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.
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.