Let's Rap about Cap pt. 2: Steranko



Although Jim Steranko only illustrated three issues of Captain America, talk to any Cap fan of a certain age and he's usually listed right after Kirby as one of the title's seminal artists. 

I say "of a certain age," but maybe that should read "of a certain type." I mean, I wasn't even alive when Steranko worked on Cap. But I'm the type - and I don't mean this in a superior way, only that comics fans come in all types - to go back and learn as much as I can, sometimes obsessively, about any character/ franchise I admire, so that led me to Steranko pretty fast. If there's a Mount Rushmore of Cap artists, Steranko's on there. And he only did three issues! Amazing.

Outside of Cap, Steranko illustrated tons of stuff. He's also the real-life inspiration for Kirby's Mister Miracle character, ostensibly because of his expertise as an escape artist but I prefer the explanation that he is really from New Genesis. The man's a legend. (Check out these paperback covers - I didn't realize I needed to own all of these until I clicked over. Now: new life mission.) 

And although he's only a year or two shy of his 80th birthday, he's still actively working in the field, and maintains a lively and voluminous twitter profile.

Myself, I like some of Steranko's straight-up superhero stuff a little less than some, but his design work and flair for visual storytelling is just incredible. The uninitiated should pick up the Marvel Visionaries: Steranko TPB, which features the three Cap issues he did, an X-Men tale, an issue of Our Love Story (the subject of this nice write-up, which also provided some of the Steranko-hand-colored 'caps below), and some of his memorable Marvel covers. You have to get a separate TPB for his Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. classics, but those for my money are his best work at Marvel.

The perfect overview of Jim Steranko's three issues of Cap has already been written, and you can find that right here. I apologize for the lack of personalized overview and patented Dog Star analysis, but why reinvent the wheel? John DiBello already done invented it, and chapeau to you, sir. What I decided to do was just harvest my favorite screencaps from Cap 110, 111, and 113 and call it a day. Please enjoy responsibly. 

Absolutely one of my favorite titles ever. I quote it all the time (and usually add a confused "Wait... let me try that again" and picture the studio audience laughing. Oh! It's a laugh a minute in the Dog Star bullpen.)
"Bucky is Dead! DEAD! DEAD!"
Madame Hydra aka The Viper.
"Never again will he mock my power vest!"

"Write visually or die!"
― Jim Steranko, Visual Storytelling: The Art and Technique

NEXT: What If...?
(An Election 2016 Special! Sort of.)


  1. (1) I forgot to salute "Let's Rap About Cap." That one is a winner.

    (2) I know Steranko by name as one of the titans of the field, but I have to confess that I'm not familiar with his actual work. Someday; someday.

    (3) The "Watchmen" vibe is strong in a few of those panels. Something tells me Gibbons was a fan.

    (4) That "Bucky is DEAD" panel is effed. In the best possible way.

    (5) Madame Hydra has received an endorsement from this commenter, who finds her to be delightful.

    (6) "Never again will he mock my POWER VEST!" -- We all know THAT shit ain't true...

    Yep, Steranko appears to be top-notch. He's on my list!

    1. Glad you enjoyed!

      Yeah, Madame Hydra is great. That's a cooler name than the Viper, too. Ditto for Agent Thirteen / Sharon Carter.

    2. Definitely. If you've got the opportunity to have a badass moniker instead of a name, TAKE IT.