I've got this Captain America novel.
Ted White is a sort of a friend of mine and when I asked him about his book he directed me to something he'd already written about it.
--- In Timely-Atlas-Comics@yahoogroups.com,
Ted White wrote:
"It's an oft-told story, but
probably more appropriate to this list than
It starts with Otto
Binder. Binder wanted to write for Marvel (in the
mid-'60s) and Stan refused
to let him, feeling (rightfully) that Otto
did not "get" and could not write
in the current Marvel style. So Otto
made an end-run, going over Stan's head
to Martin Goodman and to Bantam
Books. He talked Bantam into doing
Marvel-character novels (this was
when Batman was coming on TV and there was
a big (but shallow) public
interest in comics.
At this same time I had
wanted to do a Batman novel, and my agent had
talked Bantam into it -- until
they discovered Signet Books had first
refusal on all books originating from
DC Comics characters (Signet was
then distributed by IND). I'd primed the
pump, but Otto brought them
Marvel, and contracted to write an Avengers book.
(Goodman would not
license the biggest characters, Spider-Man and Fantastic
When Stan found out, he was infuriated. He knew Binder was wrong
the project, and he told Bantam they should get me to do the
book, on Captain America. I'd met Stan a year or two earlier, when
were both guests on a late-night radio show, and we'd gotten along
well. He asked me to write for Marvel, but I had no confidence
myself as a comics writer; I was a writer of prose fiction (and a
critic and a journalist).
Stan knew I "got" Marvel, so when he
recommended me to Bantam, and
Bantam already knew who I was (from the Batman
proposal) all it took was
a half-hour conversation with the Bantam editor
(mostly, as it turned
out, about Ross Macdonald, whom we both liked a lot and
published) and a handshake and I had the contract. My agent
negotiated a clause giving me "royalties" if/when the book
certain sales milestones, even though I could not own the property;
was essentially Work For Hire.
I originally wanted to redo the plot
of my Batman book as the Captain
America book, but when I discussed it with
Stan, he talked me out of
it. So I hatched a brand new plot, involving the
robbery of the Federal
Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, which at that time
had more gold stocks
than Fort Knox.
My influences were Ian Flemming
(James Bond) and Lester Dent (Doc
Savage) -- which is why I put Monk from Doc
Savage in the opening
chapters of the book (and ended up offending some Doc
*sigh*). I felt it should be a fast-moving pulp-adventure story.
a lot of fun writing it. One Sunday I drove to lower Manhattan
walked the area around the Federal Reserve Bank to get the feel of
When I got home I wrote the first two chapters immediately
copy). I finished the book in less than two weeks, and it
wrote itself. (I loved the unmasking scene; I'd wanted to see a
like that for years.)
I turned in copies of the manuscript to
both Bantam and Stan. Stan
couldn't bring himself to read it and gave it to
Roy Thomas to vet. (I
don't think Stan *ever* read it.) Roy was a friend of
mine and he liked
it and even incorporated elements of it (the description of
HQ) into that year's AVENGERS ANNUAL.
I wrote it in the
fall of 1966 for publication in early 1967. January,
1967, Bantam brought out
Binder's Avengers book. It was *awful*. It
opened with a chapter which
described the Avengers' *costumes* in
tedious detail, without the glimmerings
of a *story*. There was no
"hook" to pull the readers in. There was instead
an opening guaranteed
to repel anyone who read it. The book stiffed,
So Bantam sat on my book for a year, publishing it in the
late spring of
1968. By then the boomlet of interest in such books had peaked
declined. It never sold more than its first printing (maybe
copies), although I think it did sell that printing out eventually.
never received any additional royalties.
I think Marvel owns the
book and it *could* be republished any time they
wished to. But I know that
when all those Marvel novelizations were
coming out in the late '70s and
early '80s, Marv Wolfman (who was in
charge of that project) refused to use
it. People have told me that was
because my book was much better than those
Wolfman produced, but I never
read them, so I can't say that. I can say that
Marv butchered another
book of mine (DOC PHOENIX: THE OZ ENCOUNTER) and that
my opinion of him
is not high.
Hope that answers your
THE GREAT GOLD STEAL was published by Bantam books. This was the same publisher that was putting out the Doc Savage books, it was similar to the Doc Savage books, and even featured Monk Mayfair as one of the charachters in the story. He got killed during the course
of the story, but I don't supposed that mattered very much as Monk continued to
appear in other adventures afterwords.
I think this is one of the better Captain America stories I have read, although it changed a few details, such as Captain America's having metal bones. The Red Skull is still a communist in this story, like in the 1950's comics, although later stories would have it that the Red Skull had never been a communist and that the 1950's version was an impostor. But I never paid much attention to that business anyway.
And here's the Captain America book that came out in the 1970's. I didn't think it was as good as the other book, myself.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE GREAT GOLD STEAL At "Now Read This":
At "Young Trek":
Sentinel Of Liberty ( Captain America Site ):
THE GREAT GOLD STEAL was a Captain America novel by Ted White that was published
Ted White At Wikipedia: