Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles / Marvel Treasury Special - Jack Kirby art & cover, Kirby / Barry Windsor Smith art

Jack Kirby
Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles / Marvel Treasury Special, 1976 - This oversized, one-shot issue coincides with Jack Kirby's second run on Captain America. Unlike most Marvel Treasuries, it contains all original work, including one of the longest stories of Kirby's career. This ambitious piece contains eight full page splashes and two double page spreads interspersed throughout 77 pages. Never tedious, Kirby's storytelling propels the reader forward through engaging layouts and pacing. The artist produced only one other treasury during this period, the equally lengthy 2001: A Space Odyssey. Barry Smith, an early Kirby emulator turned neo-classicist, inks the first ten pages to stunning effect (see interior page below). Their styles mesh perfectly without compromising their respective approaches. This is number 1 of 2 Marvel Treasury Special issues with Kirby art and/or covers and number 1 of 1 Marvel Treasury Special issues with Smith art and/or covers.
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Kirby cover pencils (Frank Giacoia inks) = **
Kirby inside front cover
pencils (Frank Giacoia inks) = ***
Kirby story pencils 77 pages / Smith inks (10 pages),
John Romita, Herb Trimpe remaining inks = ****
Kirby inside back cover pencils (Frank Giacoia inks) = ***
pencils (Frank Giacoia inks) 3 pin-up pages = **
Kirby back cover
pencils (Frank Giacoia inks) = ****

Jack Kirby / Barry Windsor Smith
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  1. You are so right about the Kirby/Smith collaboration. Smith lent Kirby's art a lush realism without taking away from the penciler's dynamism.

  2. Herb Trimpe and John Romita also did an admirable job inking, but Smith's contribution was just so much more impactful. The change from page 10 to 11 was jarring for me when I first purchased it, and probably for many other fans as well. Another combination I would have liked to see more of was Kirby inked by Neal Adams. They collaborated on some Jimmy Olsen covers in the early 1970s and a Destroyer Duck cover in the early 1980s. You would think their contrasting styles would clash, but the end results were quite beautiful.