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Top Five Mike Zeck Captain America Covers

Besides G.I. Joe, the most famous cover work that Mike Zeck did was on Captain America at two different points. Once when he was the regular artist with J.M. DeMatteis, and later on in the 80s when he just did covers during Mark Gruenwald’s run.

Here are the top five covers from that time period!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

A nice use of contrasting colors.

Incredibly dynamic cover.

A classic shot of mortal enemies.

5.

A very interesting visual approach.

4.

A classic action shot – a really appealing image for a cover – very colorful, too.

3.

Such a bizarre mix of character and theme that it really draws in your eye.

2.

Talk about a dynamic cover image!

How can you see that cover and NOT want to look inside?

1.

SOOO tough, but this cover was one of the most famous images of the 1980s, so I think it has to take the top spot.

Well, that’s my top five! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

27 Comments

Well #1 was the first one that came to mind for me, so it’s probably warranted. You know, I don’t think I ever HAVE read that issue.

#275 is one of those covers that did its job on me as a kid, prompting me to buy an issue about a character I’d never particularly cared about before, and buying several hundred issues of *after* that.

“How can you see that cover and NOT want to look inside?”

being born in a country other than america helps but these are lovely covers regardless..

[waits for ‘I’m from X and I read those comics as a lad’ comments]

Matt D. Me too…when I saw the title, I was preparing to unleash the hounds on Brian for skipping it, but then there it was!

I did read the issue, and it was, iirc, pretty disappointing after the build up (at the time, it was a MAJOR thing…who’d win, Wolverine’s unbreakable claws or Caps unbreakable shield!!!!)…it wound up as a very standard, fight then team up story.

Bernard the Poet

December 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

Madness. Where’s the Assistant Editors’ Month cover with Bernie America and Mo-Skull?

300 was one of my favorite Cap story arcs.

I’ve always loved teh cover to #272. Just so different to the usual run-of-the-mill covers of the time.

I wish it had been mine, but mty brother was collecting Cap at the time, not me… (we were trying to save money even in those days, by sharing and not doubling up…)

Zeck does these fun commissions where he shifts other characters into his classic covers, if I remember right.

Tom from West Chester

December 5, 2008 at 11:32 am

Is the Red Skull wearing a bath robe on the cover to Cap #300? Awesome.

Captain America #332 was the first issue of Cap I ever bought. I remember I saw it on the grocery store spinner rack. Being the “foreign kid” in the United States, I didn’t have a strong connection to Captain America, but I was struck by the cover image. In the issue, Cap gives up the title, which is later passed on to Super Patriot (now US Agent.) I even bought a couple issues after that, but eventually moved on to other titles.
It is still a great cover.

321 is one of my favorite covers of all time.

That Cap vs. Wolverine issue was one of the earlies comics I remember buying. I have no idea what actually happened inside, but that cover is a classic. Zeck was fantastic at conveying action, story, and excitement.

I had a poster of # 1 on my bedroom in the 80’s… I loved that cover!

#321 was my first issue of Cap, which I bought because of the cover, and then continued on with the series until it ended. So that’s two series that I ended up buying over 100 issues of that started with a Zeck cover. Plus GI Joe and Cap got me hooked on comics in general, so you could give Zeck partial credit for almost every comic I’ve bought. The guy deserves a bonus.

Oh, and I don’t remember what issue number it is, but there’s a Zeck Cap cover with a giant Cap clutching the regular sized Cap that I was always a fan of.

>>Madness. Where’s the Assistant Editors’ Month cover with Bernie America and Mo-Skull?

A personal favorite of mine, as it happens. I’d pretty much been away from comics for 25 years when I went by a LCS on a whim on Free Comic Book Day 4 or 5 years & came across that issue while browsing through the 25-cent-or-so boxes on tables outside the storefront. Picked it up because I liked the way the cover looked (particularly the retro Go-Go Checks, natch). Didn’t really recognize any characters inside other than Cap himself, but was intrigued enough to go looking for other back issues. A half-decade or so (& well over 50 short boxes) later, CA is the longest run I own — the final 240 ishes.

Hey Jazzbo,
Going off my faulty memory, i believe that the giant Cap holding real Cap was around #232 or so. The giant Cap was the Ameri-droid or some such.

Also, Cap #275 was the issue that i was speaking about in the G. I. Joe article. i remember when i got that issue in the mail [as i was subscribing to Cap & Avengers at that point] and thinking Zeck somehow got this printed in 3-D. Really dynamic cover!

That was the cover for Captain America #262.

About the giant Cap cover, my memory is totally off, but i can’t find it anywhere. Sorry,

What about the Deathlok cover where Captain America is in the sight for his gun? That’s one of Zeck’s most famous covers.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm

I’ve always been very fond of issue 284’s cover image of a calm Cap on a high building ledge looking down over the city. It’s a classic Batman situation, but I think Zeck gets across Cap’s very different personality.

I always thought that on the cover of #284 Cap looked sad. It’s yet another good cover.

#262. Thanks guys. I was pretty sure the giant Cap was some sort of robot, but it’s been years since I read that issue. I’ll have to see if I can dig it out.

The Captain America Annual depicted here was a pretty decent read, I think. Cap and Logan only fight for two pages, though. The villain is a mutant that can control electronics, and is trying to get rid of US nuclear arsenal because his kid is traumatized by the spectre of nuclear war (how very 1980s!). There is also a big robot originally created by the army to destroy supersoldiers like Cap if they ever went rogue, and a last page where the villain is falling, and Wolverine can either catch him or skewer him with his claws, but he does neither, just let the guy fall.

I’m glad no. 272 made the list, that’s probably my favorite Cap cover.

I second the surprise at no “Deathlok/gunsights” appearance from ish 286.

Anyway, Mike Zeck is great. My favorite Cap artist definitely.

The cover to #321 is what got me to buy it.

I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but the cover to #321 is meant ironically.

I thought it was Cap just going out and kicking butt. But the issue was meant as a pushback against the rise of superheroes-using-big-guns at the time.

Cap does use a gun on national TV in the issue, but only because he has to. In follow-up issues young kids are emulating him by playing with guns, and he’s just heart-broken.

True, Dan, but it is a bit of a “Cousin Larry trick,” as yeah, the gun use in the image WAS ironic, in terms of the story, but come on, the usage of Mike Zeck on the cover was certainly meant to be cool looking.

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