Holy Comic Strips, Cap!

I love Captain America.

Long time readers know this to be true, but it bears repeating- there's no character in comics I like as much as I like Captain America, Steve or Bucky. Imagine my joy, then, in finding out that there was not one new Captain America comic this week, but indeed two! And that second one, far from being a poorly written one-shot or needless mini-series was something... well, a little different.

Karl Kesel's Captain America: The 1940's Newspaper Strip#1 is certainly fun (it's a collection of a faux in-period daily strips that Kesel did for Marvel Digital Comics unlimited) and it's pretty funny, too. Kesel's artwork is expressive and cartoon-y and, even if his writing sometimes falls flat, his characterization is pretty good. All the characters sound and feel appropriately cheesy and there were just enough interesting twists and turns to keep me engaged.

Mostly, I'm interested in two things, here- can this concept (which is serviceable, if not precisely mind blowing) sustain itself without getting obnoxious, first of all, and, secondly, how can comics fans use this book to their advantage?

That's sort of an odd question, I know, but consider this- Peanuts and Captain America are, essentially, the same medium- they're in different formats and run in different mediums, for sure, but they work on the same principles, much like the difference between a novel and a prose serial. Tell someone you like COMICS, though, and I imagine they're more likely to think of the latter rather than the former, as if the two are completely different. I don't know why this is, although I certainly have my suspicions, but books like this are important (even if they're just fun comics, rather than good comics) because they have the opportunity to bridge that gap and, in so doing, close the difference between a comics fan's understanding of the medium and everybody else's.

That Kesel is using the "strip" here is fascinating and, although sometimes it works better than others, I hope to see more like it, or even an anthology of strips like this that comes out once a month, just for something a little different. There's a lot of potential for fun comics here, and there's no need for something like this to be high art: it's great just the way it is.

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