The Little Book Of Captain America (book review).

December 3, 2017 | By | Reply More

With the success of the ‘Captain America’ films, it makes sense that there would be a ‘Little Book’ devoted to him. It also helps that Roy Thomas is an expert on the Golden Age that spawned him and we see samples of Cap’s life around the start of World War Two as Steve Rogers is given his super-soldier serum and vita-rays to take on the Nazi menace a while before the USA got involved. Symbolism and patronism rules and all from the prolific team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. In many respects, Cap really was made from original whole cloth as National Periodicals/DC Comics had no one like him. Mind you, that didn’t stop him picking up side-kick Bucky Barnes or, as I was reminded further into the book, Betty Ross as Golden Girl for a while when Bucky was shot and injured. What I was surprised to see was samples of early Gene Colan and John Romita doing art on the comic shortly after the War. Even earlier was seeing Syd Shores, whom I know more as an inker in later life, also doing pencils. A general observation was how long Cap and Bucky’s legs were, almost to the point of fashion-model stature.

Of course, after WW2, Cap’s sales, like many super-heroes, slowly crashed as American kids found new interests and the rise of popularity of television programmes but it didn’t stop Stan Lee resurrecting him to join the Avengers and then to have his own series in ‘Tales Of Suspense’. I’m glad a page of Cap versus Batroc by Kirby was included although a little disappointed that the cover or splash page from Captain America # 124 wasn’t included as it was the first thing I saw of Gene Colan’s tenure on the title. I was also surprised just how long Jim Steranko was on the title.

There is a mention of ‘Not Brand Ecch!’ but it’s a shame we don’t get a picture of Charlie America. What is interesting is having pointed out in the novel ‘Captain America: The Great Gold Steal’ by Ted White that the reason Cap’s shield looks like a target compels assailants to shoot at that than his body. Oddly, no comment is made on Cap carrying a machine-pistol, something that also happened to his ‘Captain Action’ costume and advert which harkens back to the 1950s film serial.

Cap’s team-up with the Falcon is covered but I wish some explanation was given for the latter’s costume change from mostly green to red and white which surely must have made him a bigger target.

I do think the caption was wrong stating that Cap’s shield was made of steel-vibranium as it’s supposed to be adamantium-vibranium. That kind of information tends to get ingrained in a fan’s head.

The final part of the book explores the various changes and resignations Cap has been through but the focus has always been on Steve Rogers than anyone else who has used his uniform and shield.

Although I’ve been a little critical of the size of these books, they are small enough to carry in your pocket and for a read on trips as well as a quick reference and at a price that’s easy to afford and hope Taschen explores more of our medium in them.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(pub: Taschen. 190 page A5 softcover. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-3-8365-6783-1)

check out website: www.taschen.com

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Category: Books, Comics, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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