Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captain America post intro - finale

Sorry that I´m a bit late Today but sometimes I´m my own worst enemy. You would think after the third or fourth time I would finally learn not to eat after midnight. But it seems my resolve only lasts a few weeks and then I´m back to my old tricks.

The downside is I couldn´t sleep very good, I was up again just a few hours after going to bed and when I finally managed to sleep I slept through most of the day. The upside is that I managed to be awake when my order from amazon arrived and could receive it personally - for a change.

As mentioned on this very blog I ordered the DARK AVENGERS hardcover since it´s now available at half price from amazon.de ( with only 1.50 EURO additional costs for handling ) and it´s really a thick comic. It´s 400 pages and it doesn´t include issues 7 and 8 due to the fact that it´s part of a crossover. What it does include and what I totally forgot is the annual by Chris Bachalo. He used to be one of my favorite artists back around the time of Sandman´s THE CHILDRENS CRUSADE and he was on my " to watch out for " list together with Mark Buckingham. Then he went on a kind of cartoony tangent with his style and when he did STEAMPUNK it had evolved so far from such brilliant work like on GENERATION X that it was almost impossible to find out what was happening on the page.

Not only because the page layout resembled a cryptogramm but also because you couldn´t differentiate between people in the foreground, people in the background, different people standing next to each other and also between people and inanimate objects. As somebody who has dabbled ( a bit ) in the world of inking I had always had the philosophy that every inker worth his salt should only call his work on a page finished when it´s obvious where everything is and where one object ends and where another one begins.

The role of the comic artists is it to take the reader by the hand and lead him through the story. You use different lines for different things, heavier lines for the outlines than for the inside etc. that kind of things. I hate to say it but in the case of Chris Bachalo on most cases my eye totally looses all points of reference and zig zags through the page without collecting any kind of useful information. My brain just shuts down.

Well, it´s only one issue in the book and the rest is full of Mike Deodato goodness.

I haven´t re - read it yet but I think you can read it pretty good even if the X - Men crossover and most of THE SIEGE ( that ties in with the last issues ) are only mentioned on one short page between pages. The book also includes a sketchbook section and all variant covers.

And with that we finally come to the last part of the intro ( part 1 / part 2 ) for the big Captain America post ( german version ) in which we cover the period from the return of Mark Waid till the beginning of Ed Brubaker on the book. See, you can read my prediction for the Ed Brubaker run right there. And this was back in 2007.

Originally written on Wednesday, May the 16th, 2007

Mark Waid and Ron Garney returned to Captain America and the book regained it´s position at the sales charts. From all the relaunched books this was the only one who really didn´t need it. All Marvel achieved in the end was to piss off fans because they cancelled their book and replaced it with one that was basically ....crap. For a whole year they had to suffer but in the end Steve Rogers returned.

In the story Mark Waid again examined the character of Steve Rogers. A whole year had passed since the events of ONSLAUGHT in the Marvel universe and the heroes who vanished while defending earth were believed to have died. So when Cap returns he surpasses his status as living legend and moves closer to the second coming of Christ or if people found out Elvis was still alive. He has to deal with his new superstar role, something Hawkeye finds amusing to no end.

Issue 2 is one of the best issues of the whole run because something happens that sets in motion a whole storyline : Cap loses his shield.

Now it´s almost impossible to picture Cap without his shield. It´s like Batman and Robin, Stan and Ollie or Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. And what´s even worse is that in the issue Mark Waid spotlights the shield throughout the entire issue till it becomes as important as Tonto to the Lone Ranger. He shows the reader how magnificient it is as a weapon, a shield or as a distraction. On the final pages Cap looks naked without it.

So he had to get a replacement.

For the next few issues Cap used his old shield which was not as resilient as his old shield. I think they made a new version of it which he then used. Sadly Ron Garney left the book very quick but after a few issues Andy Kubert took over the art chores. And he provided fantastic artwork for the run.

Now all the while his old pals Namor and Iron Man were trying to find the shield at the bottom of the sea. But when they finally retrieved it the remnants crumbled between their fingers. Tony Stark felt so bad about the whole mess that he gave Cap a spiffy new toy.

The new shield was activated through a powerglove and could morph into different shapes and weapons. Like the scarf in iMAGE´s STRIKEBACK.

In the story Cap went up against Nightmare ( who´s theme are dreams and which dream could be greater than the american dream ? )

the Red Skull ( which should be obligatory for every run complete with cosmic cube and all )

and even Korvak who had to be introduced especially to the german readers when the story was published here since the Avengers storyline THE KORVAC SAGA never was released in Germany.

The whole story culminated in a battle of an totally out numbered Cap taking on an almost allpowerful Claw with nothing more than the battered and bruised remains of his old shield that are only held together by duct tape.

In a last attempt to stop him Cap´s shield takes the full brunt of Claw´s sonic shockwaves which together with the vibranium of Wakanda ( where the final showdown takes place ) leads to an unexpected result - restoring Cap´s shield.


Now this is what I call writing. I want to mention that because the next thing on the book was Dan Jurgens and a thing I like to call " Superman with a shield ". Now I´m a big fan of Dan Jurgens who in my opinion has written some of the best Superman stories like THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN. The problem was that when he left Superman his heart stayed on the book. Which means that while he may be writing other books in his mind he is still trying to write Superman. Now that was not as obvious on other titles like THOR were he was writing Superman with a hammer. But in Captain America the difference was so big that even WIZARD caught up to it and speculated that he was rewriting unused Superman scripts. Cap behaved reckless, endangered civilians and even stopped a missile.

The whole thing ended in a ridiculous story in the Savage Land with Ka - Zar, Zabu and some weird shit with mutated dinosaurs. Which would have been a good idea for someone like Grant Morrison. Anyway, Dan Jurgens also took over the art and I left the title.

Till September 11th. That´s when the most controversial run on the title started and which led me to write the text that would later become MY BIG CAPTAIN AMERICA POST .

Under the Marvel Knights banner John Ney Rieber and John Cassaday relaunched the book with a big emphasis on the political and ideological aspects of Captain America. The first storyline that dealt with terrorism caused quite a ruckus.

The second one called THE EXTREMISTS was more interesting because it was Trevor Hairsine´s debut in the big comics. After doing the art for the first issues of CROSSWAR that became an overnight success this was his first work for a bigger comic publisher.

ICE was the name of the next story. With Jae Lee on art it posed the question if the United States knew that Steve Rogers was captured in a block of ice during the end of the second world war. What´s more, did they deliberately leave him in the ice to prevent him from stopping them when they nuked Japan ?

CAP LIVES ! was a neat story that started as a " what if " - story and than became a possible prologue to Cap´s liberation from the ice by the Avengers. In the story Cap is freed from the ice by Nazis who have won the war. Of course Cap quickly becomes the new leader of the resistance in a world without superheroes. All the Marvel characters appear in the story but without their superpowers. Beautiful rendered by the much underrated Lee Weeks ( have you noticed how many comic pros have the name Lee ? Maybe I should change my name to LEEZERO ) I really enjoyed this story.

Which was one reason why I jumped ship again for the Chris Bachalo story. I already described my problems with his art at the beginning of this post so I won´t go into detail here. Let´s leave it at that in most cases I try to avoid books with him as the artist.

The last effort on this incarnation of the title was the story by Kirkman the genius behind INVINCIBLE, one of the best superhero books noone is reading ( the other being SAVAGE DRAGON ).

Now this proved that even a genius can have an off day since it was a really bad story. Scott Eaton does his best on the artfront to make it worthwhile for the readers but the story is just kind of blah. Even an appearance by BATROC THE LEAPER didn´t save the story.

Now it´s funny how popular Batroc the leaper is with the writers of Captain America. John Byrne used him, Mark Waid used him and even Dan Slott included him in GREAT LAKE AVENGERS. He is like DIABLO over in Fantastic Four who seems to be obligatory when a new writer or artist comes to the title. He was in the first issue of John Byrne´s Fantastic Four, he was in the first issues of the much underrated run by Carlos Pacheco and even in the two issues Tom Grummet did. And wasn´t he somewhere in the JMS run ?

Now while in the beginning Batroc was a dangerous foe with his wild savate fighting style he quickly evolved into more of an inside joke. Maybe he gets a little more respect the next time around.

So I left again and eventually the title was relaunched ( yet again ) to what future generations will refer to as one of the definite runs on Captain America by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.

Speaking about Steve Epting : before working on Cap Steve was over at CROSSGEN on such fantastic titles as CRUX and EL CAZADOR. In many discussions about the reasons for CrossGen´s bancrupcy I have heard that they had bad art. Well, the strange thing is that Marvel was very quick to grab all of their artist and set them on their best books. Steve Epting on Captain America, Jim Cheung on Young Avengers, Greg Land on Ultimate Fantastic Four, Paul Pelletier on Exiles ( and now on Fantastic Four ) and Steve McNiven on Ultimate Galactus and just recently on CIVIL WAR. Yep. Makes total sense. The artists were so bad they had to give them Marvel´s best books.

And with that we have reached the end of my recopilation of my reading history of Captain America and in our next installment of CAPTAIN AMERICA we get to the american version of MY BIG CAPTAIN AMERICA POST. Yay !

After Yesterdaýs Neil Gaiman related video here´s the repost of a fanmade Captain America movie trailer that´s probably not as good as the new movie. But it still looks cool and really captures the essence of Captain America. Judging by the " Capitan America " logo I´d say the guy who made this probably comes from Latin America or some other spanish speaking country.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that's what you call a big fan. You have more than 3 cover posted and most of that you where pretty excited that you couldn't sleep.