Comicscape: What ever happened to Captain America: White? -

Comicscape: What ever happened to Captain America: White?

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Comicscape: What ever happened to Captain America: White?


By Joel Rickenbach     July 04, 2012

 Four years and seven days ago our fathers Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale brought forth on this continent, a new book called Captain America: White, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Except for Captain America, who is technically greater than, but is kind enough to pretend. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war between the and the X-Men, testing whether that fans, or any fans so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure waiting for a book to finally be published. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those abandoned comics who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, as we the comic fans have all but given up on the hope that Captain America: White will ever see the light of day.


Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are literally the dynamic duo of comics. Their projects are easily some of the best comic work put forth in the last 15 or so years. They have a knack for inserting a new piece of history into a character’s fabric that ends up defining them for the modern era. It’s almost like they are the antidote for decades of messed up continuity. You could read 30 years of Daredevil, or you can just pick up Loeb and Sale’s Daredevil: Yellow and get everything you need in 6 issues.  Loeb and Sale made their mark with Superman for All Seasons, and planted a flag in the soil of comics with Batman: The Long Halloween, which I personally consider the greatest Batman story ever told. Yes, and that includes Year One, The Dark Knight Returns and Batman VS The Rainbow Creature. It’s the marriage of their story and art that creates something that feels so vital, so important, that you get the sense you are reading an elevated form of the medium. I honestly can’t tell you who is more important the story- Loeb or Sale- they are each the side of a rare coin.  After The Long Halloween the cat was out of the bag- Get Loeb and Sale to tackle one of your characters and you will have struck creative and sales gold. They produced a sequel to The Long Halloween- Dark Victory, which doesn’t get the same respect as The Long Halloween, but is every bit as good, before jumping companies and getting carte blanche from Marvel to do whatever they wanted. They came up with the idea of matching a Marvel character with a color that would define them, which was, in a word- Brilliant. The imaginations of fans ran rampant thinking up character and color matches, and wondering what characters would get the Loeb/Sale treatment. First out of the gate was Daredevil: Yellow, then Spider-Man: Blue and Hulk: Grey. Fans would have been happy to eat this stuff up forever, myself included. Unfortunately the color train stopped at three, and Loeb and Sale trained their talents on the Batman universe once again with Catwoman: When In Rome.  Even though the Catwoman book was yet another fantastic feather in the Loeb/Sale cap, fans were a bit bummed that there wasn’t an assembly line of color-coded Marvel books waiting in the wings- Iron Man: Gold, Punisher: Black, Dazzler: Fuchsia… C’mon guys, we’re addicted to colors, and we need our fix! Just when we thought all was lost our dealer shows up with a fresh supply in the form of Captain America: White.




How perfect. Captain America is one of the most important Marvel characters, yet is very misunderstood, and doesn’t have the prominent character-defining arcs like many other super heroes. He is essentially propaganda made flesh and somewhat out of sync with today’s world, literally and figuratively. I couldn’t think of a Marvel character more ripe for the Loeb/Sale treatment. Who knew Loeb and Sale, conquerors of comics’ mightiest characters, would meet their match with the star spangled Avenger. The project was announced, then it quickly disappeared. Fans waited and waited until slowly art started to trickle out. Finally, an announcement- there would be an issue #0, and it would be out in time for the 4th of July, 2008. If I remember correctly they missed it by a week, but still, close enough, right? Not for everyone- the issue was full price at $2.99, but only contained 16 pages of story and art, the rest was filled with an extended interview with Loeb and Sale. Even four years ago people agreed this should have been some sort of on-line preview instead of gouging fans for a full priced comic. It was OK though, the short story was great, Loeb and Sale were worth it, and we had a glorious six-issue series on the horizon…



Or not. Four years later and we’re still waiting on that first issue. The reasons for the delay aren’t even important anymore, we just want the damn comic. They still say it will be finished and released, but I’ll believe it when I see that gorgeous Tim Sale rendering of Cap is sitting on the shelf. How cool would it have been if White hit shelves last summer when the Captain America movie was in theaters? Or even this summer for The Avengers? I know some of this sounds like a needy fan wanting his funny book, but let me suggest that it works both ways- Loeb and Sale need each other. Tim Sale’s art will always be amazing, but it’s never so important and weighty as it is defining Loeb’s story, and Jeph Loeb’s stories suffer when not interpreted by a master like Sale. They’re the peanut butter and jelly of comics, and it’s time to start making some sandwiches. We’re all still hungry, and I hear they’re working on a sequel to the Captain America film…

I be remiss if I didn’t mention this- I said earlier that Cap doesn’t have as many touchstone story arcs as other characters, and it’s true, but a funny thing has happened during the long gestation period of Captain America: White- Cap finally got his character defining run. Ed Brubaker has been writing Cap since 2005, and has crafted a character who is now as vital and important as the stories told by Loeb and Sale. From the brilliant Winter Soldier idea to making the WWII era stories relevant and riveting, Brubaker has brought Captain America to the modern day by defining his past, which is exactly what Captain America: White was supposed to do.

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Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.


Showing items 1 - 10 of 15
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spiderhero 7/4/2012 5:31:42 AM

I was wondering about this book a few months ago. Almost asked my local shop if there was any news. Now I know there isn't. Oh well.

jedibanner 7/4/2012 5:37:11 AM

I think the reason why it's still not out yet ARE important...tell us! tell uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!!

joelr 7/4/2012 10:56:52 AM

Happy 4th, Maniacs!

joelr 7/4/2012 10:57:59 AM

@jedibanner The official line is they got behind and then Tim Sale got too busy. Not sure I buy that though...

jedibanner 7/4/2012 11:38:42 AM

thanks Joe...I wouldn't expect to be any fights or arguments between these 2 creators but is taking a while.

shac2846 7/4/2012 11:40:58 AM

 Going to check out that Batman Earth One. Hey Joel how about doing an article on Sweet Tooth in the future since it will be ending at 40? I have waited on buying trades, figured they'll put out some nice hardcovers when it's finished. We'll see. 

hanso 7/4/2012 12:18:33 PM

 I just bought Spider-Man: Blue.

Clownican 7/4/2012 4:52:15 PM

Ohh yeah Worlds Finest & Earth 2 for me this week baby!

heath0920 7/5/2012 2:56:46 AM

 Those creator project announcements happen waaayyy too often in DC and Marvel. Loeb and J Scott Campbell were supposed to have a Spider Man project that was announced something like 6 years ago when Campbell got an exclusive contract. But all I've seen from him is cover art and the occasional couple pages of a special sized issue. Brian Singer was supposed to write Ultimate X Men for a year coming off the success of X Men 2. What happened there? All Star Batman and Robin? All Star Wonder Woman which got announced and may NEVER see the light of day?

And Daredevil Target, probably the grand daddy of announced projects. Tha one at least has a first issue but it's never gonna be finished. They want publicity and a big splash at these Cons but I often wish they would hold off the announcements until something's in the can!

jedibanner 7/5/2012 5:43:12 AM

Yeah, that Daredevil Target from Kevin Smith will never see the light of day. Smith had said in the last prints issue of the magazine Wizard that he got so busy that things were put aside and by the time he was almost ready to come back it was already 3-4 years after and then his original story wouldn't really hold so, it was just pushed aside.

The only issue that came out started with the 9-11 event would be a bit out of date to continue in that storyline when things are so different now. The impact wouldn't be the same as when it happened.

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