Captain America #193

Captain America #193, January 1976

After a number of years in the relative wilderness of DC comics, Jack Kirby came back to Marvel in late-1975. It wasn’t exactly a triumphant return, but he produced some great comics in his time there. One of the things that enticed him back was the chance to write and draw his signature creation, Captain America, comics’ premier symbol of US patriotism, during the year of the American Bi-Centennial. In one of the most amazing coincidences in comics history, Captain America #200 was on the stands during the crucial month of July 1976. How they did it, I dunno — it’s almost like it was planned all along!

Anyway, this cover was the first of Jack’s return to the character and is one of his best. It’s a fabulous image of Cap, and showcases Kirby’s dynamism and exaggeration to its very best effect. Kirby didn’t actually have a clue how the human body is really put together, but he knew how to make it look good — and, in comics, that’s more important.

One interesting factoid: the Cap figure was originally drawn as a 3-D experiment. John Romita inked it on several pieces of acetate, one for each “level” of the 3-D image. So, the fist, say, was inked on one sheet, the forearm on a second, the bicep on a third, etc. These would then have had a range of red/blue separations to create the illusion of depth when viewed through special eye-wear. Ultimately the experiment came to nought and the image was used as a cover instead.

Art by Kirby and Romita

©2008 Marvel Characters, Inc