Team America #1

team_america_vol_1_1Man, you will pick up some random stuff when it’s the end of your time at a comics show and you’re elbow deep in a fifty cent bin.  I mean, that has to be the only reason I own this particular book, because I can’t imagine why I would have picked it up.  It came out in June 1982 and lasted all of twelve issues, and from what I can discern is more of a random curiosity than anything at this point.

So the concept for this was basically that a group of motorcycle stuntmen and racers wind up becoming heroes who take on Hydra, kind of if you had a team of Evel Kneivels who were on the right side of justice.  To be fair, that’s the premise of the toy line upon which it was based–a quick Google shows that Kneivel was incarcerated for battery in the late 1970s, so the motorcycle toy line with his name on it was re-branded as “Team America.”  Why it took until 1982 to create a comic book, especially since Kneivel had kind of run his course by then is beyond me, though.

The book is written by Jim Shooter with art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta.  Vosburg had a very solid career with G.I. Joe, Savage She-Hulk, and a few other Marvel titles as well as work with DC, Valiant, and other independent companies; Colletta had a long career but is infamous for his tendency to delete backgrounds in the interest of inking quickly.  That suggests that this was a book that might have been “needed” to be done, especially since Shooter wrote it before handing it over to Bill Mantlo.  And the whole structure of it is clearly aimed at boys who liked playing with toy cars.  The story is about some guy named the Marauder stealing secrets for Hydra and then Team America stops them.

I know that’s kind of a crappy synopsis, but this read like a Saturday morning cartoon that I might have paid a little bit of attention to when I was five but ultimately forgot.  The art is adequate, using a very tight panel structure with few splash pages, and showcasing “the goods”–i.e., the toys–but not in the way that both G.I. Joe and The Transformers would have me waiting for the next issue.  In fact, this kind of reminds me of DC’s 1970s Hot Wheels comic (which I covered during my 80 Years of DC Comics podcast miniseries), but at least that book had art by Alex Toth.

I don’t think I wasted my fifty cents here, and this is innocuous enough that if I were to hand it to a little kid, they would at least be entertained by the pictures for a few minutes.  Overall, though, I can see why this series lasted for twelve issues (and even that’s surprising).

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?


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