04 July 2012

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Since it's the Fourth of July, I thought I'd run through my top 10 favorite Captain America covers.

1. The Avengers #16 (1963) - Jack Kirby
I don't know why, but even though this issue of The Avengers was over a decade old when I saw its cover for the first time, I was instantly drawn to it. Part of the reason may be all the other characters displayed on the wall behind Cap, but I think the whole image is just fantastic. The fact that Captain America assembled a new team of Avengers from former villains – Hawkeye, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch – made this one of my favorite issues of the series, too.

2. Marvel Double Feature #16 (1976) - Larry Lieber
This is a reprint of Tales of Suspense #92, and while I like Jack Kirby's original cover, too, I find this version superior. Many of Marvel's reprint books from the '70s featured new or slightly different covers, and some of the covers – including some that Kirby re-drew himself – are hidden gems.

3. Captain America and The Falcon #210 (1977) - Jack Kirby
I have a thing for floating head covers and thanks to that ghastly visage of The Red Skull, this is one of my favorites.

4. Captain America #248 (1980) - John Byrne
Dragon Man was a villain I always wanted to like, but generally speaking, the stories he was in, either in Fantastic Four or The Avengers, never did much for me. He looked cool, though, and in my opinion, never cooler than on the cover of this issue from John Bryne's all-too brief run on Captain America.

5. Captain America #113 (1969) - Jim Steranko
Virtually all of Steranko's Captain America covers are classics, but this is the best in my opinion. A lot of that has to do with the coloring – I think the dark tones capture the mood quite well here – and the image of Rick Jones (dressed as Bucky) broken down and crying is really powerful.

6. Captain America #286 (1983) - Mike Zeck
I honestly don't remember a thing about this issue, but the cover has stuck with me since I first saw it. Absolutely incredible image by Mike Zeck, and one of a number of great covers he did during his run. Deathlok never better.

7. The Avengers #151 (1976) - Jack Kirby
This is right around where I first started buying The Avengers, way back in the '70s, and like #16, this issue signaled a change in the team's line-up. The cover has very little to do with the story inside, but it's still a great image.

8. Tales of Suspense #94 (1967) - Jack Kirby
Cap vs. Modok and A.I.M. – 'nuff said!

9. Captain America #101 (1968) - Jack Kirby
I like this one primarily because the awakening Sleeper looks so sinister. Earlier Sleepers were not nearly as cool as this version, and the way it's emerging from that stone casing, with The Red Skull gloating over his presumed triumph in the foreground really sells this image for me.

10. The Uncanny X-Men #268 (1990) - Jim Lee
The cover of an X-Men comic was just about the last place you'd expect to see Captain America back then, but this image is one of the most enduring from Jim Lee's run on The Uncanny X-Men in the early '90s. I'd long given up on Marvel's mutants when this issue first came out, but that cover pulled me back in, even if there is no scene even remotely like that in the entire issue.