Friday, May 13, 2016

The King Back In Action!


I lingered over this delicious Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia image which was one of several used to cover a magazine-sized celebration of Captain America's seventy-fifth anniversary. Yep, Cap gets longer in the tooth every day and by this time I'm sure his super-soldier serum is helping keep his little wings erect.


But when I saw this Kirby classic I was immediately transported back to 1969 when this "Album Issue" hit the stands and suddenly we were presented with a comic chock full of villains and action galore as Cap looked back over his even-then long history. As I understand it, Jim Steranko needed some more time to finish his initial trilogy on the title, which was alas also to prove to be his last. Kirby produced this comic in record time, even for him, and the interior George Tuska inks guarantee the power of the pencils would endure. As a placeholder story, little occurs in this issue, but it looks so beautiful doing it.
 




As awesome as Steranko's Cap story was, he got the nod when Kirby stepped away from the character he co-created, and had to fill in for the new guy all too soon. It points up to one of Kirby's finest traits as a creator,  his stunning ability to turn in quality comics quickly. While Steranko lingered over his pages, Kirby rocked his out, using experience and familiarity to knock off a potent twenty or so pages. Take a look.





Those are the splash pages, to read the complete story go here.

Steranko is a talent who is fondly remembered (by me as well) but who did remarkably few pages for the strength and durability of his reputation. At the other extreme is Kirby who churned out pages with machine-like efficiency. I don't seek to pit these two talents against one another, they are each singular in their own way. But there's only one "King of Comics", and as far as this fanboy is concerned, there only ever will be one. You want proof -- I give you Captain America #112.

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7 comments:

  1. Steranko tells a different story. He apparently had the habit of holding his art back until the absolute last minute so that there was not time for editorial changes. Obviously there's no way for us to know the absolute truth of this, but maybe Stan became impatient with the practice and decided to pull the trigger early on doing a fill-in, so the issue would be sure to come out on time. Kirby and Tuska did a fantastic job under the circumstances, but if the interruption was the reason Steranko left after such a short run, it's a shame. Cap is Steranko's favorite character and inspired him to create some of his most beautiful comics. He has said that he had initially wanted to spread the story of the Death of Captain America over several issues as a part of re-establishing the character's stature, but ended up having to compress it into one issue.

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    1. Steranko's version of events might well be how he remembers them, and that might well be how he felt, but the threat of a missed deadline was not really an option back then, unlike today. Steranko is a great artist, just not the most reliable. Red Tide is a book I'd still love to read some day.

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  2. I'm intrigued. What was RickM May's comments, why did he delete them, and is he related to (or an alias of) Russ? And am I the only person who prefers the colouring on the original cover?

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    1. I agree, the colors on the original cover are deeper and more complex.

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    2. Hi Kid – sorry for the confusion – No, I’m not related to Russ…I am my own entity…I deleted post #2 because I realized it had duped off of the first one…But then after re-reading my post – I thought ‘how are my comments even pertinent to anyone but myself – I should get rid of this’. But since you were kind enough to inquire – here is that original post. Best regards - RickM

      I have like a decoupage-on-wood plaque with the cover of Captain America #112. It’s larger than the original comic & I’m not sure how it was reproduced. My mother-in-law picked it up for me from a “furniture store” someplace. Normally wife frowns on me displaying my comic book memorabilia in the more public areas of the house – but because her mom bought it that makes it ok I guess. Hangs in my living room and I look at it often. A Kirby cover with Cap surrounded by his rogues gallery. Mighty sweet.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Duped itself again. I removed it. Strange. (Sorry Rip.)

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