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Friday, December 31, 2004

1st Issue Special #6 - Dingbats of Danger Street

What better way to end a year?

Definitely the oddest piece to come out of Kirby's five year stay at DC in the 1970s (at least among the published works) is his try at an updated kid gang, the Dingbats of Danger Street. This is strange by Kirby standards, and this is a guy who created a flying cosmic surfer.

The Dingbats are Good Looks, Krunch, Non-Fat and Bananas, as they announce to us on the first page. Orphans all, who have formed their own gang to get by on Danger Street. In their debut adventure, the unintentionally help cop Terry Mullins capture the villain Jumping Jack, and in the process Non-Fat almost chokes on the film strip canister Jack was smuggling and hid in his hot dog. And then Jack's partner the Gasser shows up, and things get really kooky.

It all has an odd charm, but I think it does deserve most of the mockery that's been heaped on it over the years. I did find Lt. Mullins kind of interesting, and wonder if he'd have become a gruffer version of Jim Harper to the Dingbats with time.

Mike Royer inks on this one, so that always looks nice.

The job codes (as documented in the JACK KIRBY CHECKLIST) suggest that Kirby drew the first issue shortly after MISTER MIRACLE and THE DEMON were cancelled, while he was also working on the middle issues of KAMANDI and the early issues of OMAC, and he drew at least three issues in a few months (some have suggested even more exist, but I don't think pages have ever turned up). For some reason DC didn't rush it into print, and only published the first issue as one of the "1st Issue Special" one-shots some time later. About half the pages from the other two issues have seen print in the various fanzines, mostly THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR, and are actually even more fun than the first, if you can judge based on such a random sampling of pages scattered across a half-dozen books. The second issue had a great two-page spread. I'm sure someday soon we'll see a deluxe hardcover collecting all three issues.

Since I know you'll want more, you can read the Scott Shaw! take on this issue here.

Published September 1975.

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