Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Guest Writer - If I Had a Buck... Oh Captain, My Captain

Doug: Martinex1 is in the driver's seat today, friends. He has another fun one in store for our discussion purposes, so do him right! And pssst... this is the last "guest post" we have in the queue, just so all you Junior Chipmunk bloggers know.

Mike S.:This round of “If I Had A Buck” has only a very tenuous linking thread and concept… the heroes have monikers with the rank of “Captain”. 

Beyond that there is not that much to connect this crew. We have spacefaring captains, and we have captains with specific nationalities; we have WWII captains, and we have humorous hungry captains. We have hard punching captains, and we have captains with cosmic powers; we have Canadian captains, and we have carrot chomping captains. Sorry, we are sold out of Cap’n Crunch!

So choose your preference, spend your dollar, and share your thoughts. For the purpose of having all dollars make sense (get it?), the Captain Britain comic will sell for 30 cents.

Until Major Victory, Major Force, and Colonel Sanders have comics, make mine the Bronze Age!

Here is an outline of the comics on sale:

Captain America (Marvel) No. 262;  50 cents.  1981. Cover by Mike Zeck and John Beatty.   “Death Of A Legend” by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck.   2nd of a 3 part story involving Nomad, the Ameridroid, and the Red Skull.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew (DC) No. 1; 60 cents.  1982.  Cover by Scott Shaw, Ross Andru, and Robert Smith.  “The Pluto Syndrome” by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw.  Featuring Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, Alley Kat Abra, and Superman!

Captain Atom (DC) No. 4;   75 cents. 1987.  Cover by Pat Broderick. “Father’s Day” by Cary Bates and Pat Broderick.   Includes an appearance of General Eiling (a prominent character in the Flash TV series).

Captain Marvel (Marvel) No 43;  25 cents.  1976.  Cover by Al Milgrom and Bernie Wrightson.  “Destroy Destroy” by Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom.  Guest appearance by Drax the Destroyer.

Captain Canuck (Comely Comix) No. 10;  50 cents.   1980.   “Beyond, Part 2” Story by Richard Comely; Art by George Freeman.   Don’t confuse him with the Guardian, he’s Captain Canuck.  (IDW has a nice collection by the way).

Captain Hero Comics Digest Magazine (Archie) No. 1;  95 cents.  1981.   Cover by Stan Goldberg.  Digest format.  Collects thirteen stories including “The Plight of the Bumblebee”, “Evilheart’s Revenge”, and “Dial M for Monster”.

Captain Savage and His Battlefield Raiders (Marvel) No. 16;  15 cents.  1969.  Cover by John Severin.   “War is Hell …On Ice” by Arnold Drake and Don Heck.   This short lived series mimics the format and styling of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandoes. 

Captain Britain (Marvel UK) No. 35;  10 p / 30 cents.   1977.   Cover by Bob Budiansky, John Romita and Frank Giacoia.  “That Camelot Might Live” by Gary Friedrich, Larry Lieber, and Ron Wilson.  Brian Braddock continues his adventures, plus some backup reprints of the FF and Nick Fury. 

Marvel Spotlight starring Captain Universe (Marvel)  No. 9; 50 cents.  Cover by Steve Ditko. “The Mystery of Mister E” by Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko.   From the pages of the Micronauts comes Captain Universe.


Redartz said...

Interesting, eclectic group of comics this go-round, Martinex1! Several of those books once graced my shelves; alas none do currently. I recall enjoying the Captain Universe story, and that Milgrom/Wrightson Captain Marvel cover is a beauty. However, for today's exercise in four-color budgeting, I'll blow 95% of the dollar on the Captain Hero digest! Those Archie superhero romps were always fun, and how can you resist a hero with a hamburger symbol on his chest? Plus, it's a digest; alternate formats are a nice departure occasionally.

Oh, and Doug; I've got a little something bubbling on the mental burners, just need to get it into something readable...

Doug said...

Thanks, Redartz! I'll look forward to it.

After I'd set this post, our pal Edo actually sent me a couple of ideas along with a fully-formed post. His latest work will run next week.

We truly thank all of our guest writers over these past many months. It's really allowed us to keep the conversations rolling along.


Humanbelly said...

The Milgrom/Wrightson cover caught my eye, too!
Definitely a gestalt effect if ever I've seen one. The finished product doesn't seem to exhibit either artist's particular idiosyncracies-- it's very cool.

Ahh, I think I'm goin' with Captain Atom (pretty sure I'm missing that issue, and that title had a particular charm all its own), and what the heck-- Capt.Savage & his LNRs (old, failed curiosity of a title; love the cover; dubious about Don Heck interiors). With my leftover dime, I'll see if I can track down one of the ubiquitous Captain "Somebody" titles from the Golden Age. . . Captain Midnight, Captain Battle, Captain Terror, original Captain Marvel, etc, etc. . . for a hard-earned dime. Surely there's something out there, yeah?

(Say, of these folks, how many of them are legitimate "Captains"-- like, as a formal rank or title? As opposed to being self-appointed?)


dbutler16 said...

Captain America and Captain Marvel and...I'd love to pick up Captain Britain (or Captain Carrot), but that would put me over the limit, so I'll give Captain Savage a shot, even though war comics are not really my thing.
By the way, I love how Captain Britain is "The Greatest Superhero of All Time!" and Captain Marvel is "The Most Cosmic Superhero of All Time!".

Humanbelly said...

DB, I always viewed this kind of silly, below-the-title puffery as being done with a bit of an amused wink as an homage to Stan's breathless tendency to make every event, every character, every flippin' moment the unsurpassable PINNACLE of. . . whatever he happened to be describing right then.

Heh. How is something the "MOST" Cosmic, anyhow? Does one measure Cosmic-ness? Who's in charge of the scale? And of course, since it's "of all time", that means any other subsequent cosmic heroes are unequal to this permanent precedent. Oh-ho-ho. . . even when I was a little kid, I rolled my eyes at this stuff. . . "yeah, right--", I'd think.

What were some others?

"The World's Greatest Comic Magazine", yeah?
"Marvel's First and Mightiest Mutant"
"The Most Unusual Heroes of All"
"The Most Unexpected Hero of All" (Trying to remember who that was-- totally silly, something is unexpected or it's not; it can't be, like, 43% unexpected. . . )

Dr. Oyola said...

Captain Universe and Captain Britain.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm with Redartz on this one: I'd just get the Captain Hero digest, because you just got the most bang for the buck with those, as they always had about 100 pages. In fact, when I was in my Archie phase, I mostly just bought the digests for precisely that reason.
Of the issues pictured, I had Capt. America, Capt. Carrot, and Marvel Spotlight featuring Capt. Universe. With all due respect to Ditko, I always thought that those Capt. Universe stories would have been better served by an artist like Michael Golden (his co-creator along with Mantlo) or Pat Broderick.

Garett said...

Captain Canuck and Captain Universe. I read the whole Captain Canuck series as a kid--the first 3 issues have weak art, but then George Freeman takes over with an attractive style and it was a pretty good comic. A new Captain Canuck Compendium came out a couple weeks ago and I'm considering getting it, plus there's a new series on the shelves now that's getting good reviews.

For Captain Universe, I'm not a big Ditko fan, but I remember having this comic and I'd be curious to check it out again.

dbutler16 said...

OK, HB, was "The Most Unexpected Hero of All" Juggernaut's son? By the way, who is "The Most Unusual Heroes of All"?

Anonymous said...

I'd probably go with Captain America and Captain Marvel (his fights with Drax were always good). I already have that Captain Hero digest, so I wouldn't have to pick it...there are some pretty good stories in there.

Doug and Karen, I've been mulling a couple of reviews over in my mind, so I can probably have something done before next week.

Mike Wilson

Humanbelly said...

Maybe, dbutler, maybe? J2's certainly a good guess, and is definitely the tone I'm remembering. Argh-- it's gnawin' at my brain.

And I think "Most Unusual Heroes of All" was the X-Men for a period. . . unless. . . could it have been the John Byrne DOOM PATROL reboot?

Boy, what a marketing backfire! I remember the tag-lines, and not the heroes they were attached to--


ColinBray said...

I own the Captain Marvel, Captain Universe and Captain Savage comics but all remain as yet unread.

So it's a choice between Captain Britain and Captain Hero. Tricky, we are talking about opposite ends of the spectrum here.

Captain Britain because I'm err...British. This comic has the benefit of familiarity and wish to honour the coolness of Martinex1 selecting a British comic. I also love reading the British reprints of 70s Marvel comics - the sense of nostalgia makes me gooey inside.

Or perhaps, Captain Hero because I have never read an Archie comic in my life. Archie comics are so exotic, I have never seen them in a UK newsagent or comic shop. In fact I once bought a 'lucky dip' comic auction on eBay expressly hoping I would win an Archie comic rather than those commonplace Marvel comics most buyers were wishing for. It was a hope unfulfilled.

But I'll go with Captain Britain and Captain Britain to symbolically seal the transatlantic alliance through the medium of comics.

ColinBray said...

Edit: the previous post should have ended with 'Captain Britain and Captain America' of course!

Martinex1 said...

For myself I have to take the Captain Britain comic as well. When I was young I thought he had the coolest costume. Even today I like the rather strange face mask and the lion. Between Cap Britain and Union Jack, the British had the best dressed heroes in the Marvel Universe. When his costume was revised I was disappointed, and I still feel the “new” togs are fairly generic and even the Alan Davis art couldn’t overcome that for me. (I think a female Avengers character wore the old Captain Britain costume for a while, but I remember nothing about her character). I also like that Brian Braddock was given the choice between the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. I thought his origin with Merlin was actually somewhat original for Marvel. Of course his partnering with Spider Man in Team Up sealed the deal for my ongoing interest in the character. Claremont did some writing on the title and overall the few examples I’ve been able to collect have been enjoyable.

And I would take Captain America. This was at the height of Mike Zeck’s contribution. And to this day that cover leaps out at me. Did you ever notice how many yellow hued backgrounds there are for Cap covers? I think the yellow makes the red and blue of his costume pop. I picked this one up during a family vacation in the Grand Tetons when I was 13. It’s the second part of a pretty good story that culminates with an excellent Red Skull confrontation.

Captain Savage is amazing to me (not the stories as they were pretty pedestrian), but the fact that there was so much interest in Sgt. Fury back in the day that it warranted a spinoff / duplicate. Fury was a huge part of the evolution of Marvel … Howling Commandos, S.H.I.E.L.D, appearances in Daredevil, Iron Man, Captain America, Avengers and the list goes on. And I really consider this book an extension of that brand.

So I would buy those three. But I have to mention that Captain Atom had some great Pat Broderick art in that series. As recently discussed he might be an acquired taste, but he fit well here. And the series may not be well known, but it had some interesting perspectives and concepts as Cap Atom was not always such a great guy.

That run of Captain Marvel is underrated. Starlin is of course the king of cosmic, but there were some good stories in the following era and the Milgrom art held up. And Captain Universe was great in Micronauts; it played into the “anybody can be a hero” concept. I like Ditko but his art on this was a little sketchy for my young eye.

Thanks all for playing.

pfgavigan said...


I think that I might have several of these books, so the one that I would pick up would be the Captain Savage issue. I have several of this title when the art team was Dick Ayers and Syd Shores and they provided really solid artwork just right for a combat book like this. Shores provided some interesting embellishments over Heck in Captain Marvel 16#, right before Thomas/Kane took over, so I would really like to see how well they worked together in this venue.

By the by; has this forum ever played host to a discussion about talented artists who wound up on the wrong type of book for their skills? Where the theme of the character and the skills and strengths of the illustrator just don't mesh? Or where the sum product of top ranked artists and inkers is less than their individual parts?

Might be a topic for future discussion if it hasn't already been explored.



Garett said...

Good idea for a topic pfgavigan.

Doug said...

PFG --

The only thing I can recall that comes close to your suggestion was a post we ran years ago on artists who were maestro's in certain places and weird in others. For example, take John Buscema. Conquers the Marvel Universe (with only a few exceptions (DD). However, see him on DC and it's just a bit wonky.

But shoot - we're always open to recycled discussions. OR... you could draw it.


Humanbelly said...

A sentence I never in a million years could have imagined hearing:

"Archie comics are so exotic."

That, Colin, is the quote o' the day, as far as I'm concerned!
Perfectly understandable, of course-- it just shows how proximity and/or easy availability can make such a HUGE difference in how different folks might appraise the same ol' artifact.
Archie comics were an unavoidable staple of the late Gold, Silver and even early Bronze eras over here. There were a ZILLION of them, and they were the classic left-in-a-tangled-pile-under-the-bed type of comics. They could be utterly hilarious, sure, and comfortable and fun and amusing-- but they were cannon-fodder. Sometimes not even a step above old newspapers. I remember seeing them pulled apart and used as packing for packages in the mail, even.

Hey, another vote "aye" from me on pfg's suggestion. I don't quite recall the earlier version of it, so maybe it's due for a re-visit, yeah? The wrinkle I like is the focus on clearly good artists, and where they didn't fit (as opposed to just. . .well, bad artists).


Anonymous said...

OK I'd pick Captain America (50 cents), Captain Marvel (25 cents) and finally Captain Savage (15 cents) for a total of 90 cents! Hmm what could you have bought for 10 cents back in the day?

- Mike 'I only have TT dollars' from Trinidad & Tobago.

pfgavigan said...


Hey HB, you summed it up perfectly. Artists and inkers that we, individually and/or collectively, think are true professionals of their disciplines, not simply those who efforts we don't care for in any book.

Hey Doug, it's a possibility. But keep an eye on your mailbox this Sunday. Might be something there. It would have been finished sooner if writing came more naturally to be than it does.



Jerry said...

Captain Britain is one of those books that was tantalizing to me as a kid (not available in the US, etc..) and he looked so cool in that that's easy. That's #1.

The next choice is harder. I like the strangely familar, yet esoteric nature of Captain Canuck - but it kills my budget at $0.50 (meaning I could only get Captain Savage!)! Don't we get to discount that Canadian cover price if we are adjusting the currency exchange for Captain Britain? ;-)

Assuming I will lose the currency exchange argument, I'll stick with Britain, Canuck and Savage.

So a Patriotic British Superhero, a Patriotic Canadian Superhero, and an American soldier. Hmmmm...

ColinBray said...

HB - Archie comics for Americans must be like The Beano or Dandy for most British comic lovers. Seen as charming but with familiarity breeding a little contempt.

Humanbelly said...

Yep, yep-- I checked out some images of the comics you were referred to (VERY exotic, they were! Yar-har-har-har. . . ), and I think they fall into rather the same realm. Although BEANO and DANDY don't seem to worry about having the squeaky-clean veneer that ARCHIE always had.

Your comment particularly tickled me because if you transferred it to television, it would be like referring to LEAVE IT TO BEAVER or THE BRADY BUNCH as "exotic". Ha. (Now, you could certainly make a case for GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, I'll grant you that. . . )

HB- never lettin' a tangential thread go until the bitter end. . .

Edo Bosnar said...

...I rather like Gilligan's Island...

ColinBray said...

I've never seen Gilligan's Island or Leave It To Beaver but that's why YouTube was invented. I could be up late catching up on my culture tonight. :)

Humanbelly said...

Once again, edo, you and I seem to have case of Cloned Tastes (or something). I am an aggressive and unashamed fan of Gilligan's Island-- always have been. That fact does pop up in conversation here every now and again. Colin, the show really hits its stride in the 2nd season, when they make the shift to color-- but the first season also has its share of delightful, goofy, fun amusement. Brother, I would go ahead and (if it's available in your region as cheap as it is 'round here) just get the whole series on DVD. . . and surrender to it!

Not Leave It To Beaver, though. That show stops just this side of the Stepford Wives or Village of the Damned as far as mind-warping bucolic suburban idealism goes. I find myself yelling at the TV if it happens to be on while I'm cooking or working in the kitchen. . .


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