July 1980 - March 1981
Reprinted in “War and Remembrance” Trade Paperback.
Writers: Roger Stern (script/co-plot) and John Byrne (co-plot)
Artists: John Byrne (pencils) and Joe Rubinstein (inks)
In March 1964, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revived the living legend of Captain
"That grew out of a story idea that John had originally floated when he was drawing Avengers, We never got around to using it there, and I think it really worked better as a Cap story. There was a lot of neat stuff in the old Invaders series. John and I were both big Frank Robbins fans."
The final issue of this run is a nice end piece that retells Cap’s origin and his first run-in with Nazi forces within
That gets a little complicated. Marvel was starting to crack the whip on deadlines, and all the editors were under pressure to get their books on time. I’d had some stomach trouble midway through our run on Cap, and John was about to get married, and Jim Salicrup was understandably worried that we would fall further behind. I thought we could pull ahead in just a matter of weeks – my digestion was already back to normal, and I knew that John’s work ethic was as strong as mine – and to prove it, I sat down and plotted the next three issues straight through. Jim was still uneasy about the deadlines, and so he decided to schedule a fill-in by another writer. I pointed out that we already had a fill-in underway; Frank Miller was drawing a stand-alone Cap story that I was going to script. (It eventually saw print in Marvel Fanfare.)"By the Dawn’s Early Light!" featured in Captain
#247 by Stern, John Byrne, and Joe Rubinstein. The first issue with Rog and his collaborators in their short-lived classic Captain America run. In those days before royalties, Marvel had what was called a "continuity bonus." If you wrote or drew six consecutive issues, you got a bonus. And so on for the next six, and the next. A fill-in before issue #258 would set all of our bonuses back. AmericaBut beyond that, I was worried about losing sales momentum on the series. We’d been working hard to build up the readership, and I knew from my days as an editor that fill-ins usually cost you readers. Back during those early days of the Direct Market, when the greatest percentage of sales still came from the newsstand, it was a given that sales would dip after each fill-in. It could take a book’s regular creative team as much as three issues to get the readership back up to the pre-fill-in level.Well, I couldn’t persuade Jim not to schedule a fill-in. And, looking back, if I had been in his shoes, I might have done the same thing. But I wasn’t in his shoes. I was the freelancer, and I didn’t like the way we were being treated. I’d worked with Jim a long time and I really didn’t want to come to loggerheads with him. So, I took back all three plots, tore up the vouchers, and stepped away from the book. I figured, better to leave Cap on an up note with the 40th anniversary issue.
And about the storyline that would have been after #255:
“That was going to be our Red Skull trilogy. After we left Cap, I toyed with the idea of turning the story into a graphic novel. But later writers did some things with the Skull that would have invalidated the story. A couple of years ago, there was some talk of having John and me revisit the story as a special project – sort of "What if Roger and John hadn’t left Captain
?" But then John started having major creative differences with Marvel. I guess the story will have to remain "The One that Got Away." For now, at least. I never say never.” America