TreasuryCast #37 – Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles


To celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, Rob and Make Ours Marvel hosts Michael Kaiser and Jon Wilson take a look at 1976’s CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES, written and drawn by Jack Kirby!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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8 responses to “TreasuryCast #37 – Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles

  1. Oh, yeah. Back in 1976, having just turned eight, I really loved this book – a lot of it flew over my head, but I loved it nonetheless. And that’s despite the fact that I mostly didn’t like Kirby’s art at that point. There was something about this story that just captivated me. Haven’t read it since, though, so I’m not sure what I would think of it now – particularly because, as noted, at the age of 8 I hardly understood the general malaise in America in the wake of Vietnam and the Watergate scandal (I do vividly recall all of the bicentennial hype, though). Based on your descriptions, it seems apparent that Kirby very much had all of this in mind when putting together the story.
    By the way, the Captain America Annual you mentioned is #6, which came out in the early ’80s. I recall liking the story quite a bit, in part because it reminded me of Bicentennial Battles.
    As usual, wonderful show, gentlemen.

  2. What do kids know of history?

    September 2008, a few weeks before Barack Obama was elected, a high school freshman asked me, “Was JFK the first black president?”

    I scrunched up my face in disbelief and said, “What? No, we haven’t had a black President of the United States yet. And JFK was white.”

    The freshman responded: “But I thought he was MLK’s brother.”

    I am no longer a high school teacher.

  3. Rob, you’re spot on about younger people having no sense of history. I’d say most of my students have never seen a foreign film, silent movie, anything in B&W, and most have little interest in anything before they were born. I’ve had students who have never seen Star Wars, I Love Lucy, & wouldn’t know Jane Fonda or Warren Beatty if they were sitting next to them. Ask them if they know the significance of names like Eisenhower, Garbo, or anything from classical literature & you get blank stares.
    Anyone who says millennials are more engaged is sadly fooling themselves. We assign shorter readings as they won’t read a long novel. One student recently told me she likes to read “old books” like Harry Potter.
    I think the biggest problems with “kids today” is we live in a fragmented culture with few shared experiences. TV is no longer a communal experience. The other problem is self-absorption. Why are so many taking pictures of themselves? Few can handle constructive criticism & they seem conditioned never to be challenged or to feel uncomfortable at any time.
    End of rant. I need to go chase some kids off my lawn…

  4. I’ve been waiting for this episode since you began the Treasury Cast!
    Captain America is my absolute favorite character and Bicentennial Battles was the first Treasury Edition I bought when I began collecting the format. (I had Treasury Editions as a kid like The G.I. Joe and The Empire Strikes Back adaptation but those did not survive my childhood.)
    Mr. Buddha continues to make appearances (he’s now known as The Contemplater) as previously mentioned he United William Nasland, Jeff Mace, William Burnside and Steve Rogers in Captain America Annual 6 and created the Captain America Corps in a mini-series of the same name. Basically his theme is to bring together Captain Americas from various time periods and realities to save other realities were America has fallen to despots.
    The Colonial Era Cap made his appearance in Mark Waid’s short lived Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #7 and the Western Cap had an entry in Marvel Westerns: The Outlaw Files implying that The Captain From Texas may have existed as well.

  5. While I can understand that the treasury may be too episodic for some readers, having Cap dropped in so many time frames keeps the plot moving. Even with 70+ pages to fill, Kirby never lets the action lag. I don’t think Kirby ever committed the cardinal sin of letting a comic get boring. If Kirby had a weakness as a story-teller (and he didn’t), it was that he was too creative. How many times have you read a Kirby story and saw some character or gadget that he treated as a throw-away that only lasted for a page or two, and thought “I want more of that”?

    Not just here, but I enjoy Kirby’s work in any treasury because it looks more spectacular at the bigger size. I’m going to admit that my fondness for this may be childhood nostalgia. I didn’t get this particular treasury until I was an adult and II first discovered Cap in and Invaders issue, which was in a three pack. The first issue of Captain America I got was Kirby’s action-packed last issue, also in a three pack. Kirby’s action-oriented Cap was more fun than the mopey Cap I encountered on his Power Record. I’ve always loved the wild weirdness of Kirby’s Cap. Another part of my enjoyment of 70s Kirby. If you ever got those “Old Comics Collections” in the Christmas catalog, they always had a few 70s Kirby in them; I guess because they had fallen out of popularity at the time. I enjoyed all of them.

  6. As an American kid who turned twelve in the summer of ’76, I can vividly remember all the patriotic promotion, both genuine and blatantly commercial. I disagree with Rob about this book being for collectors. This was aimed at the non-comics reading public. It would have been for sale in an enormous variety of places, i.e., grocery stores, drugstores, variety stores, etc. The story does not reference any other Marvel property. The reader who was attracted to the flag-festooned figure of Captain America on the cover could read this story without having to know who The Avengers, Sam (Snap) Wilson, The Carter Sisters, Nick Fury, or Batroc were. I haven’t read this one myself, but I ask you all; could this book serve as an introduction to comic book literacy? Are Kirby’s layouts and figures clear as to intention? I expect so.
    I was glad to hear Michael and Jon. I expect that I’ll be checking out their podcast soon, as it has Rob’s stamp of approval. Although, I’ve already been over that territory. Over the last year or so, I’ve been attending “Marvel University” during my lunch time at work. This is a website that looked at all the (superhero) Marvel comics, month by month, from Fantastic Four #1 to 1980. I’m about 6 years ahead of Make Ours Marvel, but it would be nice to get a different perspective. (Often, the “Professors” at the University get jaded and cynical when reading the same old cliches.)

  7. I think this is another treasury I read during my comic shop clerk days. I would love to have this one, as I love Kirby’s Cap. I have almost the complete run of his 70s return to the book. It’s nuts, but it’s so energetic and fun.

    I think, perhaps, we aren’t giving modern kids enough credit. Sure, there are some kids who have no idea on even the vaguest semblance of American history. But I went to school with kids like that too. My daughter is a fan of the “Who was” series of books, and the accompanying Netflix series. These are mini-bios/documentaries aimed squarely at kids. Sure they are funny and irreverent in a lot of ways, but all the facts are there.

    If Marvel could pay Chris Evans or Anthony Mackie some dough to do some historical “time travel” segments like this on Disney Plus or something, it could really turn kids on to learning actual history. Not sure you could get them to read a comic, but the characters could still work as that gateway.

    Great show!


  8. Cool pod cast. Kirby’s art is in a class by it’s self. He was a great artist. And great at coming up with new Characters…..but, writing was not one of the things he was great at. Still this looks like a fun comic. And glad they celebrated the bi centennial. And even though it’s a very silver age story. It looks like it was pretty cool art wise. Oh did I mention I have a U tube page? Liz Anne Oswalt. Hey they can be random so can I. I like the look of Cap under Kirby’s hand. And how he told a story as an artist. Just not a fan of his writing. Any way can’t wait to hear the next pod cast.

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