Happy Fourth of July from Longbox Graveyard (and Jack Kirby!).
(Just mentally correct that “200th Birthday” bit to “242nd,” ok?)
Captain America Annual #4
Marvel threw the keys for Captain America to Jack Kirby in 1977 and one of the things they got out of the deal was this odd and delightful annual. Like all of Kirby’s late offerings for Marvel, this book seemed to occur in its own reality — a Kirby-Verse, if you will. I mean, it has Captain America and Magneto in it, and you will recognize them from other books, but they are singular characters here, divorced from the way they appear in the rest of Marvel’s offerings, and even a bit different than I remember them under Jack’s hand when they originally appeared. Is this dissonance due to co-creator Stan Lee’s absence? Or maybe Jack just … changed a bit as a creator in the decades he was in the business? Both seem reasonable to me.
For the record, I dig Kirby-Verse Marvel, and this Annual has long held a place in my heart. It’s bizarre. Magneto draws unwanted attention from Captain America when he places a “Mutant Seeking Mutant” personal ad in the newspaper. (No, really!). Magneto is aided and abetted by yet another incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and it really seems like he’s hit the bottom of the barrel with this crew. Everyone ends up fighting over a mutant so tiny that he can fit in a ring on your finger — Magneto wants him so he can explore the inside of a little spaceship he found somewhere. You can’t make this stuff up … but Jack Kirby could! Man, could he ever!
- Script & Art: Jack Kirby
- Inks: John Verpoorten & John Tartaglione
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Thought I’d start the New Year off by looking backwards at the best performing Longbox Graveyard posts of 2016. Most are legacy posts from the early days of this site, with a new article elbowing in at the top of the list.
Drumroll please …
A testament to loading your blog title with powerful keywords, this post is four years old, but still pulling respectable search engine traffic. Mostly it is an ode to why I can only seem to buy high and sell low on eBay, which means I’m no roadmap for that place …
“Top Tens” and “Spider-Man” are among the most most attractive content on this site, so it is no surprise that a post containing both of those things ranks so highly. It is a formula that will appear several times in this list. Guest author Mark Ginocchio of Chasing Amazing hit it out of the park with this 2013 article, calling out Spidey’s fights with Hobgoblin, Green Goblin, Venom, Morlun, and … (click to find out!) as the top web-head battles of all time.
I remain an enthusiastic subscriber of Marvel’s Unlimited digital subscription service. I first reviewed the service in 2012 — this updated review looked at the service after it evolved into an iPad-native format. If I was really chasing clicks, this would be one of the articles I’d gin up with keywords and new information, as there seems to be a hunger out there for information about Marvel’s service.
Remember how I said that Spider-Man Top Tens drew my best traffic? Well, here you go. Mark mentioned that he’s working on a Spider-Man book — hopefully he will raid the fine work he’s done for Longbox Graveyard for print.
And the Spider-Man trend continues! Spidey isn’t my specialty, and I’d really be lost without generous guest-bloggers to cover Marvel’s top hero. In this case, it was was Dan Gvozden of Superior Spider-Talk who rode to the rescue. And, yes, Dan does tackle MJ vs. Gwen, but not in this post … you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find that one.
Everybody loves a good secret base. Did I really rank the Pet Avengers Mansion above the Bat Cave? Yes I did. (Sort of). Nice to see this post is still drawing comment three years after publication — I suppose I deserve my comment section censure for omitting the Legion of Superheroes cool rocket ship clubhouse from my list.
The sole new article from 2016 was this article from last January about the popular Match-3 Marvel puzzler. Quite a few addicted players of this one out there (and I remain among them, despite the take-this-game-and-shove-it conclusion to the post). Maybe 2017 is the year I quit this game. Maybe.
Here’s where you’ll find Dan’s MJ vs. Gwen opinion. (I would have wimped out and picked Aunt May).
Gaming content has generally fared pretty well here at Longbox Graveyard. My post on Capes & Cowls was a good performer for many months, and this comparative review of two comic book deck-builders keeps getting views (and is due for an update, as both games have evolved quite a bit since my review). I’m not playing either game right now for lack of opponents, but Legendary is supposedly coming to iOS in 2017, and that might reignite my interest.
And finally, the #1 Longbox Graveyard Post of 2016 was …
This has been my top post since it was first published — it caught a Google search wave on the run-up to release of the second Captain America movie, and it’s been chugging along ever since. It’s another post long overdue for an update, especially in view of Baron Zemo’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. But I’m not changing the bad guy at the top of the list … and no, it’s NOT the Red Skull! Want to know who ranks as the baddest Cap villain of all time? Add a click to my pile, I’m not proud!
And with the old year taken care of, I wish all Longbox Graveyard readers a Happy 2017. See you back here every month or so for more nostalgic comics goodness!
You may have heard that there is a new Marvel movie in theaters … Captain America Civil War!
Captain America is my favorite superhero, and I’ve covered him a lot here at Longbox Graveyard. Get on board with Team Cap and prepare for the movie by reviewing these blasts from Longboxes past!
To help fill in your Captain America knowledge, I recommended these five graphic novel collections, including the iconic Captain America #1.
And since Captain America is an identity as much as he is a hero, I dedicated a whole column to the time Steve Rogers gave up being Captain America!
My heart belongs to the Bronze Age, but my favorite Captain America run is of considerably more recent vintage. Here’s my appreciation of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America!
My list of the Top Ten Captain America Villains is the most popular thing I’ve ever published at Longbox Graveyard, and it prominently features the main bad guy of this new move — Zemo!
You can get a load of Jack “King” Kirby in my Captain America Covers Gallery and my Captain America By Kirby Gallery!
And don’t miss my Captain America by Steranko Gallery, either!
Enjoy the movie … and go Team Cap!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #1
Wings-and-a-shield is … not a great look. But this book as a whole looks just great. Artist Daniel Acuña strikes a middle ground between comic book and cartoonist style, resulting in serviceable action and superior facial expressions for a score of characters who are all unique and full of personality. The colors — which I assume Acuña did himself — are also light, nuanced, and inviting. Writer Nick Spencer gives us a Sam Wilson who adheres to his social worker roots by sticking up for the little guy, adeptly pitting him against the racist Sons of the Serpent, who are here mobilized as a vigilante patrol on America’s southern border. This new Cap isn’t nearly so well-connected as the old — in this issue alone he gets thrown off the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and has to fly commercial … in the middle seat no less! Loved seeing Misty Knight as part of Sam’s supporting cast, and any book that gets Breitbart.com into a lather can’t be all bad!
Approachability For New Readers
Not so great. There’s a little text slug on the first page telling us that Sam Wilson has become the new Captain America, but there’s quite a bit of unexamined continuity leading into this tale.
Read more about Captain America at Longbox Graveyard
- Captain America by Steranko Gallery
- Captain America Covers Gallery
- The Coming Of … The Falcon!
- Captain America By Kirby Gallery
- Top Ten Captain America Villains
- American Dream
- The Day They Walked Away: Captain America
- Top 5 Captain America Graphic Novels
Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.