Later this month, Marvel will re-release Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles in an all-new Marvel Treasury Edition – but there’s a mystery a Jack Kirby fan out there might be able to solve…
First published in 1976, Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles was the Marvel Treasury Edition that celebrated 200 years of the United States of America, written and pencilled entirely by Jack Kirby, inked by artists that included Frank Giacoia, including the cover, along with John Buscema, Barry Windsor-Smith and Herb Trimpe.
Running to 84 pages, it could even be considered to be one of the earliest American graphic novels (as was Jack’s 2001: A Space Odyssey adaptation).
The story is a time-spanning adventure featuring Captain America on an incredible journey through his nation’s past — from the American Revolution through two World Wars…and more! Steve Rogers meets major historical figures, makes quite an impact on Benjamin Franklin — and takes inspiration from two centuries of American struggle and progress!
Reprinted in all its oversized glory along with suitably patriotic special features, this is one of the Sentinel of Liberty’s wildest adventures of all – and artist David Roach recently noticed that back in 1995, auction house Sotheby’s offered the eye-catching cover art for sale… but incredibly, it didn’t meet its reserve!
“It was one of several Kirby pages being sold by Roz Kirby [Jack’s widow], which failed to sell,” David noted, and, apparently, as it has never been seen since, where is it now?
“I bought this Treasury Edition at the time and I still feel the cover is rather thrilling”, David noted, and he’s not the only Kirby fan to think so.
A look back at Kirby’s original pencils reveals that at the bottom left of the art, he had originally included a boxing match which was subsequently replaced by some charging soldiers, quite possibly drawn by Gil Kane, inked by Frank Giacoia. Marie Severin is credited on GCD. although at the time, John Romita Snr was Marvel’s resident art editor.
Although the cover is featured among articles about Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles on the Jack Kirby Research Center web site, there’s no indication the art is still held by the family. However, there is plenty of conjecture as to why Jack’s cover was altered – a mystery in itself!
Collecting Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976) 1, Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar 1976
With thanks to David Roach, and Damien Harvey