I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got five new comics:

  • The Activity – 14
  • Catalyst Comix – 2
  • Fatale – 16
  • Manhattan Projects – 13
  • Satellite Sam−2
  • This week’s comic book cover to look at and examine is “Captain America” #197 by Jack Kirby. I was actually looking for a different Captain America cover on my shelf when this one jumped out at me. I had forgotten about it but it is one that I’ve liked since first seeing it back in my childhood.

    First of all on this cover everything is coming at you. The viewer is put right in the line of fire. It was sort of a Kirby thing to, on occasion, have a character looking right out at the reader. He wasn’t really breaking the fourth wall and having the character address the reader because it seemed the character was always yelling to some ally in the story. Yet on a cover we might imagine ourselves as the ally. Either was Kirby could capture the intensity of someone yelling out at the world like no one else.

    This is a single character cover but is as busy as can be. Cap is gesturing and shouting, large projectiles are comic right at us, bits of metal machinery are flying all around, there are two logos, two full figures on the trade dress, two word balloons, and a caption. That is a lot of stuff but it’s well ordered. We know exactly what is going on and there is the “Asymmetrical symmetry” happening that I like so much.

    Kirby gets more action out of Cap standing there and shouting than most artist can in a fight scene. The horizon line is slightly tilted making Cap look off kilter but his shoulders are square to the rectangle of the comic making him solid and sturdy. His feet are way far apart giving him a wide base and one thigh is even larger than the other making the smaller one twist back in space and adding to the frantic but solid gesture of the figure. It would never even occur to me to do something like that.

    All that plus a strong sense of the foreground, middle ground, and background make this one one of my favorites.