I personally enjoy looking at these panels enlarged and at high resolution so I figured I’d share scans from another Kirby page I used to own. I really feel like you could enlarge any of these images, put them in a big frame and hang them in a gallery. They’re wonderful little pieces of 20th Century pop art. This whole page is nothing but action. Every panel is dynamic. It was a real honor to own this page for several years and examine it closely. Royer’s inking is flawless. Notice no white-out anywhere. The india ink in a piece of original artwork really pops off the page. These panels are crafted to perfection.
This is it. The end of a remarkable run that started in the 1940s. And I dare anyone to argue against the contention that Jack was still at the peak of his powers. This book was awesome to me as a 12-year-old. Fantastic page 2 – 3 spread. Like opening a bomb. I almost bought the original art for that final page, but I found it a little sad. Jack still knows how to end things on a positive note: “A new Direction.” Thus endeth the 40 year Kirby Captain America epic.
The only thing worth mentioning is that X-Men ad. That really marks the beginning of the new “Marvel era” that took place in the late 70s and early 80s. Interesting to see that in one of Jack’s last books. The tide was turning. Other new, younger writers and artists would reboot concepts like the Kirby/Lee X-Men and go onto make millions of dollars. X-Men today is worth more than billions, it’s probably virtually priceless.
Never saw this book as a kid. I guess I should be playing the Doors “This is the End.” This is pretty much it for Jack at Marvel. After he created the character in the 40s with Joe Simon, and after reintroducing the character in the 60s to help build the Marvel company with his creations, here are his last few Captain America stories. If you were holding this comic book in your hands in the 1970s, talk about witnessing the end of an era and the transition into a new one. And I don’t mean just in comics, this period marks the real beginning of the great corporate rip-off that’s going to eventually send the global economy down the tubes. Jack didn’t just reflect the 20th century, this part of his life symbolizes the mentality that your workers are just employees to be cast aside like garbage when the powers that be decide to start paying themselves bigger bonuses.
You literally have a new inker working over Jack’s pencils for the first time and he seems tentative, almost like D. Bruce Berry. It looks as if Dan Green hasn’t really mastered the craft of inking yet and certainly he’s hesitant on Kirby. I recall Green being a pretty good inker, and the work here is okay, but it’s symbolic of the new generation of cartoonists taking over the medium after Jack’s departure. Because I don’t think Green is spectacular on this book, it’s kind of anti-climactic comparing it to the last book which I would argue was a classic of comics art, especially if you consider the scope of Kirby’d entire career culminating at this point. Here’s some pages:
I’m done commenting on the letters columns. Feel free to read what the staffers and a few fans are saying about as the staffer calls him, (quote) poor ol’ Jolly Jack (unquote) if you wish. It’s kind of like after you get a guy fired and he’s packing up his things, then you say a few nice things about him as he’s headed out the door. Luckily for Jack his stay at Marvel was almost over…
Until then, as this staffer writes in psuedo-Stan Lee speak: “Face front and think Foom!” whatever the f@#$ that means. I wonder did little kids actually walk around speaking that mumbo jumbo? I still encounter “Marvelites” who say “nuff said” after yelling at me for criticizin’ their “Leader.”
Oh well, at the very least I hope we educated Scott Edelman that the smear campaign in the Cap letters column wasn’t a fantasy based on a “conspiracy theory.” Now that I supplied the information Scott was looking for I’m looking forward to hearing back from him. But this is what I suspect we’ll hear…