So, I’ve been reading through THE ESSENTIAL CAPTAIN AMERICA VOLUME 4, most of which is drawn by Sal Buscema, Marvel’s primary workhorse in the seventies. Sal looks pretty good in here when inked by Frank McLaughlin, and looks predictably terrible when inked by Vinnie Colletta. But there’s a fill-in issue drawn by Alan Weiss, and it seems pretty obvious that Weiss was drawing issue 164 at the same time Sal was working on issue 165. I thought I’d share this, just because it points to how dedicated Marvel was to getting books out on a monthly basis back in the day, even if it made for some rather strange continuity from issue-to-issue.
Because I love the sheer insanity of the plot, I’m gonna recap it here: In CAPTAIN AMERICA (AND THE FALCON) #164, Falc is turned into a werewolf by teenage street hustler/scientific genius Nightshade, who’s actually working for the Yellow Claw in a castle turned prison that sits on a hill somewhere in New York (got that?).
After Nightshade jumps off a cliff with her prisoners-turned-werewolves, WereFalcon tries to follow.
Cap battles Falcon, who returns to his human form, albeit virtually naked.
Somewhere along the way, Nick Fury shows up wearing a barbarian vest borrowed from Sonny Bono, and leads some SHIELD agents out of a helicopter in search of the Yellow Claw.
So we end the issue with a naked Falcon, a fur-lined Nick Fury, and Nick Fury eager to tell Cap what the Yellow Claw’s up to.
The next issue seems designed to erase the previous issue’s weirdness out of readers’ brains, as CAPTAIN AMERICA (AND THE FALCON) #165 begins with Fury in his traditional blue SHIELD battlesuit, screaming at Cap to butt out of the situation, and the Falcon lying on the ground wearing his mask and much of his costume. There’s not even a search for the half-naked black chick or her legion of dead werewolves lying somewhere below the castle/prison. Just lots of angst and anger and exclamation points(!!), as we expect from seventies Marvel books.
I’m left to assume that CAP 164 was built around a script Steve Englehart had lying around, with some loosely in continuity stuff tossed in to keep it relevant. Nightshade debuts and dies here (although she would be back), and the Yellow Claw makes a cursory appearance (although Alan Weiss drew a pretty cool Claw). I just have to wonder how under the gun they were not to nudge Weiss into knocking Nick Fury out of his fuzzy vest. I’m glad they didn’t.