As the fireworks color the sky in flashes of brilliant hues and loud retorts let’s remember the King: Jack “King” Kirby.
Kirby’s name is synonymous with comic books. So much so he was one of the original three inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1987.
Most will remember Kirby as co-creator of the Marvel Universe. Depending on how you feel ownership should be distributed, he and Stan Lee partnered in the formation of such properties as the Fantastic Four, Hulk, early members of the X-Men, etc.
Prior to working with Lee, Kirby was co-creator on Captain America in 1941.
It’s this creation, whom he partnered with Joe Simon to give life, that Kirby takes on this Bicentennial pilgrimage to the heart of America. All courtesy of an odd guide named simply Mr. Buda.
Through his own eyes and the eyes of those he comes in contact with, Captain America is truly allowed to learn what the nation whose name he boasts really is about. The journey takes the star-spangled hero through time; past, present and future.
Cap becomes entwined with the formation of our nation through struggle and strife. The pain of others is passed on to him. More importantly, so is the hope. The hope for a new way of life.
The journey takes Cap through some of the most turbulent of times including the Revolutionary War, slave trade and World War I. The persecution of the American Indians and great Chicago Fire. In each era Cap was allowed to experience life as it happened.
This tabloid-sized treasury was created after Kirby’s return to Marvel Comics in 1975. Kirby was already working the monthly Captain America comic book at the time.
During this second stay at Marvel, Kirby would dabble in more science fiction-grounded characters and titles. Creations at this time included the Celestials and The Eternals.
By the end of the decade Kirby left Marvel for a second and final time.
The book was originally published under the Marvel Treasury imprint, but as a special. Since then it has been reprinted in the first Captain America omnibus, Essential Captain America trade volume five, King-Size Kirby Slipcase, Marvel Masterworks: Captain America volume 10 and the self-titled trade.
Marvel Treasury Special Featuring Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976) 1
Marvel Treasury Special Featuring Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976) 1 back cover