Monday, May 26, 2008

Jack Kirby in the 1970's - Part 4 - A Return to Marvel

So how do you follow up a run on Captain America that featured President Nixon committing suicide in the Oval Office after his corruption was discovered? Well...

How about an evil roller-derby?

Fan reaction to Kirby's return to his creation was particularly interesting. It started with what were mainly strong compliments on the artistic side while glossing over Kirby's poor writing but it didn't take long for the writing to pull down the book. And there were a few people unhappy with Kirby's minimalist style as well. The following are letter columns written in reaction to Kirby's run. Rather than excerpt single letters I thought it would be better to include all of the context, positive and negative. I have made a point of selecting the columns where most of the feedback is on Jack Kirby himself. You can click on these images for a readable version of the page.

It started with near unanimous praise...

Captain America #196

...with only an occasional sour note...
Captain America #202

...but then the dam breaks...

Captain America #206

...and it descends into a letter column war. (Remember those? That's what comic book nerds used to have before the Internet.)

Captain America #210

Jack Kirby's final run on Captain America ended at #214 less than two years after his return.

As for myself I found Kirby's return to Captain America to be particularly weak. He was no longer interested in doing the kind of stories that Captain America demanded (especially in an immediately post-Watergate, post-Viet Nam America). He did more interesting things with his other titles that he worked on at Marvel in the late 1970's and that's where I'll pick things up next for the conclusion of Jack Kirby in the 1970's.