slowly poisoning Cap's food with a chemical that reversed the effects of the super-soldier serum, causing him to age at an increased pace.
(Captain America I#296) - Giving the heroes no time to come to terms with this revelation, the real Arnold Roth, dressed up as an effeminate entertainer of the era, took to the stage and began his signature song, slighting every aspect of himself with lyrics like: "My name is Arnold Roth... I am a fat little sloth... I prance and pout... I scream and shout.. My taste is not quite right... My flab is pasty white". Trapped inside a glass dome, Cap had no choice but to watch his friend humiliate himself. After the song was over, Roth started his monologue, calling himself a strutting freak and openly wondering why Steve had ever treated one such as him with respect and compassion, even suggesting Rogers might be gay as well. Struggling to continue, Roth finally broke down crying, falling to his knees and pleading with Steve to help him. Breaking out of the dome, Cap rushed to his friend's aide, telling him that the love he felt for Michael was every bit as pure as what he himself felt for Bernie. Roth however, was in a near catatonic state by then, his mind completely snapped. Proud of her handiwork, Mother Superior showed herself and fought Captain America long enough for the Skull's lackeys to pick up Roth and put him with the other prisoners: Falcon, Bernie Rosenthal and Nomad. When Cap noticed them, he got so distracted Superior managed to get the drop on him and knock him out.
(Captain America I#297) - While Superior, Zemo and the Skull tortured Captain America and Nomad with sophisticated illusions of World War II, Arnie, Bernie and Falcon were kept in the Skull House prison. There, Rosenthal tried her best to comfort Roth who remained completely unresponsive.
(Captain America I#298) - Roth didn't even notice Nomad being returned to their holding cell after the WWII simulation had failed to break Cap's spirit. Joining forces with Falcon, Nomad quickly found a way out of their prison. Bernie supported the catatonic Arnie as they escaped.
(Captain America I#299) - Following a long trek through the catacombs of Skull House, Nomad, Arnie and the others reached a church. Thinking themselves safe for the moment, they were alerted by the slowly recovering Arnie who alerted them to the Sisters of Sin who immediately attacked them. Bernie tried to keep the rambling Arnie safe, who kept mumbling about how bad women were. The fight was interrupted by the arrival of Mother Superior and Baron Zemo who had been locked in a power struggle over who was more fit to be the Skull's heir. In the end, Superior used her mental powers to seemingly fry Zemo's mind.
(Captain America I#300) - Falcon and Nomad used the confusion following Superior's victory over Zemo to guide Arnie and Bernie to relative safety, away from Skull House. Not wanting to leave Cap behind, Nomad elected to go back in and find his old friend. Once inside, he quickly located the aged, decrepit Steve Rogers who himself had just seen the Red Skull die of old age. After helping him up, Nomad watched in awe as the now ancient Rogers carried his old enemy outside in his arms.
(Captain America I#301) - Arnie was present when the Avengers arrived at Skull House in the aftermath of Captain America's confrontation with the Red Skull and his associates. Even as the heroes were startled to see Cap's aged appearance and brought him to the mansion to counter his condition, Arnie was taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.
(Captain America I#302 - BTS) - Bernie informed a worried Steve Rogers that Arnie was still being treated at a local sanatorium following his recent ordeal.
(Captain America I#306 - BTS) - Arnie eventually made a full recovery, even though the loss of Michael and his experiences at the hands of the Skull and Mother Night weighed heavily on him. His doctors advised Roth to do something relaxing to help overcome his issues, which he planned to do by visiting his uncle Wayne in Florida.
(Captain America I#306) - Arnie wanted to say goodbye to his friend Steve, but was unable to find him (Captain America was in London fighting Mordred). He eventually visited Bernie Rosenthal's glasswares shop to inform Bernie of his decision. Happy to see her friend was doing okay, Bernie bid him farewell. As she watched him go, she couldn't help but think how forlorn he looked.
(Captain America I#428 - BTS) - During his time in Florida, Arnold lost fifty pounds and managed to keep the weight off for two years. He also learned he had developed a terminal form of bone cancer that would kill him within a year. Determined to make the best of what time remained, Arnie decided to dedicate himself to Captain America's cause.
(Captain America I#428) - Arnie traveled to Brooklyn for a visit with Steve Rogers. Visiting the costume shop Rogers used as the nerve center for his Captain America hotline, Roth was met by Fabian Stankowicz. While Arnie and Fabian were talking, Cap walked in and had a brief but happy reunion that was cut short when a report on a possible lead on the Super Patriot came in, forcing Captain America to immediately go and check it out.
(Captain America I#431) - Arnie greeted Steve Rogers as he entered the Brooklyn Heights costume shop Roth was minding. Immediately spotting his friend wasn't well (caused by the super-soldier serum slowly breaking down), Arnie tried to find out what was wrong. Steve quickly changed the subject, asking how business was going. With a wry smile, Arnie told his friend things weren't going so well, but then again the store was just a front never supposed to actually make money. Hearing Steve's voice, Fabian emerged from the back of the store to show Rogers the new Captain America armor he had been working on to help compensate for his loss of power. From the back, Arnie watched Steve put the contraption on with a concerned look on his face.
(Captain America I#438) - Captain America gathered all his closest friends and allies (Arnie, Free Spirit, Jack Flag, Fabian Stankowicz and Zachary Moonhunter) in the backroom of Arnie's costume shop. He stunned them with the news his body was failing following the breakdown of the super-soldier serum and that as a result, a fatal heart attack was imminent. While the others needed a little time to process the news, Arnie took Steve aside and told him he fully understood what he was going through, revealing his own terminal cancer diagnosis. Overcome by the inescapably sad reality of their situation, the two old friends hugged.
(Captain America I#439) - While tending to the store, Arnie was suddenly overcome by a major seizure and fell to the floor. The crash alerted Jack Flag, Fabian Stankowicz and Free Spirit who were downstairs training in the gym. Finding Arnie writhing in pain, they rushed him to Tisch hospital in Manhattan.
(Captain America I#440) - After making sure the unconscious Arnie was resting comfortably in his bed at Tisch hospital's cancer ward, Jack Flag, Free Spirit and Fabian Stankowicz said goodbye to their friend before joining Nick Fury on a mission to help Captain America take down AIM.
(Captain America I#442) - Captain America visited Arnie in the hospital, but Roth seemed somewhat incoherent (possibly because of the painkillers). He went on a brief rant about the 1940s radioshow The Whistler, how he used to love the voice actor who portrayed the titular character and how after he was replaced by someone else around 1943 it never sounded quite right again. As he drifted off again, Cap held his hand and told Arnie to rest.
(Captain America I#443) - Acting on Black Crow's vision he only had 24 hours left to live, Captain America rushed to tie up as many loose ends in his life as possible. He went to see Arnie, by now comatose and on life support, to bid his old friend a final goodbye. As he left, he gave Roth a kiss on the forehead, thanked him for being such a good friend and told him he'd see him soon. Even as Cap left the hospital room, the heart monitor's soft monotonous tone indicated Arnold Roth had passed on.
Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks).
Arnold Roth shares his name (and is most likely named after) the legendary cartoonist.
Years before Northstar came out, there was Arnie Roth. Writer J.M. DeMatteis, never one to shy away from (in those days) sensitive subjects, introduced Roth in early 1982 with very little fanfare. Of course his lover Michael was at first "merely" a roommate, but it soon became apparent the two shared far more than rent and a mailbox. It's a bit of a shame Arnie was continuously tormented during his tenure as a Cap supporting character. First losing his lover, then he was almost driven insane (this *is* a DeMatteis comic after all). And, after having been gone for close to a decade, Mark Gruenwald brought him back only to have him succumb to cancer within months.
I'd guess that this was because Mark Gruenwald, of all writers, was all too aware that the sliding timescale would make it increasingly tricky to have Arnie around as a childhood friend of Cap and still vital and active. His approximate date of birth is largely fixed - because it wasn't specified, there's a little wiggle room but he's got to be 1920s, so by the time Arnie died, he'd have been 75 or so, and maybe 70 at best when he got reunited with Cap; now, since the sliding timescale means his demise has shifted forward into the 2000s, and he'd have been in his 80s. Still viable, but as more years go by, that's going to get less so. We've seen the same thing of late with other WWII characters who are tied to that era and still around - all the ones who don't have ways of avoiding aging or being disconnected from the war are now being killed off. Peggy Carter, most of the Howling Commandos, the Young Allies, etc. Mark G just saw the problem coming a bit earlier.
It's never been confirmed Roth had a criminal past, but that seems somewhat unlikely given his established personality traits. A possible explanation for his wariness towards cops might be the fact that the police regularly raided gay bars in the 1950s and 60s, before the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969. When DeMatteis created Roth in 1982, homosexuality was still considered a crime in about half the country. Gay people caught in the act faced injustices like jail time, forced psychiatric treatment and in extreme cases even mandatory castration. No wonder Arnie wasn't in any rush to ask the police's help in finding his "roommate".
As for Arnie's career as a publicist, the Avengers' publicist no less, was as part of a backup feature in Avengers I#300. It listed the various people Captain America and Jarvis "had hired or were planning to in the next few months." Among them Nuklo (Robert Frank Jr.) as the Avengers' groundskeeper (as confirmed in Avengers#311), Inger Sullivan as the team's lawyer and Diane Arliss Newell as a secretary.
Per the Avengers Index, the crew who are listed in #300 but who don't get seen on panel as part are Talia Kruma, Diane Arliss-Newell, Walter Newell, Genji Odashu, Arnold Roth, Inger Sullivan, and Gilbert Vaughn
As for Arnie--its hard to say because some of the characters in the background of the battle between the support crew and the robots were not given a lot of detail, and were sometimes not properly coloured...but I see a head that looks like it might be Arnie's in the background of the bottom panel of page 20 in issue #311. Just over Quasar's shoulder. There aren't too many men of the known support staff characters who would have a face that round and a hairline like that. It is VERY thin evidence, I know--a barely visible head in a single panel. But when compared with the list (and headshots) in #300, it certainly looks like it could be Arnie. I've attached a scan from the panel in question, so you can judge for yourself. It definitely isn't Jarvis (who has an eye patch over that eye in this issue) nor Bob Frank (who is shown elsewhere in the same panel), or Fabian Stankowicz, who is in his Mecha Maurader armour. Arnie seems the most likely candidate to me, of the known options, but what do you think?
--Dermie (Mike McDermott)
Arnold Roth was listed among Cap's closest friends and relations during his salad days in 1996's Captain America: The Legend.
Primus posed as his creator Arnim Zola from Captain America I#270-279 and was the one aiding Baron Zemo in the creation of mutates.
Michael Bech's last name was revealed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol. 12: Vermin entry. Thanks to Madison Carter and Rob London for helping me track that down...Snood.
Profile by Norvo.
Arnold Roth should not be confused with
ROTH, Dr. GERALD - Roxxon, led attempt to flood Savage Land, eaten by Chtylok--Sensational Spider-Man#13
Michael was a teacher who met and fell in love with Arnold "Arnie" Roth, a down on his luck former sailor with a gambling problem. Through their relationship, Michael helped Roth largely kick the addiction and was crucial in helping him get his life back together again. They spent ten happy years living together, officially merely as "roommates." During this time, Roth confided in Michael that he knew Captain America was actually his childhood friend Steve Rogers. However, Michael never really knew whether or not to believe that particular story. When Arnie fell off the wagon and started gambling again, he quickly owed up 50,000 dollars to a local bookie. Desperate, he accepted Baron Zemo's offer to pay off the debt if he would deliver Captain America to him.
As added incentive, Zemo had his men kidnap Michael, whose mind was placed inside one of Primus' creatures. The monster almost threatened to overpower and kill Cap, but when Michael heard his lover's voice, he was able to reassert control long enough for Captain America to disable the creature. Shaken up by the experience, Michael was taken to Manhattan's SHIELD base for extensive medical testing, alongside with the remains of the creature he'd only recently been stuck in.
The creature soon returned to life and abducted Michael, Arnie and Vermin taking them back to Zemo's castle in Mexico. There, Michael and Arnie were placed in special transference pods designed to place their consciousness inside another creature of Primus. In that capacity, "Michael" and "Arnie" were forced to fight both Captain America (who had been lured to Mexico as well) and Vermin. While Cap knew it was essential not to damage the brains of the creatures, the feral Vermin had no such qualms and tore apart the brain of "Michael", thereby killing the man himself. After overcoming the forces of Zemo and Primus, Cap and Arnie returned Michael's body to United States where he received a private burial several days later.
--Captain America I#270, 275, 276, 277, 279
images: (without ads)
Captain America I#270, p3, pan1 (main image)
Captain America VII#3, p5, pan2 (as a child in 1930)
Captain America I#270, p5, pan4 (meets Steve Rogers in the navy)
Captain America I#275, p4, pan 5 (thinks Cap is the greatest)
Captain America I#276, p9, pan1 (Roth and Michael as Primus' creations)
Captain America I#278, p9, pan2 (knocks out Zemo)
Captain America I#290, p12, pan4 (gets a visit from Zemo and Mother Night)
Captain America I#296, p11 pan2,3,5,6 (fights his conditioning)
Captain America I#438, p17, pan6,7 (knows what Cap's going through)
Captain America I#443, p11, pan4 (dying of cancer)
Captain America I#275, p5, pan1 (Michael and the machine)
Captain America I#268 (April, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Captain America I#270 (June, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Captain America I#275 (November, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#276 (December, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#277 (January, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#278 (February, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#279 (March, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Mike Zeck (pencils), John Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#284 (August, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Kim DeMulder Beatty (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#290 (February, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Ron Frenz (pencils), Steve Leialoha (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#292 (April, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Eduardo Berreto (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#295 (July, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Brett Breeding (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#296 (August, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Sam de la Rosa (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#297 (September, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Roy Richardson (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#298 (October, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Roy Richardson (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#299 (November, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Roy Richardson (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#300 (December, 1984) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#301 (January, 1985) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#302 (February, 1985) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Sam de la Rosa (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#306 (June, 1985) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#428 (June, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Captain America I#431 (September, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Captain America I#438 (April, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Captain America I#439 (May, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America I#440 (June, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi, Marie Severin, Don Hudson (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America I#442 (August, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover, Sandu Flores (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America I#443 (September, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America VII#3 (March, 2013) - Rick Remender (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch (editors)
First Posted: 03/03/2014
Last updated: 03/30/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
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