Kate (and Dan) read CAPTAIN AMERICA 110

Kate: I like that funny old guy that shows up in all the MARVEL movies. You got any books by him we could review this week?

Dan: ::looks aghast:: That “nice old guy” is Stan “The Man” Lee! The genius responsible for the creation of some of the most recognizable super-heroes in comics! Spider-Man, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men… all came from his incredible brain. His… incredible… braaaiiin

You want a Stan Lee book? I’ll take that challenge, and do you one better. Step into my Wayback Machine, Sherman. We’re going back to get the good stuff. Let’s read Captain America #110 by The Man and Jim Steranko.

K: Oh! I’ve heard about this “Steranko” guy. He was kind of a big deal is the 60’s, right?

D: The one and only. Now start reading!

K: This Captain America has pretty hair. He kinda looks like a Ken doll. Also, he smokes a pipe.

D: It was the 60’s.

K: Sure, but I like my Cap more Chris Evans-like. ‘60’s Cap looks so Scandinavian that he’s almost Minnesotan.

D: Really? That’s your take-away?

K: That and the fact that sidekicks ain’t nothin’ but trouble. That Rick Jones is pretty brazen.

::in whiney voice:: “I’m the only one that can control The Hulk”!

And then The Hulk punches him.

::same whiney voice:: “I’m going to rifle through Captain America’s closet and put on his old side kick’s clothes.” I mean, who does that?! You’ve got to have a pretty big set of…

D: Watch it! This is a family show!

K: … shields. A big set of shields.

Oh yeah. Anyway, you have to think pretty highly of your self to think you can get away with putting on another man’s side-kick’s costume. And while we’re on that subject: WHO KEEPS THEIR DEAD SIDE-KICK’S COSTUME HANGING IN THE CLOSET?!?

D: Never really thought about that part. It is a bit like Psycho, isn’t it? “Norman! Bring me my dead sidekick’s clothes, NORMAN!”

D: Ok, so we’ve established Rick Jones is kind of a punk. But how about the magic that is Captain America #110? In today’s comics, writers specialize in “decompressed storytelling.” The master of this form is Brian Michael Bendis. That allows a more modern approach to storytelling, showing more emotion and realistic motivation. It also allows for today’s stories to be collected into graphic novel form to be sold again in more outlets besides comic shops.

K: Preach on, Brotha! Comic book men gotsta get PAID!

D: OK…But old-school Cap here? We start out with a knockdown drag out fight with The Hulk, for god’s sake. Drama, emotion, action? That would be 6 issues today; 8 panels in this issue. Then we roll into Rick becoming the new sidekick “Bucky.” That would be a YEARS worth of issues now. And then Cap and Bucky battle the forces of HYDRA to protect the city’s water supply! That would probably be a 2-year arc of stories today.

Point is, all of these plot points are in one regular sized comic. Stan Lee is masterful in his storytelling skills.

And the art…

K: STERANKO! His artwork just enhances Lee’s writing, even if Cap looks like a Ken doll. The action in the panels keeps the dialogue moving. It has a Jack Kirby-like feel with all of the activity, but it feels more controlled.

D: Very insightful. You HAVE been paying attention to the books we’ve been reading! The action scenes in this book are a virtual cornucopia of mayhem and violence.

K: Yeah, but the opening scenes with the Hulk? When Cap’s walking out of the shadows while smoking his pipe? Very subtle. Very moody. Very…

K (and D): STERANKO