Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Captain America Week: Captain America Must Die!

I first met Captain America back in the glorious bronze age in the pages of the The Avengers issue 116 during the Avengers / Defenders war back in 1973. Though the Avengers were a pretty awesome collection of heroes, for whatever reason, Captain America jumped out.


I don't know if if was his iconic star-spangled costume created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby back in 1940 or the fact that he looked totally pissed and was ready to kick some ass but there was something about him that struck a chord, though I only saw just a tiny bit of him. I knew nothing of him or of the Avengers, I couldn't even read yet, but I did know that they were the most colorful group of heroes I've ever seen (having seen only Super-man and Batman).

It wasn't until 1974 that my mom picked me up issue 177 from the corner news-stand and I had a real Captain America comic.

But what was this? I see the Avengers but Cap is tossing his costume away! And what's this on the first page? "Captain America must die!" being shouted by the man himself?!? What have I stumbled into.

Captain America must die?? I just met him! (why is he always screaming?)

Cap's history in a two page splash. Nice!

The great things about classic comics, and the thing I love the most, is that the artists were classic story-tellers. These comics told the entire story visually. I hardly knew how to read, I was six years old, but I was able to decipher the stories just by the drawing alone.

I was able to 'read' the struggles of a man in the midst of a great decision, his origins and his weighty past. Finally I was able to see his friends trying to support him. Now I couldn't read a lick of this (though I think "Captain America must die" and "..But so much has happened since then" were probably the first comic words I did read) but it was a dramatic story, not action yet it still spellbound me. Quite different from the pissed off Avenger.

But that changed with the next issue I had.

Again I saw Captain America getting his ass kicked by this goopy monster (the Alchemoid). I saw that Cap was putting up a brave fight but, alas, it didn't seem he would be able to defeat this....thing....


Until....Note to super villains: Do not overpower you main weapon....


...'cause once you do that, you've go a really pissed off superhero coming after you and the only thing standing between you and an ass-kickin' are your pack of weasly minions...and we all know how that is gonna to turn out.
I'm sure the Druid doesn't pay that guy enough to take a shield in the face!


again....minions...

After a total ass-whippin' the Druid is out and Shield comes in to mop up.
Happy ending!

Yeah. Captain America was my go-to hero back when we played 'Super-Hero' on the school playground.

The next time I saw Cap it was when Kirby returned to marvel. Ol' wing-head was then fighting all manner of dimensional alien, accompanied by a colorful array of characters all in the typical explosive Kirby style.

Next Issue: And A Phoenix Shall Rise!

Captain America Week:
Day 1: Eat it Hitler!
Day 2: Captain America Must Die!
Day 3: And A Phoenix Shall Rise
Day 4: Bring On The Bad Guys!
Day 5: Silver Screen Hero

2 comments:

  1. Cap's Madbomb arc was the first run of comics I ever bought. I have most of the original issues (repurchased decades after my mom tossed them all out) and I've got them in the Omnibus of 70's Kirby Cap too (which contains the Kirby ish you have pictured above). To be honest, though, I always liked the Falcon more.

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  2. Yeah, I was a huge Falcon fan too and I thought they were a great team.

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