Archival Site 2004-2006 see See http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/kirby/

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Cover Gallery

More covers from throughout the years.

STAR SPANGLED COMICS #38, 1944, was from the era when Kirby was in the army, and only did covers for the DC/National books. STAR SPANGLED was still running the Newsboy Legion as the main feature, as it has been since #7, and this is a fun wartime patriotic style cover.

RAWHIDE KID #33, 1963, is the first issue Kirby did just the cover for, after introducing the new Kid in #17. Good western cover.

NOVA #5, 1977, inked by Frank Giacoia, another one of those covers done in that era for non-Kirby characters. I kind of like Nova's design, it's very compatable with the Kirby look. The "Earth-Shaker" villain seems a bit ridiculous, though. Looks like good goofy fun, I guess.


















Wednesday, September 29, 2004

--Link-- Lords of Light

Kirby did over a dozen great (but probably completely unproducable) production design prints for a planned film adaptation of the novel LORDS OF LIGHT. Take a look at them at this site.

http://www.lordoflight.com/art.html

Buried Treasure #1 - The Mad White God of Palm Island

BURIED TREASURE was a reprint anthology of various Golden Age stories prepared by Greg Theakston for Caliber Press. A few issues had some Simon&Kirby reprints.

This story was from the Hillman book REAL CLUE CRIME COMICS v2#7, 1947, and claims to be based on a true story (in fact, it's "so amazing because it's true!"). I have my doubts.



The story features an island off the coast of Australia, where the natives had chased off a white garrison and threatened the mainland. In response, one man is sent in (with his wife and a doctor) to dominate the tribe, which he's able to do until things inevitably go wrong.

As I said, I doubt the truth of most of these "true story" comics, and this particular one is more unlikely than most (and perhaps a bit politically incorrect 50+ years early). It has some great S&K action from the era, and the black and white reproduction is sharp (though some of the greyscales are a bit dark).

Published April 1990

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Who's Who #15

When DC published its first WHO'S WHO series of character profiles in the mid-1980s, they had Kirby pencil the art for most of the characters he created. That ended up being 43 entries. About two-thirds of them were inked by Greg Theakston, with the remainder inked by various others (including one with some rare DC work by Joe Sinnott). Nothing really great in them, maybe, but some nice looking stuff, and the last published versions of most of these characters that Kirby would draw.

#15 had two Kirby pieces. Metron, inked by Theakston, was a bit flat, with just Metron in his Mobius Chair as the main figure.



The other one was Mister Miracle, inked by Dick Giordano, and it's pretty good. Solid dynamic main figure, some nice backgound figures. The shot of Scott Free without the mask is very nice.

Published May 1986

Sandman #1 - The Sandman

There's probably the unrealized germ of a good idea in the 1970s revival of Sandman, which re-united Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for a one-shot issue, with Mike Royer along inking. Unfortunately, not a lot of it comes out in the final story, which is a hodge-podge of ideas thrown out without any real logic. Or maybe with a kind of dream logic, which might fit the character but doesn't really make for good reading. Anyway, it has something to do with a group of left-over Axis soldiers from WWII, one of them a Japanese general named "General Electric" who has had his brain replaced by a computer, planning to blow up Washington with some robot dolls called Werblinks, and then being foiled by a red-and-yellow dressed master of dreams who has a whistle which summons Brute and Glob... Well, you get the idea.



I don't know if the story originated with Simon, who's credited with the script, or Kirby, whose credit reads "edited and drawn by". I'm tending to think it was more Simon, since it seems more like his DC work of the era than Kirby's other books.

The art did work a lot better than the story. The Sandman design is kind of plain, but workable. The othe odd creatures are great, even "General Electric".

I'm still quite amazed that this one-shot did well enough to spawn an on-going book (with Kirby just on covers for the first few issues, then on pencils for a few after that).

Published Winter 1974

Monday, September 27, 2004

Random Covers

A few random Kirby covers from various eras.

SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #20, 1976, inked by John Romita. Kirby got tapped for two issues of this surprisingly long running book that spun off from the Electric Company TV show's Spidey segments. Both featured FF related characters (the other had the Surfer and Doom).

IN LOVE #5, 1955, published by Charlton. One of the titles taken over from Mainline and featuring left-over work from the Simon&Kirby days.

DAREDEVIL #43, 1968, inked by Joe Sinnott. I guess the Captain America guest appearance was the impetus for bringing Kirby back on DD covers for one issue several years in. Whatever the reason, that's a great action pose for the two characters. You can see why Kirby was so often employed to do covers for books he didn't draw interiors for.














Sunday, September 26, 2004

Where Monsters Dwell #36 - The Impossible Tunnel

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL was the longest running of several 1970s Marvel books which reprinted the Atlas fantasy/monster stories from the late 1950s and early 1960s. #36 includes a reprint of the Kirby/Ayers story from STRANGE TALES #97, "The Impossible Tunnel".



The story is about a man who attempts to dig a tunnel underneath the Atlantic (with the odd notion that people would be able to drive from America to Europe. Guess you'd have to build several gas stations down there as well). On the was he and his crew encounter a giant octopus and a utopian civilization, with the usual twist ending results.

This gives Kirby and Ayers a chance to show a lot of the stuff they were so good at drawing, such as the fanciful digging equipment, the giant octopus and a few details of the undersea civilization.

Published July 1975

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Comments

This generally isn't going to be a commentin' type blog (though feel free to comment and ask questions on anything and I'll try to get to it), but now that I've been doing his for two weeks I'm kind of curious who, if anyone, is reading and what you'd like to see.

War Cover Gallery

Three more war covers to fit the theme of the previous entry, all these from books with no other Kirby art.

FOXHOLE #4 - 1955. Man is that intense. I feel like I should make an Apokolips Now joke, though

BOY COMMANDOS #13 - 1945. Nothing like some patriotic propaganda. Of course, the boys would be coming home for stateside adventures soon.

SGT. FURY #25 - 1965. Last cover Kirby did for the book, though by this time he was drawing an older Nick over in STRANGE TALES


















Friday, September 24, 2004

Our Fighting Forces #155 - The Partisans

One of the most unusual books Kirby was assigned to both write and draw during his five year stint at DC in the 1970s was OUR FIGHTING FORCES, a long-running war comic which then featured The Losers, a team of four US soldiers from different branches in a sort of "special missions" group. The members were culled from previous series, Gunner and the Sarge, Johnny Cloud and Captain Storm.

Kirby did 12 issues of the book in the last year, and they're surprisingly good. He did this by pretty much treating the characters as blank slates (I'm not sure if it's ever even mentioned in Kirby's dozen issues that Storm has a wooden leg) and just telling adventure filled WWII stories, coloured by his own personal experiences (although with a lot of fanciful stuff, since the Losers could be in any theatre of operations, from anywhere in Europe to the Pacific to the homefront).



#155 is kind of an interesting story because it focuses almost purely on Sarge, with just short cameos by the other Losers. This has the effect of making it read like it could be a story about Ben Grimm during the war just as easily as anything else (maybe Dan Turpin). Like the other classic Kirby tough guys, Sarge faces injury and impossible obstacles to accomplish his mission, as part of a story about a strange group of Yugoslavian resistance fighters. This is classic Kirby.

D. Bruce Berry inks the story, as well as the cover and two pages of images of various "big gun" artillery of WWII.

Published May 1975

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Forever People #4 - The Kingdom of the Damned

This issue of THE FOREVER PEOPLE features the title characters trapped by Desaad in an amusement park that he runs, where people are tortured behind the scenes, while their suffering is disguised as amusement park features by Desaad's machines, so they get to see other people apparently observe their suffering while doing nothing. An interesting middle part to a story.

Darkseid has some interesting scenes in FOREVER PEOPLE. The highlight of this issue is his interaction with Desaad and the scene that begins in the scan below, where he walks out among the crowd, scaring children.



This issue was the first where DC increased the price and page count of their books, adding in reprints. The Kirby books all had golden age S&K reprints, with FOREVER PEOPLE getting Sandman reprints from ADVENTURE, starting with the cover and story for ADVENTURE #85 (1943), "The Unholy Dreams of Gentleman Jack". It's an amusing story about a felon who re-creates his jail after being relased, with guards under his employ and rubber bars, and attempts to imprison the Sandman.

Also in here, three Forever People related pin-ups and a Kirby self-portrait introducing the reprints, which appeared in all the Fourth World books, all inked by Colletta.

Published September 1971

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Black Magic (DC) #9 - The Woman in the Tower

In the 1970s, Joe Simon re-packaged some of the stories done by the Simon&Kirby shop in the 1950s for nine issues of BLACK MAGIC at DC. There was one or more S&K story in every issue, as well as work by Mort Meskin, Bill Draut and others.

#9 featured a reprint from STANGE WORLDS OF YOUR DREAMS #3 (1952), "The Woman in the Tower". It's a visual interpretation of what's allegedly a dream sent in by a reader, involving being trapped in a tower with screaming voices from the other cells and a cloaked figure, followed by an interpretation that this is actually a good dream. Weird. The purpose of course is to showcase the heavy atmospheric horror art that S&K did so well, with dark inks, claustrophobic layouts and the darkly evil looking figure in the robe.



Published May, 1975

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

2001: A Space Odyssey #7 - The New Seed

The idea of doing a comic continuing themes from the 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY film is even stranger than doing an adaptation of the film, but Kirby did it, and it allowed him to draw some interesting science-fiction stories (as well as eventually launching MACHINE MAN).



The 7th issue looked at the giant floating baby that closed out the movie, with another astronaut being transformed by the Monolith. Kirby imagines this "New Seed" as a cosmic explorer, going from planet to planet, observing them in various stages of evolution, finally settling to observe a scene on a dying planet and a pair of lovers struggling against a savage mob.

2001 is a pretty minor Kirby work of the era, as he generally had some interesting ideas but didn't really stick with them to develop them fully. Still, he did throw in some good images, and was well inked by Mike Royer in this issue (with Frank Giacoia inking the cover).

Published June 1977

Cover Gallery - Airboy, Two-Gun Kid, Hulk, Bombast

Four covers surrounding non-Kirby art, spread over 45 years.

AIRBOY v4#4, May 1947, Simon&Kirby - Bit odd, S&K draw the title character on this issue, while the actual stories they drew in subsequent issues didn't feature Airboy, but were Flying Fool stories. Nice cover, I like those alligators.

TWO-GUN KID #56, October 1960, inked by Dick Ayers - This is the original Two-Gun Kid, who'd be revamped in a few issues. Ayers inking on Kirby western art is always a treat.

HULK ANNUAL #5, 1976, inked by Jack Abel - Neat to see Kirby drawing a bunch of the old Atlas monsters again, even for just some small figures on a cover.

BOMBAST #1, April 1993, inker unknown - The characters for the Topps Kirbyverse comics were taken from unused character designs that Kirby had done sometime prior, so the covers were taken from those designs are are a bit bland, with just the figures rather than any story-related content. But they still work, with a nice kinetic pose on this Bombast figure and some nice bold solid linework.






















Monday, September 20, 2004

Strange Tales #136 - Find Fury or Die

Hail Hydra!

Kirby did the cover for this issue, inked by Mike Esposito, and did the layouts for the 12 page Shield story, finished by John Severin, his return to Marvel (he had previously did work at Atlas in the 1950s, including an issue of YELLOW CLAW that he inked over Kirby, and would eventually settle in to do a lot of issues of SGT FURY). Since it is just Kirby layouts, the final product does have more of a Severin look, but there are still a lot of Kirby elements.



I think what we're meant to learn in this issue is that the minions of Hydra are truly incompetent. They fall for one sucker trap after another in this one, and in one scene they have two dozen guys in green costumes on a sidewalk next to a ridiculous battering ram ship, and one of them says "we must get inside before we're seen".

Published September 1965

Cover Gallery - FF, Ghost Rider, 3-D Man

A trio of 1970s books with just Kirby covers.

MARVEL PREMIERE #35 - April 1977, inked by John Verpoorten (with background panels from the interior art by Jim Craig and Dave Hunt). Not a bad character to go with Kirby's style, although the back-story and premise presented in this issue is mind-numbing. And I'm not sure why you'd do a 3-D Man comic that isn't in 3-D.

FANTASTIC FOUR #200 - November 1978, inked by Joe Sinnott. The last time Kirby would draw the FF for Marvel (although he would draw them for a cartoon after this, and some of those story-boards would be taken and turned into a comic a few years later). A simple enough cover, but effective.

GHOST RIDER #22 - February 1977, inked by Al Milgrom. Another one of those odd choices of cover assignments for Kirby, he did three covers for GHOST RIDER.
















--Link-- Monster Blog

Yet another site devoted to the Atlas monsters, the Monster Blog is lots of fun and you can get lost in there for hours.

http://monsterblog.oneroom.org/

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Thor #249 - Cover

Inked by Joe Sinnott. "Even if thou canst reach me, Thunder God -- Thou darest not strike Odin!" I love that. "Canst"











Published July 1976

Skull the Slayer #8 - Cover

The Kirby Checklist credits this to Kirby/M. Severin/Giacoia, so I'm guessing Marie Severin did some touch-ups to bring it closer to model for the book. Might explain why Skull's head doesn't seem to quite fit right on his body. No, I'm not sure why, when given Kirby available to do comic covers, somebody decided that him drawing Skull would be a good idea....



Published November 1976

Iron Man #80 - Cover

Inked by Al Milgrom. Solid enough job, and some nice stuff in the background space scene, but I have to say, this may be the most boring Kirby cover of all time. There are only a handful of Kirby covers I can think of where the character isn't doing anything, and this may be the most dull of them. I think it's the almost symmetrical pose that really does it.

On the other hand, you see covers like this almost every week on books published now.



Published November 1975

Defenders #44 - Cover

Just a couple of 1970s Kirby covers on books with non-Kirby interiors.

Inked by Al Milgrom. Milgrom inked over a dozen of these 1970s covers. He did a nice job on some of them, and I kind of wish he'd gotten a chance to do a full story, just to see what it would have looked like. This one is nice, except for Luke Cage's face, which seems off.



Published February 1977

Gunslingers #1

Marvel sometimes, far too infrequently for my liking, throws out a reprint one-shot with some Kirby. Usually tied into some then-current storyline, I think GUNSLINGERS #1 came out around the time of some mini-series that had all of Marvel's western characters.

Two Kirby stories are reprinted in it, both inked by Dick Ayers. "Beware!! The Terrible Totem!!" is a reprint of RAWHIDE KID #22, a full issue story where the Kid fights a giant walking totem pole. While there's an undeniable pleasure in the way Kirby draws Totem, it's just a bit too silly. In fact, the actual western story in here, involving the Kid being chased by lawmen and mine safety issues, were a lot more entertaining, and would have made a far stronger story if the Totem was replaced by a more related obstacle.



The second Kirby story in here is "I Hate the Two-Gun Kid", a five-pager from TWO-GUN KID #60. The story is pretty straight-forward and cliched, with the Kid (no, another Kid) finding his masked identity blamed for some wrong-doing while trying to do the right thing, thus earning the animosity of pretty blonde schoolmarm Nancy Carter, who utters the title of the story. I think the original printing of this was in the first issue of the Earth-One Two-Gun Kid (masked lawyer Matt Hawk version), so it's setting up the on-going conflicts.

Kirby's western comics always show a lot of love for the subject matter, clearly learned through the movies and books on the subject from his youth. Lots of action, great background scenery, and I especially love the way he draws horses.

Published February 2000

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Weird Mystery Tales #2 - Toxl the World-Killer

This 12 page story is one of four that were intended for SPIRIT WORLD #2 and then published in various DC horror anthology books. This story is inked by Mike Royer, and, though he's uncredited, written with Mark Evanier (see the article linked to below for details).

"Toxl" is visually the best of those, with some great images, including one of the best two-page spreads I think Kirby ever did. Lot's of amazing action in here, with the story of Toxl, the leader of a primitive tribe leading a rebellion against a group of technologically advanced conquerers. A little bit of a strange story, but lots of fun to read.



A JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR article on SPIRIT WORLD, including a pencilled page from this story and comments by Mark Evanier is availablehere.

This issue also includes a two page article by Kirby on the topic of UFOs, "They're Still Up There", illustrated with four Kirby collages. Fun enough, although I always thought that Kirby's collages looked to be too much work for stuff he could more effectively do with a pencil, and were never done enough justice by the mediocre printing of the era.

Published October 1972

--Link-- Kirby tribute site

This site on Underground Online has a tribute to Kirby on the tenth anniversary of his death, including words from various comic pros and an interview with Kirby from just before his death.

http://www.ugo.com/channels/comics/features/kirby/

Friday, September 17, 2004

--Link-- Kirby's Monsters

A listing of some of the Atlas-era monsters that Kirby drew, along with some details of where their stories have been reprinted and where they've subsequently appeared in Marvel super-hero comics. Boy, that Fin Fang Foom really got around...

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/kirbymonsters/

Avengers #157 - Cover

Inked by Joe Sinnott. Not much to comment on, except that I do love Sinnott's inking on these 1970s covers. And they sometimes have too many blurbs on the covers...








Published March, 1977

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Demon #4 - The Creature From the Beyond

THE DEMON was a bit of an uneven book, but had some clever stories with great artwork (inked by Mike Royer) throughout.

This fourth issue is the first of a two-part story pitting Etrigan against some foes of his master Merlin. As is typical in Demon stories, the more interesting stuff occurs with the Jason Blood and friends (Randu and Harry in this issue) sequences, while the Etrigan segments provide some great action.



One of the interesting concepts that Kirby introduces here is the Kamara, a "Fear-Monster" that feeds on terror while disguising itself in the form of a meek white monkey. Of course, the Moore/Bissette/Totleben team would clearly find some possibilities in that a decade later and use the character in an early issue of their SWAMP THING run.

Published 1972

Blast-Off #1

Published by Harvey Comics, this book has two five page Jack Kirby stories, both inked by Al Williamson. They were originally done circa 1958 for the short lived RACE FOR THE MOON title, and feature the "3 Rocketeers" characters who had appeared in RACE FOR THE MOON #3. This is around the same time that Kirby was doing the Sky Masters comic strip, so clearly space was on his mind in this era. Whereas the comic strip was more of a near-future space race as seen from 1958, the Rocketeers stuff is more fanciful sci-fi, with moonbases, space stations, aliens and journeys to Jupiter.

The first story is "Lunar Goliaths", which features the Rocketeers of Moon Base 4 pitting their giant boxing robot against a similar robot from a space station, aboard a floating space platform. Those astronauts have too much time on their hands.



I guess this is like Battlebots 40 years early.

The second story, "The Great Moon Mystery", is kind of interesting for its connections with 2001 - A Space Odyssey. It features the Rocketeers going off on a rescue mission on the moon, coming across a giant rock spire and being taken on an inter-galactic out-of-body trip, and conclude it was left by an ancient alien race. I know that Clarke's original short story was published prior to when this would have been written, but I don't know how many of the elements that this story shares with 2001 were in the original short. And was Clarke's story common enough that Kirby or whoever else might have written this would be familiar with it?

Williamson in one of those inkers who has a bit of an overpowering style, so while the end result is pleasing, I'm glad that he didn't ink that much more of Kirby's work.

The cover of this issue is a rather odd mix of several interior panels.

Published October 1965

--Link-- Kirby's NCS bio

This page from the International Museum of Cartoon Art website features Kirby's illustrated autobiographical rundown prepared for the National Cartoonists Society.

http://cartoon.org/kirby.htm

Giant-Size Chillers #3 - The Monster

Interesting the stuff you get when you pull out a random Kirby book.

GIANT-SIZE CHILLERS #3 (August 1975) reprints "The Monster", a 7 page story from CHAMBER OF DARKNESS #4 (April 1970). The credits have it as written and pencilled by Jack Kirby and inked by John Verpoorten, but that's really only part of the story.



Part of the background is told in THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #13 (reprinted in the third COLLECTED JKC, with a teaser here), in an article that promises more details would probably be in Mark Evanier's still-upcoming biography of Kirby. In a nutshell, Kirby submitted the original story, was quite proud of it, then someone at Marvel insisted on wholesale changes, which Kirby made, and then Kirby scripted it, and Marvel made yet more changes after that. From the pencil and margin notes photocopies in the article, it was a much better story before the changes. With editorial help like that from Marvel, it's not surprising that Kirby took the contract DC offered not too long after.

The actual published story is okay, but nothing special. I don't know if my opinion is weighed down by knowing the background, or by comparing it to the original (which has some much nicer action scenes that are omitted in the final version), but overall it just seems to drift a bit and then just sort of end with a pat moral.

The art is still mostly good, and Verpoorten was a pretty good inker for him (Verpoorten only inked a handful of Kirby covers in that era, he was do some full issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA and ETERNALS when Kirby returned to Marvel). A few of the panels shown in the page above are close to how they looked in the original, and I just love the old-world castle architecture that Kirby does so well so often in his work (stories with Dr. Doom and the Demon being notable examples).

--Link-- Kirby's Superman

Here's an interesting article from a Superman-dedicated web-site on the classic Kirby run of JIMMY OLSEN. An interesting perspective from a more Superman than Kirby angle, and some very nice examples of the published art, including a Kirby Superman desktop wallpaper.

Concluding volume of the reprints of Kirby's JIMMY OLSEN should be out soon!!!

http://nightwing.superman.ws/artists/sm-jackkirby.htm

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Black Goliath #4 - Cover

Inked by Joe Sinnott

Published August 1976











From time to time just to keep up the posting frequency I'll throw in one of the many books Kirby just did covers for (about 100 at Marvel in the 1970s and maybe twice that in the 1960s, so there's a lot to choose from). Minimal comments on those, since you can see the Kirby content and the stories they're wrapped around often aren't worth re-reading, and aren't on-topic here anyway. The 70s covers aren't always Kirby's strongest art, since he was often clearly working over layouts from New York (and sometimes slightly re-drawn back in New York), but they're fun, often have the only example of Kirby drawing a particular character, and have some nice inkers (a lot are Sinnott or Giacoia, both great, but there are a few unusual ones).

This one is kind of fun just because Stilt-Man gives me a bit of a chuckle. As does Black Goliath. I guess this would be the only time Kirby had the dubious honour of drawing either of that pair of winners. And check out that trademark Kirby squiggle on Stilt-Man's leg.

--Link-- Kirby in the Marvel Universe

This is a nice write-up about Kirby in the format of entries about the many characters he created, and looking at the numerous times he's appeared in Marvel comics, starting in FANTASTIC FOUR #10.

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/kirbyjack.htm

Destroyer Duck #1 - It's Got the Whole World...in Its Hand!

DESTROYER DUCK #1 is a bit of an angry comic. With good reason, given that writer Steve Gerber was engaged in a lawsuit with Marvel regarding another Duck (for which profits from this book benefited), and Kirby was had his own issues with the company.

But clearly anger works as a motivating force, since this is a really good story. The analogy is obvious enough, with Duke "Destroyer" Duck going on a mission of vengence on behalf of "The Little Guy", a talking duck who was exploited, cheated and ultimately killed by the monolithic GodCorp. Kirby's got an interesting funny animal style that he only had a few chances to use in his career, and this is a nice mix of that and his traditional action art. That works well with the slightly off-kilter, cynical satire of Gerber, who's rarely been better than he is here.



DESTROYER DUCK is one of the most wholly successful of Kirby's 1980s books, and well worth picking up. It would be nice to some day see a reprint of the whole series.

The inking on the story is by Alfredo Alcala, and it's really good. I wouldn't have thought the combination would work, since Alcala can be a bit of an overpowering inker sometimes, but the end result is very nice, with a bit of an echo of the linework style from the S&K work circa 1950. The cover is inked by Neal Adams.

Published 1982

--Link-- Evanier's Kirby stuff

This is a link to the Kirby related stuff on Mark Evanier's website. Evanier was, of course, Kirby's long-time assistant, friend and (eventual) biographer. A decent Kirby FAQ and an essay about the Kirby Memorial from a year after his death are great reading.

Check out the rest of his site and other sites for great articles about comics, TV, movies and just about everything else.

http://povonline.com/Jack%20Kirby.htm

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Kamandi #32 - Me



From KAMANDI #32 (inked by D. Bruce Berry), a nice page that reminds us that despite all he's gone through, Kamandi is still a kid, as is Tuftan, prince of the tigers. An exciting issue overall, with all out war between the tigers and the gorillas while Dr. Canus gets to know the strange alien being. Because this was a "Giant" issue, Kirby got a few extra pages (23 as opposed to the standard 18 of the time), which really helps the pacing of this. It's a damn shame that comics of the era got so stingy with the story page counts (going all the way to 17 pages an issue soon after, before that was reversed).

I really like Berry's inking from this period as well. He started off, a year before this, a bit rough, especially compared to Mike Royer who had the art of inking Kirby perfected, but he had a pretty decent learning curve and managed to maintain the power of Kirby's pencils.



This is the map that appeared in this issue (click on it for a larger scan), in the middle of the reprint of the first issue. It's an expanded version of the map from #1, which only had North America and part of South America. Unfortunately, Kirby only got to less than half the world sketched out here. It's clear that, if circumstances allowed him to stay, he could have done years more on the book. Ah, to see what Kirby would have done with the Orangutan Surfing Civilization...

Also in this issue is a four page profile of Jack Kirby by assistant Steve Sherman, with several photographs.

Published 1975

Monday, September 13, 2004

--Link-- Kirby Collector

In addition to the look at Kirby books, I'll try to post quick links to various places on the web where you'll find Kirby stuff. First off, the web site of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR, a great magazine published by TwoMorrows. Check out the art and articles they have on the web, and pick up all the back issues.

http://www.twomorrows.com/kirby/

Fantastic Four #51 - This Man, This Monster


Boy, will you look at that. Beautiful, no? Scans of covers and splash pages are going to be the exception in this weblog (except for books where the only Kirby art is the cover), since I think the heart of Kirby's work lies in the actual panel-to-panel story-telling, and because you can find scans of covers all over the place. But this cover is a particular favourite.

Figure it's best to start with one of the best, FANTASTIC FOUR #51. Inked by Joe Sinnott (cover and story), and right in the heart of the classic run of the book where in one year you saw Kirby introduce the Inhumans, the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the Black Panther, the Negative Zone and more.

This is considered by some to be the best of that run. I'd agree with them.



This is very much the ultimate Ben Grimm story, where we look into his relationship with the team and with Alicia, and his feelings about being the Thing. Ben is always the most fascinating member of the team, as well as the most visually interesting, so any story with a lot of Ben is going to be a good one.

Published June 1966

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Welcome

The purpose of this weblog is going to be a bit specialized. I hope to eventually write a little something about every Jack Kirby comic, magazine or book in my collection. That currently numbers about 900 items and steadily growing (out of 3000+ items that it could include, but most of those I don't have are outside my price range, stuff I have reprints of or trivial things like books with just Kirby covers), so that's probably 3 years if I manage to do one a day, realistically much longer.

No particular reason for this. Just a reason to read a bit of Kirby every day, a reason to do a little bit of fun writing and hopefully get some awareness out there of the length and depth of Kirby's career.

And if you've wandered here and don't know who Jack Kirby is, stick around and see.



That's one of Kirby's self-portraits, naturally, announcing the golden age reprints that backed up his Fourth World books. Inked by Vince Colletta, so, you know, but still good looking.

Hope you enjoy.

Bob

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Admin - Index of Posts

The following is an alphabetical index of links to posts on this weblog. "[C]" denotes it's a book with just a Kirby cover, so most of those are in "gallery" posts with other covers.

This list reflects the original weblog. See the new site for current links to the new versions of these posts, plus everything posted since.


100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-15 [1973]
1st Issue Special #1 [1975]
1st Issue Special #5 [1975]
1st Issue Special #6 [1975]
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Who's Who - The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #2 [1985]
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Who's Who - The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #15 [1986]
Who's Who - The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #16 [1986]
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