With Further Ado #238: Red, White, and Nostalgic

When Jack Kirby returned to Marvel Comics in the mid-70s, it was a big deal. Marvel Comics told me, and my friends, it was a big deal, and our local comic shop owner, Kim Draheim, told us too.

And it’s almost pop-culture heresy to write this, but at that time – we just didn’t get Kirby.

Black Panther, with the Golden Frog and all that, was a nutty book and nothing like the Don McGregor Panther series we had so thoroughly enjoyed.

The Eternals was kind of fun, but it seemed so set apart from the rest of the Marvel Universe. And when one hero finally showed up, the Hulk, it was a just robot. What a rip-off!

Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy kind of turned into a punchline in our comic shop too.

• Most disappointing was Captain America. For years were riding along with Steve Englehart, exploring big ideas about patriotism and forgotten corners of the Marvel Universe. Sal Buscema’s Sharon Carter was the very best super-hero girlfriend at that time, and we grew to love her too. And the Nomad saga, despite swapping artists at the end, was the first (and still the best) of many super-hero identity fake outs.

At first, when Kirby burst back onto the Marvel scene, especially with the Madbomb issues in Captain America, we were intrigued. It made sense that Jack Kirby should get another crack at the character he co-created (with Joe Simon) all those years ago.

But oh, so quickly, we lost interest. Why did Cap all of a sudden talk like my grandfather? Who was this new female lead, revolutionary Donna Maria Puentes, anyway? Where was Sharon? And although I’ve come to really enjoy it, Kirby’s bombastic art – at that time – just wasn’t doing it for me. My friends and I weren’t mature enough to get it. “Why couldn’t he draw more like Neal Adams?”, we wondered.

So – with all that baggage, it’s surprising that one of the coolest gifts I received during the Yuletide season was the Captain America Deluxe Notecard Set. It’s from Insight Editions. As a side note, I’m always impressed with their product offerings and boothmanship at San Diego Comic-Con.

And the main image, the cover of this set boldly showcases the initial image of Kirby’s return to the Captain America series in 1970s – issue #193.

By the way, I always liked the John Romita inks over the Kirby pencils on this one. The Gaspar Saladino lettering is impactful too,

This set includes:

• 20 blank note cards (with envelopes)- These note cards feature two covers and two Kirby panels. I wonder how they picked these particular images. That would’ve been a fun task!

• 20 stickers of Cap’s Shield

• A pocket journal

• And, the best part, a cool “keepsake box”. This looks like a book and I plan to put some secret treasures in it and hide them – in plain sight – on a bookshelf. Just like they do in all those old movies! Ooops- did I give it away?

On the other hand, can I plug TwoMorrows Publishing’s excellent publication, The Jack Kirby Collector. Every issue is better than the last and I find it’s a wonderful way to celebrate, and learn more about, this wonderfully gifted creator to whom the industry owes so much.