A follow-up to The Avengers Battle the Earth Wrecker, which was the first novel based on a Marvel comic, Captain America: The Great Gold Steal was published by Bantam Books in July 1968. Clunky title aside, it’s actually a rather good adventure. It’s better written than the Avengers novel, but the plot’s a little more down-to-earth and as a result it’s perhaps not quite as much fun.
That’s an interesting cover… I would have loved it as a kid, because actual paintings of superheroes were very rare and thus fascinating. The artist is uncredited, but I’m pretty certain that it was Peter Caras, a prolific cover-artist of considerable renown. It’s definitely more realistic than the painting on the cover of the Avengers novel. It does look like the model for Cap is somewhat straining to hold in his stomach — maybe he thought that the vertical stripes weren’t quite slimming enough.
Ted White was a good choice to write this: he was an established and popular science fiction writer (he’d already written a Lost in Space tie-in novel), and he was a fan, too, which is even more important. The novel does take a few liberties with Cap’s background, but that’s forgivable given that only a few years earlier Marvel revived Cap from his twenty-year stint in suspended animation following WWII… completely ignoring his appearances as “Captain America, Commie Smasher!” in the 1950s.
The only real sticking point for me is the dedication…
Um… Excuse me? What about Joe Simon, who co-created Captain America with Jack Kirby? Not a mention of him anywhere, not even in Stan’s introduction, which also doesn’t mention Kirby, for that matter. Annoying, that.
If you’re a fan or a dedicated collector of Captain Amemorabilia (an awesome new word that I just invented this very second!) it’s worth tracking down a copy. You’ll probably have to pay a small fortune if you want one in pristine condition, but if you’re not pushed about that, shop around on Ebay and you should get a copy for less than ten dollars.