Sarah Wilson is a minor character in the comics but significant in the life of Sam Wilson. She’s been there from when they were kids to when he stepped in to become Captain America. Her love and support have helped him through many of his most critical moments in the comics.
Only A Few Appearances
Sarah Wilson’s comic book history is very brief. She has made only a handful of appearances since her debut in Captain America #134 in 1972. She was co-created by the legendary comics team of writer Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan. After her initial appearance, Sarah wouldn’t be back for a decade, next appearing in Captain America #275.
It would be several years again before she made any regular appearances. Her most recent appearances have been when Sam served as Captain America, back in 2015.
Lives In Harlem
One of the biggest differences between the Marvel Comics and the series involves Sarah Wilson and where she lives. The MCU version lives with her family in Lousiana. This is a big change from the comics as both Sarah and Sam grew up in Harlem, in New York City.
Their early life and tragic history are recounted in Captain America #277 in 1982, which summarizes their mutual story to the paint in an amazing two-page spread by artist Mike Zeck. Longtime Captain America writer Mark Gruenwald wrote the script.
Sarah doesn’t have any superpowers of her own, and she’s the only Wilson sibling who isn’t involved in some kind of super activity. The two have another older brother, Gideon, who helped to raise them after the tragic deaths of their parents. Gideon Wilson would gain superpowers but wasn’t exactly a hero.
Gideon exposed himself to gamma radiation and developed superpowers to fight the Hulk. He blamed the Hulk for the death of his son, Jim, but Jim had actually died of AIDS. Gideon later lost his powers and became a minister in Harlem.
Parents Were Murdered
Sarah’s parents died in tragic circumstances. Her father, Reverend Paul Wilson, was stabbed in the back when he intervened in a fight. Her mother, Darlene, was shot and killed by a mugger.
Though shaken, Sarah and her siblings persevere to do great things. In the Disney+ show, it seems this backstory has likely been changed, but the power of Sarah and Sam has not been.
Comic book readers first met Sarah Wilson during one of her biggest challenges. Her son, Jody Casper, worked for a bookie named Stoneface. Sarah, worried about him, went to the Falcon for help.
Jody was encouraged to turn his life around by both Sam and Captain America. Jody didn’t want to hear it fast, getting into an argument with Sam and accusing him of being jealous of Stoneface. But, eventually, he did turn things around and has been living happily ever since.
Sarah’s life is sadly one of tragedy. She loses both her parents, a nephew, and then her husband. Sarah’s husband (whose first name is never given, but his last name is Casper) dies before fans meet her and Jody.
How he dies isn’t revealed, but it compounds the pain and sense of loss she feels. Nevertheless, Sarah does everything she can to keep going and raise her son the best she can. She reaches out to Sam for help and he depends on her as well, especially as his life gets more complicated in the comic books.
Helps Sam Work Out His True Identity
One of the stranger quirks of Sam’s comic book back story is his time as ‘Snap’ Wilson. This is a persona Sam adopts early on to deal with the grief and trauma of his past. Sam forgets about Snap after he becomes Falcon, but the Red Skull, one of Captain America’s most powerful villains, uses the Cosmic Cube to remind him of his painful past.
Sarah helped Sam work through his mood swings and inexplicable behavior, though it wasn’t easy as Sarah at one point thought that Snap Wilson was there to stay.
Supports Him When He Runs For Congress
The return of the Snap persona complicates Sam’s run for Congress. He decides to run for public office in a storyline beginning in Captain America #275. Sarah assists him with his campaign and helps him navigate the complications of politics after Sam left being a superhero behind briefly.
His bid for Congress ultimately fails and Sam returns to his role as Falcon.
Run-In With The Taskmaster
In one of Sarah Wilson’s rare appearances in the 1990s, she’s tangentially involved with The Taskmaster, the villain of the Black Widow movie. In a backup story in Captain America #11 in 1992, Sam returns to his home neighborhood in Harlem and Sarah only to find the Taskmaster involved with one of his friends Tyrone.
Taskmaster is running a training program in the neighborhood, one that also threatens to ensnare other youth like Sarah’s son Jody. Falcon takes down the Taskmaster in a big battle.
Worried For Her Brother, Captain America
Sam Wilson becomes Captain America in 2015 after Steve Rogers ages dramatically thanks to losing the Super-Soldier Serum. Sam goes home and visits his sister in her first appearance in years. She’s worried about him as the new Captain America but lets him know how much pride she has in him and how much she supports him.
He in turn is very proud of her for raising two children on her own and persevering in the face of difficulty. Though their circumstances are different in the MCU, it seems Sarah and Sam’s relationship is rooted in the same place..