Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Interregnum (Captain America 256-260)

After the short lived Stern-Byrne run, Captain America returned to rushed fill-in stories, all by differing creative teams. The next five issues were written by Bill Mantlo, Mike Barr, Chris Claremont and David Michelinie, Jim Shooter and Michelinie, and finally Al Milgrom. Most memorable was issue #257 guest-starring the Hulk, which was as bad an issue of the comic as was ever published. These are the kinds of comics that kept me from regularly buying the series despite liking the character.

But there were hints of better days ahead. Issues 258 and 259 were drawn by Mike Zeck, who would soon be teaming with writer J. M. DeMatteis to get the series back on track.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Stern/Byrne Era (Captain America 247-245)

Not much to say about Captain America 247-255, the brief but fondly remembered run by writer Roger Stern and co-plotter/artist John Byrne in 1980. Certainly it was probably the strongest writer/artist team on the book since Stan Lee left nine years earlier. (Steve Englehart did some good writing in the early 70s, though Sal Buscema's artwork couldn't match Byrne's.)

One of the things that's most memorable about this run to me is the manner in which they swept away the background on Steve Rogers that Steve Gerber had provided. It's explained as false memories, planted to confuse the Germans during World War II.

Oddly enough, they never seemed to plant any false memories about the important stuff, like how Steve gained his powers. I guess they figured the Germans already knew that. But they managed to cover up the fact that Steve Rogers was an orphan from Manhattan, because God knows what the Germans could have done with that information!