Flat Cap

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Posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 20, 1998 at 10:54:33:


I hope to incite some discussion by posting the following and I apologise up front to those who will undoubtedly disagree with me. FOR ME...Captain America is losing the magic. I see shreds of hope in the title(s) but overall, there seems to be a superficial feel to the whole story.

I'm an old-timer as far as comics go. I think that both D.C. as well as Marvel produced some of their best work in the 70's and early 80's but lately.... everything seems to be more about flash than substance. So far...(admittedly only two issues in) I am unimpressed by Kubert's art. It's "flashy" and "flavour of the monthy" and I (personally) prefer other artists that Cap has had in the past. To be honest, I don't even like Garney's pencils too much (at least not on Cap) and I think that I liked his stuff initially, only because it was better than Dave Hoover's stuff (his art kind of sucked like one so I guess the name was appropo)

I can tolerate the artwork for now, only because I know that Cap has survived through much worse...But PLEASE bring back Kieron Dwyer or Mike Zeck or Jim Steranko (yeah or LEONARDO DA VINCI while I'm dreaming!)

I was greatful for the change that Garney brought but now...really looking at it, I find that I am unimpressed. (B.T.W. Before anybody says my opinion is invalid, let me stress that it IS only a personal opinion, Some will disagree with me, but I hope that those who agree will defend my statements as boldly as those who might flame me. As a Commercial Artist myself, after years of schooling and even more years holding a successful career DRAWING things...I kind of know flat, superficial work when I see it! Style is not the same as substance...and by the way, just for the record.... I still can't believe that Mark Bagley is working in comics today!)

Even the story is being written in a superficial, one dimensional "quick let's get the next issue out" kind of way. When I read past storylines by DeMatteis or Gruenwald I see character development and realistic dialogue. I see stories that might stretch over 4 issues to give the writer TIME to establish a connection between the reader and the character. Now I see Sharon Carter back in Steve's life and joking around like nothing happened and almost no other supporting cast to further the development. The result? A flat story. Please! Don't deny me that this is the case! Go read ANY ULTIMATUM story by Gruenwald....or the 4 part story arc re-introducing ZEMO Jr. by DeMatteis and tell me you don't relate to Captain America better than you can now.

I've often found that comic book heroes both in books as well as movies....shouldn't be more interesting than their supporting cast. Spider-man used to be an awesome title because it had such a rich and three-dimensional supporting cast to make Parker look good. Now...like so many other Marvel titles (incl. Cap) Spider-man SUCKS!

D.C. is becoming the 70's Marvel of the 90's. The true house of ideas where I can STILL pick up a book like GREEN ARROW or GREEN LANTERN and find a well paced, well written, well drawn, character driven story where I actually give a $#!+ about the characters, because they seem real to me. Month after month, I find myself finishing an issue and EAGERLY anticipating the following month's offering. I USED to feel this way about Cap....But I havn't for a long time.

D.C. is producing books of higher quality right now...and as a die-hard Marvelite...I find that a difficult thing to admit. D.C. art makes characters LOOK real, and the stories and dialogue are written to make them SEEM real.

Sentinel of Liberty was not impressive to me either. If Marvel was attempting a "Shadow of the Bat" kind of book then a more "complete" story and accomplished artist should have been chosen to showcase his/her art. When you've got a monthly title already producing QUICK!, QUICK!,QUICK!, work, why not take your second title and produce somthing on a different level? It's not like you need ONE writer and ONE artist on "Sentinal" Get Bill Sienkevich to draw and Doug Moench to write a three issue arc. Then call in Kevin Knowlan and Jim Starlin for three, Then Sal Velluto and DeMatteis for 3 issues. With an opportunity like "sentinel" why not start with somthing DIFFERENT from what we ALREADY have on a monthly basis? It makes no sense to me!

(Marvel Universe with the INVADERS was I.M.O.H.O. the closest that Marvel has come to the old Marvel feel in a looooong time! What an absolute pleasure it was to read that book(s) A self contained three issue story-arc that was multi-layered and realistic in a fantastic sort of way. A story that didn't talk down to me in a condescending way, a story that didn't insult my intelligence by throwing in unneeded explosions or have Cap pick up a rivit gun and shoot a Nazi for the sake of the artist wanting to show Cap in a REALLY COOL POSE HOLDING A GUN! COOL CUZ WE KNOW THAT CAP NEVER USES A GUN!

Cap is not the Cap I know, I Love and I grew up with. It seems that he was more grown up when I was younger he had real problems that I could relate to (even as a teenager) and now he's just not real anymore. Deep down inside...he's just superficial!


P.S. Does ANYBODY out there understand what I'm getting at? Or am I the only one?

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Re: qwerty's thoughts on "Flat Cap"

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Posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 21, 1998 at 15:31:59:

In Reply to: Re: Flat Cap posted by qwerty on July 21, 1998 at 09:43:40:

Thanks for posting your thoughts! Here's where I agree or not...

: Yes! I can't stand Waid's Cap run even Liefield was better (only because it was an alternate reality so at least when Cap was out of character there was an excuse, plus I love Liefield's art)

[i liked the storyline alot, but admittedly, i wasn't impressed with liefeild's art. i just have never liked him on anything he's done...but i appreciate that there are those that do. the colours were good, but for me...the story was far better than what we're reading now. there were some sketchy parts in it that could have been worked on a little more, but the idea of cap being "retired" by shield and given false memories and a false family (in fact...given MANY of the different aspects of the american dream, that he's fought for all these years)...only to have it taken away so cruelly...was a good idea.
bucky-ette was not]

: After the greatness and depth of the Grunewald run I just can't deal with 28 page stories with 10 lines of dialogue and no thought balloons. Worse there is such a lack of cintinuity between the two. With Grunewald continuity mattered a lot, with Waid its routinely forgotten.

[i hope you aren't expecting an arguement from me on this one! you won't get it! the most i'll say is that gruenwald wrote a lot of $#!+ too, but at least he wrote it well.]

: Its one thing for Waid to take Cap in a different direction. I can respect that every writer will have their own intepretations and story telling goals, but to just ignore the past? I would respect Waid ten times as much if he would just have one panel where Cap picks up a phone and calls Free Spirit and Jack Flagg and says "Thanks for taking over for me when I was dead (twice now since we last saw them), Can you keep running the Hotline, I'm busying trying to get the Avenegers back on their feet again" This would take care of both their whereabouts and the hotline leaving Waid free to do what he wants, yet not leaving reader hanging. Instead Cap returns from the dead very publically and two people who were his partners that he was training to suceed him while he was suffering from a degenerative illness don't even bother calling him when he returns. Yeah that makes sense.

[even the staunchest gruenwald supporters have to admit that jack-flag and free spirit were horrible! i can't honestly say that i miss them...and i'm glad that they don't appear in the current series. but...you are right...they should be mentioned, even if only to be dismissed. i read on a fairly reputable net-source, that waid is considering a cap storyline in the future, that involves cap, training some young trainees to follow in his footsteps when he's gone. i hope that this was just a rumour. not so much because it's a bad idea...(i don't think that it is) but only because gruenwald was already doing it and all of fandom seems to be praising waid's creativity on the book, when really...he just seems to be re-writing stories this character has already seen. shield gone...identity gone...new costume...etc. etc.]

: Question 2 : Where's Diamondback? Again it would only take Waid a page to deal with her. She returns, Cap can't accept she went to work for Superia even if it was to save his life and ends it with her for good. Instead last time he saw her she was working for Superia and he has not had a thought balloon about her since. Considering Grunewald used to have Cap drop everything and fly around the country for months at a time everytime Diamondback disapeared, its just a little out of character for him to have no concern that she hasn't been by anyone for months, plus he probably has an Avenger report filed by War Machine that she was working as an assassin (Siryn limited series) if even if he no longer has feelings for her wouldn't feel partially responsible for her actions and go looking for her?


: Other problems I have with the Waid run

: Sharon's return from the dead was never adequately explained


: That whole retread of Man without a country storyline

[see my mini-tirade above!]

: His angst over Bucky in Waids first story, wasn't he over that in the 70's. I only want to see fresh Bucky angst if Agammenon shows up.


: The story where Cap uses his shield to rip Red Skulls arm off his body. Was Cap possessed by Freddy Krueger in that story? because the real Cap would never maim an enemy and has much to much control over his shield to accidentally injure someone like that!!!!

[the kiddies like the violence!]

: The Hokey he can't figure out how to throw a new shield thing. When he's used at least 3 other replacements just fine in the past.

[don't get me started on the whole shield thing! i've posted on these pages at great length about the shield! what i'd like to know is how it showed up in "live kree or die" part IV when it was crumpled to $#!+ in part II? Marvel used to pride itself on continuity...bring back Shooter!]

: The constant Nazi threats and refernces. It's the 90's the Nazi's were decisively defeated 50 years ago. Germany's a democracy now that works with its neighbors economically in the European Union. Lets move on.

[I agree! the Nazis may have been the greatest scum that walked the planet, in fact that's why cap was created in the first place, both figureatively and literally.... but when the war was over in the real world....so was cap! They ressurected him in the 50's to fight the commies...and quickly shelved him again when that perceived threat was over. Stan Lee had the greatest concept for the character ever, when he introduced the good capain as a character with many physical enemies, but none more destructive than the captain himself. the "man out of time" theme is what made the character stick around so long and so successfully. Now in the nineties, we can't deny that Nazism still exists...but so does facsism...animal testing....spousal abuse....religious cults....serial killings....and we don't see cap against those very often. i'm not suggesting that we all forget what happened in W.W. II, but the only time we should see it in these books, are during flashbacks. i mean...even the RED "freakin" SKULL himself, considers his position as an American business man, before labeling himself a Nazi.]

: To end on a positve note does anyone else want to see Gary Frank as Cap's regular artist. I think Hulk #406 was the most dynamically drawn Captain America I ever saw.

[yup! Gary Frank was one of the best artists i had seen on cap for a loooooong time. i would love for him to do cap on a regular basis]

Jarek the Gecko

Here's What I think Cap should be like!

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Posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 22, 1998 at 07:35:23:

In Reply to: What do you think Cap should be like? posted by CarrotCadet on July 21, 1998 at 17:48:42:


What do I think Cap should be....

I agree that Cap should be more of a hardcase when he needs to be. If he's Hardcase all the time...he would probably come across a bit too much like U.S.Agent and that wouldn't be good. However...when Hercules shows up for Avengers role call, hammered out of his skull and reeking of mead...Cap (as leader) should be the one to pull him aside and tell him to shape up. I thought that Cap's handling of Hawkeye in the pages of the Avengers was right on target. Removing Clint from the others and discussing the issue with him in private was as realistic a vignette as I've seen in those pages in a looooooong time.

I would also like to see Cap as more of a thinker. In the current issues of Cap...he seems almost childlike and goofy, both out of costume as in. Writers of Captain America tend to stress Cap's physicallity and athletic prowess, all the while ignoring that the man has a keen...analytical mind too! A while back on these pages, I argued that I was tired of seeing Cap ALWAYS fighting the same villians. I volunteered my opinion, that Cap could easily take on some of the Marvel heavyweights on his own. Some posters replied that I was dreaming! They suggested that even though Cap was the "God of never losing or giving up" he would be hard pressed to defeat a villian such as THE YELLOW CLAW,or KANG on his own.

Not true! ALL of Cap's writers have been guilty of ignoring his military strategic training. Cap is like a Chess Grandmaster, only his playing field is the real (well...comic-book real) world. There's no reason why such a brilliant military strategist, trained in various aspects of espionage and subterfuge for good measure.... couldn't go up against KANG or DOOM and stay 3 moves or more ahead, at all times. There's more to this character than just a guy who can incorporate every fighting style known to man into a balletic dance of defeat for his enemy. He can out strategize them too!

I'd also like to see A LOT more of Steve Rogers! Captain America has been a faceless guy in a flag suit for far too long! There's a human being in that suit....let's see what he's up to! He may be living his American Dream when he's jumping from rooftop to rooftop and slinging a shield...but when the mask comes off I'm sure he finds the American Dream is not quite the same for him. That's what I liked so much about the ZECK/DEMATTEIS run of the 80's....There was a perfect balance (i.m.o) of Steve's personal life and Captain America. There was also a fantastic supporting cast of REALISTIC (read: nobody lame like Jack-Flag or even the currently, underdeveloped Sharon Carter) that were easy to relate to and three-dimensional. Unlike now.

As I understand it.... a female from Cap's past may be making a return. I'm glad to hear it and I hope that it causes more of an effect on Steve Rogers' personal life, than when Bernie Rosenthal returned back when Gruenwald had Cap involved with Diamondback. I still remember the tight, consise storytelling that showed Cap and Diamondback getting closer and closer to each other over a number of issues, when suddenly......Heeeeeeeeeere's Bernie!!!!!!!

Man! That was fun to see! Too bad it didn't really go anywhere. Now we might have the opportunity to see it again. I hope that Waid does somthing with this.

I don't think that Cap should kill like the Punisher or Wolverine. I think that Cap should remain the way we see him, in that he preserves life at all costs! The issue of Cap killing, has been handled in the past in other, rather well written, and ingenious issues. John Bryne and Roger Stern had Cap "Duped" into killing machinesmith..... Paul Neary and Mark Gruenwald had Cap pick up a gun and dispatch an ULTIMATUM goon when there was ABSOLUTELY no other way. These were creative stories that helped further the development of the character. But they are as far as it should go in terms of Cap taking another life.

I was happy to see a loose richochette kill the bad guy in the MARVEL UNIVERSE INVADERS story. I have always wondered how an entire tale revolving around the "accidental" death of an innocent bystander by a stray bullet off Cap's shield might affect him...and I think that this was (unfortunately) the closest I'll ever see Cap get, to that situation. Often times, writers throw an idea into a single or double panel and leave it at that. Sometimes, the possible reactions and reprocussions of that two-panelled idea, could make for a very interesting, full length story.

Current Cap needs more focus!

Jarek The Gecko

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Re: Here's What I think Cap should be like!

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Posted by Lou Mougin on July 22, 1998 at 14:22:45:

In Reply to: Here's What I think Cap should be like! posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 22, 1998 at 07:35:23:

What do I think Cap should be like?

Pure and simple...the nobility of the American Dream. The anti-Batman. Cap should NOT kill. His mission is not to destroy the bad guys, but to subdue them. True, villains should fear him at times, but with a different fear than the kind they would give to the Punisher...as in an ish of the Stern / Byrne Cap, when he simply faced down a gunsel who, confronted by the symbol of America itself, didn't dare pull the trigger and dropped his weapon.

Cap at times SHOULD act like a sergeant with errant Avengers or other heroes. This was the role Stan Lee cast him in during the "second Avengers" era (AVENGERS #17-28) and it worked well. In fact, it worked excellently. Hawkeye got under Cap's skin incessantly with his insubordination and big mouth. But, when Hawkeye knew he'd really blown it in ish #29 by letting some baddies go and flatly told Cap to chew the hell out of him for botching it, Cap refused to, telling Hawkeye that he was only a human being, capable of error, just like all the rest of his teammates. Hawkeye was so ashamed of his previous treatment of Cap that he wished the ground would swallow him up then...and from that time on, he became Cap's biggest ally.

That's what Cap is capable of.

He should symbolize the light, not the darkness. Tough and capable of battle, but unwilling to do evil things to serve a "greater good". Check out any of the Lee-Kirby stories. Cap can take out a small army of thugs or villains, but he doesn't kill a one of them.

I'd like to see Steve demonstrate a great familiarity with American history, in keeping with his American symbolism. And, let's face it...there weren't five Captain Americas. There was one Captain America...and four substitutes.

I think Cap should go back to making a rallying cornball speech when he needs to, and that his strengths should be emphasized, rather than his weaknesses. As for his Steve Rogers identity, I think he CAN be shown as fallible there. But Cap should be something more.

Well, so much for that.

Follow Ups:

NEWS FLASH Cap DOES NOT kill!!!!!!

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Posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 23, 1998 at 16:31:48:

In Reply to: Re: Here's What I think Cap should be like! posted by CarrotCadet on July 23, 1998 at 09:56:08:

: I agree with many of your ideas, except for one thing: the big ol' killin' issue. Now, let me stress that I don't want to see Captain America start wasting Hydra agents left and right. That wouldn't be quite right. But in Sentinel of Liberty #1 Cap seemed to be dealing with the big moral decision of whether he could kill this bad guy or not. To me, this made no sense.
: Steve tried to join the army, to what? Kill the Nazis! He became Captain America, to what? Kill the Nazis quicker! He's a soldier. Trained to take out the enemy, and when he became Cap, Steve knew what he was getting into. So, to me, it would seem out of character for Steve to be such a believer in preserving ALL life. See what I'm getting at here? To me, it doesn't seem like there's any reason for him to be.
: I'm not one of those people that thinks every hero should start executing the problem, and screams out, "BLOOD! BLOOD! MORE VIOLENCE!! BWA HA HA HA!!" I think heroes like Superman and Spider-Man shouldn't. But comics heroes seem to be very black and white: they never do it, or they kill everybody in sight. So, I think Cap should be in the grey area. He chooses not to because he doesn't want to be the cause of any more death, but there's no moral delema when the occasion arises.

: P.S. Is there a particular issue that explains Cap's whole moral basis or something? And what issues hold his best origin tale? Thanks!


Captain America....as far as the government/military's big picture was concerned...was a successful failure. We all know that Steve/Cap was a success, but the "setback" that caused him to be the ONLY super-soldier produced, was the failure aspect of the plan. Cap knew his potential. Cap knew he was better, stronger, smarter (from a military standpoint) than the average soldier on the killing fields. Cap could have been the type to take advantage of those abilities and kill with impunity, but he realized that he was better than that, not only physically....but metally too!

Steve Rogers/Captain America...was and is morally perfect. Captain America doesn't need to kill his enemies because he's BETTER than other "heroes" that do. Captain America will (unlike Wolverine or Punisher) only kill as an absolute LAST RESORT. Why kill, if he doesn't have to?

It takes a very......disturbed........ individual to kill another human being. Either that, or there has to be ABSOLUTELY no other alternative. If Steve Rogers were able to just kill when he could just as easily render the villian useless, then he's an individual that I would not wish to see in the Cap suit! John Walker was a killer. If you want to see the costume covered in blood and the gloves wrapped around a neck, squeezing the life out of an already unconcious perp who is in no position to defend himself. I suggest you go and read THOSE issues of Captain America, or pick up an Image book.

KILLER-CAP....Those were interesting stories where Gruenwald...possibly thinking along the same lines as you, and wanting to "shake up" the character a bit, decided to turn Cap into a killer. But even Gruenwald knew that in order to do that...Steve Rogers had to be taken out of the picture.

Most Cops, for example... WON'T kill a suspect unless fired upon and even then, I'm sure that if they had a shield and the training to use it to defend themselves and subdue their target WITHOUT killing him/her, they would opt for that path. Soldiers during the war, were trained to kill using a gun and from a distance. FEW actually ever got close enough to use the bayonette, and I'm sure that those who did (and were just ordinary people back home, with wives, and kids and had jobs as the local Barber or Car Dealer) were horribly scarred by the action afterwards.

Cap doesn't kill....because he's good enough to not have to. If you were in a situation, where you could use your...martial arts training to subdue a gas station robber...would you give the perp a swift scissor-kick to the throat, and knock him out? Or would you send your fist upwards, smashing his nose into a bloody smear and sending bone fragments worming erratically into his brain pan? Effectively killing him?

I hope to hear that you would elect the former, and not the latter!

Jarek The Gecko


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Posted by JAREK THE GECKO on July 23, 1998 at 20:49:52:


There's a rather bothersome trend that's been permeating Captain America. The problem is...Repetion. Some may accuse me of the same thing...but I assure you, that after some thought on the subject...I have posted this missive, containing some new points

Apart from Captain America's monthly offerings, I choose to supplement my free time with movie-going and magazines. This may not come as a great surprise to most of you...but this summer,(as with last summer and the one(s) before) Hollywood has deemed it appropriate to deluge us with movie versions of things we've already seen.

From the Brady Bunch and The Saint to The Avengers, Godzilla and TWO asteroid movies in one summer alone. Not to mention the upcoming remake of Phsyco which as I understand, is not only a remake...but has been shot frame for frame ...EXACTLY... as the original...(I guess the first one wasn't good enuff!) Hollywood has, it seems, run out of ideas too! So...Captain America is in good company. My question is...why do we pay good money month after month to buy a book where we know what's going to happen next?

Do any of us doubt for a minute, that Cap will get his shield back?
Did any of us doubt that once stripped of his identity, Cap would fight against all odds to regain it?
Did any of us feel that at any point, Cap wouldn't get over America's "sudden" feelings of admiration for Cap, the symbol?
Did any of us think that Batroc The Leaper stood a "Twinkie at a Fat farms'" chance against Cap?

The truth is my friends...That we've seen it all before! In fact...having a villian, kidnap and impersonate Cap, in order to destroy his image...is somthing that even OTHER writers have been guilty of copying, off of previous writers before them. (Zemo & Primus/Doughboy)

Repetion...and yet, we continue to buy. I love this character too much for that. A friend of mine once asked me if I'd like (given the chance) to write Captain America on a monthly basis. I told him "No" and went on to explain, that I didn't feel I could do Cap any justice...that I was too close to the character. Now...looking at what's being done (again) with him I see that I could INDEED write Captain America. I could indeed do him justice. Because what we currenty read...is unjust!


Unfortunatly...Marvel is run by a bunch of old men, hiring the same guys over and over to write the same stories over and over in the same books. Write Daredevil for 6 months...then go over to Fantastic Four for three months...then take the same plot over to Cap...and rehash it for five months before taking the storyline from 135 to 140 and re-tooling it for the 90's, etc. etc.

Distressingly, I have learned that it is EVEN MORE difficult as a "non-comic professional" to submit story samples to Marvel (or D.C.) than it is art samples. Marvel will not accept unsolicited writings and so they will (almost) never get to read ideas for their characters written not only by me, but by countless other writers who are itching to get the "ultimate" Cap story into print. Anything I, or others might send, will be promptly shuttled into the nearest trash bin unopened so that existing "writers" can go on re-writing history.

I guarantee that a story by me, is a story you've never read before, and I don't just have one! I can see why guys like John Bryne and Rob Liefield (love them or hate them) go off and try to "do Captain America right" They don't often succeed, but then again...they do at least fail at trying somthing different for the character, and that takes guts! I don't think that Waid is succeeding at Cap either. Liefield's art may suck $#!+ through a straw...but his storyline had promise (except for Bucky-ette) I admire that run for no other reason. Current Cap is bankrupt of originality!

When people read a comic book like PREACHER, JLA, SANDMAN, HITMAN or other critically acclaimed monthlies, everybody gushes at how original and great these books are because the quality is there! Intricate storylines, character development, realistic dialogue...the list goes on and on in terms of what a good story needs. Captain America is lacking those things or for that matter....anything new. Those of you who read and enjoy any of the above mentioned titles, go ahead and disagree with me...Tell me that Cap is on the same level! You can't, cuz it ain't!

Gruenwald has been torn apart on these pages for creating some of the worst storylines this book has ever seen. I join you in decrying those horrendous issues! But there were far more successes than failures during his stint. I want to see Cap's shield back...I want to see a supporting cast that breathes! Give me some realism! I want to read some realistic dialogue for a change! Don't give me 28 pages of explosions...and 14 word balloons of text. I want to see Steve Rogers...the man behind the mask. Don't insult our intelligence!

Above all...I want to read a story that I haven't read before! Is that really to much to ask Mr. Waid? If so...move over and let sombody else do the job right! Because I for one...have already seen what you've got to offer!


P.S. Some will disagree, and that's fine cuz this is only one man's opinion...but I know that I'm not alone here!

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