MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 4 (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Captain America Comics Nos. 13-16 (cover dates April- July, 1942)
Captain America rocks! I love these Golden Age comics, where Cap fights the Nazis, the Japs, and the Red Skull. I love the absolute good and evil, the absolute heroism, and the absolute belief that America was in the right. Al Avison takes over the artwork because Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had left Timely (Marvel) for National (DC) to do the revamped Sandman. There were many hands involved in the artwork, i.e. inking, and I suspect that many of the people that assisted Simon & Kirby assisted Avision, because there is a definite continuity in the appearance and layout of the strip. A very young Stan Lee turns in a script in Issue 16 where Cap fights the Red Skull, and it's great.
The Secret Stamp was a regular back-up feature in this title. He was a little boy who sold newspapers and war stamps and fought fifth columnists, etc. It's one of those slices of Americana that would never fly today. The Imp (created by a very young Stan Lee) is a godawful "kiddie" strip featuring a highly annoying, rhyming creature. I couldn't even bear to read it after it's first appearance. Once was enough. I tried reading it, but it just sucked so bad that I had to skip it. Fortunately, the goodness of the Captain America and Secret Stamp features far outweigh the suckiness of the Imp.