Monday, May 18, 2009

Now That's Heavy, Man: Captain America and the Falcon #183

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Y'know, Ol' Groove's read a lot of comics and a lot of comics reviews, and one thing that honks me off is when a reviewer talks about how sophisticated and deep today's comics are--by comparing them to the "frivolous, childish, cookie-cutter" comics of the 1970s. Man, that burns me up and bums me out. So, I thought I'd combat those misguided ideas in my own non-conscientiously objectionable way by posting proof positive that 1970s comics could be deep...downright heavy, even.

Take Captain America and the Falcon #183 (December 1974) by Steve Englehart and Frank Robbins, f'rinstance. Steve Rogers, after learning the President of the U.S. of A. was behind the biggest anti-American conspiracy in history (this was writer Steve Englehart's way of voicing his opinion on the whole Watergate scandal that was rocking the real world at the time), gave up the mantle of Captain America and became Nomad, the Man Without a Country. Yep, Cap was so disillusioned by what the Marvel Universe's Prez had done that he gave up on the very country he'd been born and bred to defend, and becoming Nomad was his response to that sickening situation. Other folks, however knew that we needed a Captain America, and tried to take his place. One of those folks was a young dude by the name of Roscoe. Problem was, about the time Roscoe took over for Cap, the Red Skull decided to bop back into town. After capturing Roscoe and then learning that he wasn't the real Cap, the Skull went nutso and murdered him, then beat the Falcon to a pulp for good measure. That's when Steve Rogers learned that you can't run from destiny...and that his destiny was to be--well, just read on, baby...


  1. Right on Groove! The whole run with Cap taking down Moonstone & the prez was awesome social commentary masked as entertainment. And it all led to the return of Steve Rogers as Cap! I still remember being a child and cheering out loud when Steve put THE uniform back on.

  2. Groove.....couldn't agree more with your comments. It's become annoyingly fashionable among current readers to slam anything from the 60s and 70s as being "aimed at children," which is, of course, hogwash. I've said many times that the genius of Stan Lee and Roy Thomas was their ability to appeal to ALL readers — adults and kids. That's a skill glaringly lacking in today's comics.

    And I'll say something else: The more I look at Frank Robbins' work, the more I'm able to tolerate it. I don't think I'll ever be a big Robbins fan, but as I age I can begin to respect his approach and what he was trying to accomplish. And I'll take his work over many "modern" artists any day....

  3. just spent this last weekend re-reading Panther's Rage ( for the ga-zillionth time, NEVER get tired of that stuff ). and, yeah, right, that was, like, soooooo childish. gonna throw that, me Killravens, me Omega the Unknowns, me Howard the Ducks, and all me Doc Strange comics right in the sandpit. hell, I've had enough of all them old kids' comics! I'm off to read me some Witchblade. Now, THERE'S sophisticated. . .

  4. & Chris, mate, Frank Robbins just gets better and better the more I revisit his work. straight up, mate, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool long-time Frank fan. he never got the appreciation he deserved while he was alive, but it's heartening to see that so many people are starting to "feel the Frank" as the years wear on. check out his beautiful work for the DC mystery titles! the man was a star!

  5. Steve Englehart's Nomad series -- his entire run on Captain America -- is one of my all time favorites in comics.

    But, hey, Groove, the word Groovy really came into use in the 60s, not the 70s. The word of the 70s was Cool. Groovy was way passe by then.

  6. The '70's: Steve Gerber. Roy Thomas. Don McGregor. Steve Englehart. Howie Chaykin. Mike Friedrich. Byron Preiss. Doug Moench. Jim Starlin. Will Eisner.

    Today: Witchblade. Heroes For Hire. Birds Of Prey.
    Countdown To Crisis. Infinite Crisis. 52.

    I rest my case.

  7. I hear ya, Joe! I also think that Robbins always needed the right inker.....when he got that, it helped a lot. I'm with ya on "Panther's Rage," too!! (Bought those when they came out and loved ' a kid! LOL!)

    Also, it appears some of the panels in these Cap pages have some Sal Buscema in them. Given the crazy nature of the 70s, it's possible!

    Pete......all too true!!!!

  8. Ol' Groove covers the seventies and the eighties. I say he's far out for doing so!
    Thanks Groove! This is an outstanding place to come for comic fun and fanaticism.

  9. I never get tired of the writing from that series, but I wish that sal buscema had stayed on the art chores as opposed to them getting frank robbins. it disrupted the flow from issue to issue. Robbins was someone, like don heck, who needed to be doing different genre besides superheroes, and the market stuck them into doing superheroes. while i understand his approach, i still don't like it that much.

    englehart was the man. writer of the best cap series for 30 years at a time when america's pattriotism was at a low.

  10. Funny..I've always thought of TODAY'S comics as childish and aimed at (emotionally arrested)children...Lots of "adolescent boy" posing and macho wish fulfillment in place of real story and art...

    And, yes, I hated Robbins' work then..Now? Pure genius.

    Al Bigley

  11. I'm with you Al!
    To me personally these books of the 70's. Especially in this run on Cap by Steve were awesome. The 50's Cap, Roscoe,Nomad & the return of Capt.A! I also prefer Sal Buscema over Frank. His art was unique & at times I get it. But I just never dug it.

    Today's comics are just full of soap opera mush. Dragged out storylines, endless mini-series & gimmicks. Like multiple covers, maimings, killings & T & A. I can't even imagine DC or Marvel trying to sell their fans in the 60's-mid 80's this type of garbage.

    Sure the coloring & paper quality is better. But ever try stacking the comics since the mid-late 90's? their so slippery they just fall over! All the art looks the same in 80% of the books. beside's the prices being insane. Or they just constanly are rehasing old story lines & say it's new & original! Gimmie a break! I'd buy any book today from any of the 70's writers & artists over today's.

  12. Hey Groov-you are the man! & thanks for the most enjoyable comics blog in this or any universe.
    I'm a BIG Robbins fan--especially his run on Cap-- but also Batman and The Shadow. He was alternative before there was such a thing--a cartoonist's cartoonist.

    you might dig my little rap on him here:



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