Thursday, 6 July 2017

Captain America: The Coming Of... The Man-Brute!

In this era of endlessly spun-out, end endlessly dull, sagas designed for the trade collection, here's a one-off issue of Cap that'll make you appreciate even more the skill involved in doing a single issue story.
Apart from a brief retelling of the origin ( and even that has a purpose ), there is literally no fat on Stan's script here, it all functions like clockwork and everything comes together at the end perfectly. With Gene Colan & Joe Sinnott as well, this really is a masterclass in how to do it.
Please don't tell me The Man-Brute ever came back and ruined this one.


  1. For some reason there was a about a year there where each Cap issue had a contained-in-one story....wonder whether Stan had other things on his plate and figured it was easier to knock 'em out as single issue stories than the usual continuing saga...?

    (But now that I think of it, I seem to recall that Marvel decided to can continued stories for a while about then, and every title had self-contained stories...perhaps they thought it was easier for any new readers, instead of plunging them into the middle or end of an ongoing plotline)

    Interesting too that although Gene Colan was the one penciller during that period, there were quite a few different inkers to hand...Sinnott, Ayers, Giacoia, Palmer, Everett...even Wally Wood in one issue! It was a handy exercise in seeing how different each inker could make the same pencils look in the end.

  2. I've not read these stories in ages. Is the mad scientist in this story the same one who turned himself into a talking gorilla in a later story?

  3. Not sure, but it's probably a safe bet. I thought he might've been the one who created Man-Bull as well, but there were so many resentful mad scientists back then!

    And I think you're right, B, this was that brief 'let's not do any continued stories for a while' period. THAT didn't last long.

  4. Your daily trivia: This is the comic that policeman John Schuck is seen reading in the movie BREWSTER McCLOUD.

  5. Funnily enough, I just read this story in the new Captain America Epic Collection which I got a couple of days ago. Although each issue's main tale in this collection are mainly 'one-off' stories, there's a sub-plot with Sharon Carter running through many of them which gives each issue a 'continued' feel.

  6. Colan's run on Captain America always seemed a little unsung, which is astonishing considering the contribution he made to the book. Yet it's a rare day when I hear him mentioned among other memorable Cap artists. He may not have been considered the best "fit" for the character, for whatever reason, though to be honest I felt that way about his work on Sub-Mariner stories more than with Cap. Colan's style of course is very different from the likes of Romita, Buscema, and Kirby, all of whom made their mark on the character; but I nevertheless enjoyed his interpretation of Cap, and if he'd never been tapped to draw him I would have always been very curious as to what the result might have been.

    Our friend the Man-Brute indeed returned, and with a new name, though his return was (literally) short-lived.

  7. Colan did so much at Marvel in his heyday that its inevitable his Cap run will be less remembered than his better work on Dr. Strange, Dracula and Daredevil.

    I wonder if in part thats down to Sinnott's inks..? Its always going to be an interesting combination to see of course, but that smooth line isn't as good a fit for Colan as it is, say, Kirby or Buscema.
    (Thats not to dispute what a brilliant inker Sinnott was. And no doubt still is.)


  8. "Is the mad scientist in this story the same one who turned himself into a talking gorilla in a later story?"

    No, that was Dr Erik Gorbo (with a name like that, how could he turn out to be anything but an evil scientist?) from #136-136.

    Why I can remember that, and yet couldn't recall what I had for dinner any day last week is something I suspect we all have to a small extent.

    And SHIELD, for all their supposedly exacting standards, were certainly lackadaisical when it came to their research scientists...there was also one of their own in #127 who had treachery on his mind also; you'd think the entry exam for SHIELD membership might be a little stricter.

  9. Thanks for the answer, B. I always get my mad scientists mixed up.


  10. One of the comics that when I bought it (if I recall correctly about a year after its US release in 1971) it confirmed me as a life-long comic fan. A great wee story with amazing art – 1970 - 75 were great years for good quality exciting and fun comics. I miss stories like this one.

  11. Great post. I love those covers. Thanks for sharing