July seems a right proper month to celebrate heroes who battle against enemies both foreign and domestic. Simon and Kirby's greatest hit -- Captain America. Without the phenomenal success of the "Sentinel of Liberty" for the quixotic Timely Comics operation (we call them Marvel Comics nowadays of course) the duo might not have hit the long stride which made the most bankable talents of the decade. So thin month I'm digging out my reprint collections of Cap's Golden Age adventures by his creators and giving a fresh reading, the first in many years.
Also taking a look at Cap's revival at Marvel many moons later and his eventual revival in a regular series in the pages of Tales of Suspense and beyond as this is the title which became the Silver Age Captain America series with its one hundredth issue. Jack Kirby (in tandem with Stan Lee) returned to his creation and gave us some of his best art of his long career.
Also on the docket are the Boy Commandos. Following the success of Cap, the duo took their skills to DC and launched one of the biggest sellers for that company alongside such powerhouses as Superman and Batman. The Boy Commandos, a kid gang who go to war was a monster hit even in the Golden Age where such things were measured on a scale modern comics companies can only salivate over.
On a more modern front, I'm at long last going to take another gander at of my all-time favorite series, Strikeforce Moritauri. This amazingly well-crafted tale of regular humans who become something more for reasons we can all identify with is one of the best things Marvel has ever produced. Written by Peter B. Gillis and drawn by the amazing Brent Anderson, this is a great great story.
And at last it's time to read once again all about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not the crew currently making dandy big screen epics, but the originals - Major Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex and the dour Yondu. I fell in absolute love with these mighty men of the solar system in 1968 when they debuted and haven't lost the ardor in all these years.
And maybe this will be the month this year that I read Kirby's Fourth World saga again. I like to get into it at least every couple of years, to refresh in my withered memory the power of this tale. This time I'm going to read the humble black and white reprint volumes DC issued at the end of the last century. They are a different way of seeing art which is all too familiar at times to be effective.
Featured in the "Favorite Cover" slot this month are some of Jack "King" Kirby's finest Captain America covers. Cap always seemed to bring out the best in him. And also daily (if the gods allow) the "100 Days of the King" feature will offer up some of Kirby's juiciest art. All that and the usual hodge-podge of stuff this month is my plans play out. But we know how that can be.