Thursday, July 4, 2013

Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976)

Title: Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles
Cover: Jack Kirby
Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Herb Trimpe, John Romita, Sr., Barry Windsor Smith
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jack Kirby
Editor-in-Chief: Stan Lee
Cover Price: $1.50
Cover Date: August 1976
Release Date: May 1976
Synopsis: No comic book character says “Independence Day” to me more clearly than does Captain America and no single issue says it more eloquently than Jack Kirby’s masterpiece Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles. Originally published as an oversize Marvel Treasury Edition, Bicentennial Battles was released during the summer of 1976 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of America’s declaration of Independence. The story was written and penciled by Jack Kirby and features an all-star cast of inkers, including Herb Trimpe, John Romita, Sr. and Barry Windsor Smith.

Bicentennial Battles takes Captain America on a journey though time and space to visit key moments and poignant vignettes in America’s history. From the dawn of the American Revolution though two world wars and far into an uncertain future, Captain America experiences America at its best and worst and comes away with a renewed conviction in the American Dream. “Two hundred years of old thoughts in young minds—two hundred years of seeing it through. It is the way of a great country and a great people, who stand together against the slings and arrows of a threatening tomorrow,” Kirby concludes.

This story is particularly special for me as one of the first comics I remember from my childhood. I was five years old when it was first published, and I can imagine being entranced when my older brother first showed it to me. That original copy of the Marvel Treasury Edition didn’t survive our childhood, but Bicentennial Battles was one of the first things I bought after I discovered the miracle of eBay. The story was re-released in 2008 by Marvel as a trade paperback along with Captain America issues 201–205 and it’s also available online via Marvel Comics Unlimited, but it’s truly impossible to beat the original Marvel Treasury Special-size original edition if you can find it.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

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