Thursday, July 23, 2015

War And Remembrance!


A few years after the end of The Invaders, the war years for Timely's greatest heroes was recognized and remembered in the pages of Captain America. The creative team at that time on the book was Roger Stern and John Byrne, two Charlton alumni who had made quite an impression on the fans of the day on very good issues of The Avengers. In fact, according to Stern it was a leftover plot from those Avengers days which found its way into a very memorable two-part Cap tale. Joe Rubinstein is doing the inking by the way.


Cap is living life in the United States with his new girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal when he gets a coded message from Lord Montgomery Falsworth, the former Union Jack that Baron Blood, a vampire the Invaders had battled a few times during WWII was back and menacing the countryside. Cap drops everything and flies to meet his old colleagues. He finds not only the very aged Lord Falsworth, but his daughter Jacqueline, now Lady Crichton, the mother of a grown son named Kenneth her own super-speed powers as Spitfire having diminished over the decades. Her brother Brian, the man who was the second Union Jack is revealed to have died in a car accident in 1953. Quickly Cap learns what Lord Falsworth suspects and goes to the Tower of London to confirm that indeed Baron Blood has escaped his tomb. He then meets Kenneth and his friend Joey Chapman a commoner, just before Baron Blood reveals himself and attacks Cap.


In the second installment Cap is able to repulse the vampire who flees to hide again among the population, his identity still unknown. Eventually things come to a head and Baron Blood is defeated of course, his secrets laid bare and a new Union Jack, the third in the line, is initiated into battle. I don't want to spoil too much of his story as its a real dandy by Stern and Byrne.


 They'd created several nifty stories before revisiting the Invaders, and I noticed glancing at this volume that several of them seem to have been fondly remembered by the folks who made the second Cap movie.


Stern and Byrne closed their run by re-working Cap's origin for the 40th anniversary issue (see the top of this post) and cleaned up some of the confusing details which had accumulated in the story over the decades.


Here's the cover to the collection of nine Cap stories that Stern and Byrne did before they left the comic amid some controversy.


And here's the original cover, a humdinger for sure.

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4 comments:

  1. I believe I have that issue The 40th anniv and The Baron Blood one also.
    I also liked the Invaders series although I was not crazy for some of the art work.
    WW2 is a great subject also Good vs Evil nuff said. I wish I good get my Invaders issue but celler got flooded and all in storage. I also can"t wait for your CHARLTON comments. thanks great blog.

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    Replies
    1. WWII because of the straightforward morality was a major draw for comics throughout the form's history, not the less because it was out of the cauldron of that war that the form found its effective voice and largest audiences. It is a constant desire for that nostalgic easy-to-spot-the-bad-guys environment that makes the form so attractive for folks awash in the complexities of the modern world full of much shadier elements. It's why comparing someone to Hitler stills rattles unpleasantly.

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  2. “Baron Blood” was also the name of a 1972 Mario Bava Italian horror film with Joseph Cotton and Elke Sommer. I have a very vague recollection of it playing at the (long-gone) drive-in near my folk's old house.

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  3. I've got that 40th anniversary issue, plus the softcover collection. Rip, I'm confused by that last line under the book cover - were you inadvertently repeating yourself, or did you intend to show another cover (the original artwork perhaps)?

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