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#32 -- The Red Skull
Marvel Super Action #2

Captain America #101
Stamp #32 wins the prize for either "most altered from the original artwork" or "most confusing situation." First, compare Jack Kirby's artwork on Captain America #101 with the stamp. Clearly, there's numerous differences, but the rather distinctive shadow in the middle of the Skull's head, as well as the tilt of the shoulders and the lines around the shirt neck seem to match.

But now compare the stamp to the cover of Marvel Super Action #2. (The interior reprints Captain America #101.) The eye, brow, teeth, lower jaw, and some of the shading on the head (including that distinctive shadow) make it seem like this version was the one used, right? The problem is that this issue was printed in July 1977, about 3 years after the stamps were created.

We received an email from a site visitor, Big Tony, who had a good theory on this. Big Tony wrote, "The original Captain America cover looks to me like one of those all too frequent cases of Kirby's art being altered before it went to press. I imagine in this case it may have been because the Red Skull's face was too scary to pass the comics code at that time. In the early 60's, they were still cracking down on horror images and they may have felt the need to tone it down a bit. Then, by the time they reprinted the issue in the 70's, the code had loosened up quite a bit and they decided to run the unaltered (and far superior IMHO) cover. That's my theory anyway."

A number of visitors to the site have also mentioned that the unretouched cover is the one that appears in a recent Captain America "Essentials" trade paperback, and that seems to support Big Tony's theory.

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