I've been working through the Essentials collection and can't say I'm loving it. It's interesting, but this is the first time I've read a big chunk of early bronze Marvel (apart from post-Ditko spiderman) at a brisk pace--2-3 issues a night--and it's tiring! The writing is a little purple and self-conscious, and the art hurts. I think that's less Sal B than John Tartaglione's inking--it's like every square inch needs to be filled with something. Even Vinnie C seems like a relief--my eyeballs can breathe again. But I'll soldier on, effendi!
Re: Alan Weiss's issue: Weiss was a damn good artist, but never seemed to do much. I'm pretty sure he was part of the Continuity group, but always had the feeling that he probably had a hard time with deadlines, which is why he didn't appear much.
“If you’re not good enough to be a cartoonist, maybe you can be an artist." --S. Clay Wilson
Post by Crimebuster on Jun 8, 2017 12:01:54 GMT -5
I'll be curious what you think of the latter half of his run if you can get that far. It turned out to be more inconsistent than I remembered, but there are some really great issues that live up to the reputation in my opinion.
Post by Roquefort Raider on Jun 9, 2017 11:30:32 GMT -5
Really cool recap of a great era. I had forgotten the outrage of Sam not being Sam but a disastrous stereotypical thug... One of the early horrible retcons in comics.
Hey, in hindsight, we now know that a Cosmic Cube-altered Falcon working for the Red Skull surprisingly clobbered a Cosmic Cube-altered Captain America working for Hydra, at a time where SHIELD was also secretly controlled by Hydra, Dum-Dum was an LMD, and most of all these characters were probably Skrulls anyway. Aren't retcons great?
It was such a stupid idea... In the first adventure where we meet the Falcon, Sam helps Cap defeat the Red Skull... what kind of a stupid plan is it to provide a "perfect" sidekick for your arch-enemy and allow him to defeat you, just so that later down the line, maybe, you can use him against said arch-enemy? It's just insane. The editor should really have stepped in and said "nope".
Regarding the Frank Robbins art: I didn't like it at all either on this book. However, I had no problem with the confusing image where Cap find Roscoe's body. In fact, I think the lack of clarity added something to the scene: it really wasn't clear what had happened to the kid, but we could tell from Cap's reaction that it was something bad; perhaps something so bad that it couldn't be shown clearly in a comic-book. In this case, lack of clarity was a plus, I feel.
^RR, I choose to think that Roscoe was 'simply' beaten up very badly, but that Robbins and Englehart went with framing that panel discreetly rather than showing his bruised and bloodied body.
I find that preferable to the more recent tendency of showing virtually every severe injury in graphic detail. (Had it been drawn today, we might see flaps of skin hanging loose or a dislodged jawbone).
The intensity of Cap's reaction is something I ascribe to him losing a good young friend who looked up to him (not unlike Bucky), where the injuries don't need to be particularly gruesome; the fact that he had been visibly beaten to death was in itself shocking enough to Cap.
Take my hand/lead me to some peaceful land/that I cannot find inside my head
Just listened to both episodes today, back to back. Good work, both of you! (Although I have to say I vehemently disagree with your assessments of Sal Buscema's work, but it was already covered to some extent in the comments for the first episode, so I'll just leave it at that.)
One thing I found myself thinking about as I was listening to the second episode in particular, when you touched on issues of race and racism, is that Englehart did often seem to succumb to the casual racism prevalent in America in the 1970s and 1980s; it wasn't just in Cap, but also during his run on Defenders - particularly in that issue that immediately followed the Avengers/Defenders War, which contained some pretty ugly stereotypes about the Middle East and Arabs as I recall. This also occasionally cropped up in Steve Gerber's work (I'm thinking of the story in the Howard the Duck Annual). It's unfortunate, because I think Englehart, Gerber and a number of the other younger writers who started to gain prominence in the 1970s were sincerely trying to address the social and political issues of their day and get past the prejudices of previous generations.
Anyway, looking forward to future episodes - and if you ever decide to do something with Stern & Byrne's Cap run, drop me a line.
I don't know if the cover was created before or after the interior art, but Gil Kane's cover was very striking and his trademark "contorted physique" is really effective here. I think you guys hit the nail on the head: having already seen the cover, readers could infer what happened; the interior art for that scene didn't need to be explicit.
As mentioned I'd read several Cap Essentials volumes a few years ago, so it was interesting to see how Englehart revisited and expanded the core Cap scenarios--Steve giving up his Cap identity, the replacement Caps--that had been touched upon during the Stan Lee-scripted Silver Age era. Any chance you'll go back earlier in Cap's series? I would love to hear your take on (for example) #122, which contains the famous opening sequence by Gene Colan with Cap questioning the idea of patriotism.
A random note about that powerful opening splash of #184 by Sal. It's not readily apparent if you're reading the b&w Essentials, but in color it's like Sal was evoking his brother's justly-famous Avengers #56 cover--a nice touch.
Post by Paste Pot Paul on Jun 13, 2017 19:38:56 GMT -5
Was happy to grab this the other day and listen to and from work. Im the first to admit to the limitations of the title, even the good runs are interspersed with very average fare. However the 3 big stories by Englehart (50s Cap. Secret Empire, and Nomad) all make this run worthwhile. Ive mentioned before that Sal Buscema drew the 70s for me, being virtually MY artist for Cap, Hulk, and Spider-Man, not to mention 2-In-1, Defenders, and way too many more. Have enjoyed hearing another perspective on a run that is certainly seen through "rose tinted glasses" in this house. Robbins sure is an acquired taste, one I never had in the 70s, but as I matured and rediscovered great artists I came to appreciate his unique style, as I did with Colan, Kirby, Ditko, and Tuska among others.
It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.