Captain America #112 (1969)

There’s a legend about this issue. As the story goes, the legendary Jim Steranko drew Cap #110 and #111. Steranko was a brilliant cartoonist, and his work hit the comics world like a lghtning bolt. Steranko’s comics were psychedelic, brilliantly designed, and kinetic in their own stylized way. He also had an unprecedented amount of freedom. In issue #111 he seemingly killed Captain America. Cap got better, but few at Marvel doubted that he had the cojones to actualy kill a living legend.

As the story goes, Stan Lee got nervous that Steranko wouldn’t produce the following issue on time. Steranko denies the issue was running late, but Stan made the decision to slot in a fill-in story anyway. The only problems were that the story needed to be delivered at the end of a weekend, and that Captain America had to stay dead for Steranko’s next issue.

Enter the great Jack Kirby. Steranko might be a legendary figure in comics, but Kirby was the King, unquestionably the most influential comics artist of his time. He was also unbelievably fast, drawing four 20-page comics per month – an astonishing four pages a day. So if there was a man who could draw a 20-page story over a weekend, Jack was the man.

Hence we get Captain America #112, the album issue. In it, we get a recap of Cap’s career highlights up to that time. Amazingly, Kirby’s art looks as dynamic and wonderful as ever; the man was such a pro that even rushed pages look wonderful. Either old pro George Tuska smoothed out the rough spots or Kirby did an impeccable job because the comic is wonderfully drawn.

The epilogue of the story, however, isn’t quite as nice. Steranko came back to illustrate #113, another classic issue, and then left Cap forever over a dispute about this album issue. Apparently Steranko had many future issues planned, issues we will never see.

Still, Gene Colan soon started drawing the comic, illustrating a tremendous sequence that introduced Cap’s longtime partner the Falcon. Time marches on.

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