Archival Site 2004-2006 see See

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Wyatt Earp #26 - Cover

Boy, there's nothing but trouble in Dodge for Wyatt, easily the best dressed of the western stars of Marvel. Christopher Rule is the attributed inker of this one from the Kirby Checklist, but as usual those credits are open to debate. I don't see some of the signs that other Rule-attributed covers have on this one.

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Published 1959

--Link-- Sanderson on Kirby panel

Peter Sanderson's "Comics in Context" column has a lengthy rundown of the San Diego Con panel on Jack Kirby from a few weeks ago. There's a brief bit in the intro, then the actual article on the panel starts on page two. Some interesting stuff, a lot of stuff about credits and compensation for Kirby's work. Mark Evanier mentions that the first draft of his Kirby bio is almost finished and he hopes to announce publishing plans next year. Plus there's a comment suggesting not buying the upcoming MAXIMUM FANTASTIC FOUR reprint of FF #1 [Evanier later clarifies on his site that he meant not buying it just for Evanier's commentary]. Some info on the Kirby Museum as well, and lots of fun anecdotes about the Kirbys to balance out the darker parts of how he got ripped off. Good reading, I can't wait until the transcript appears in TJKC (presumably in #44). While you're there, you can read Sanderson's coverage of the 2003 panel (transcribed in TJKC #40)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Invaders #5 - Cover

Ah, the Invaders defending a homefront parade from the menace of a giant Red Skull. There's an image for you. It's like a combination of a monster cover and a super-hero cover. I know the layouts for these covers were done in New York (by Marie Severin for this one, I'm pretty sure. I think her layout ran in ALTER EGO a while back), but she really knew how to play to Kirby's strengths with them.

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Joe Sinnott inks.

Published 1976

Friday, July 29, 2005

Marvel Double Feature #5 - The Red Skull Supreme

This issue features a reprint from TALES OF SUSPENSE #81 (1966) starring Captain America. As the story opens, the Red Skull has gotten the Cosmic Cube and all the power it gives, and is boasting of his plans to use it to conquer the world and then build an intergalactic empire.

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Fortunately for the galaxy, his hatred of Cap doesn't let him just use the cube to destroy Cap, but instead he creates a being powerful enough to beat Cap in battle, not counting on Cap's usual determination and battle skills to overcome raw power. Finally the Skull's pride defeats him, as Cap pretends to surrender and be the Skull's servant, leaving an opening for Cap to wrest away the Cube.

Some excellent stuff in here, showing Cap at his battling best, the Red Skull at his most conniving but foolish and loads of cosmic energy. Frank Giacoia inks the 10-page story.

Published 1974

Sgt. Fury #11 - Cover

Pressed for time today, here's a gorgeous Kirby/Stone war cover guaranteed to knock your socks off.

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Published 1964

Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Kirby - Kirby Collector #43

JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #43 is now available. Look for some initial thoughts on this weekend.

Also, one month from today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thor #145 - Abandoned on Earth / The End

Odin on a rampage, gotta like that. See those Asgardians quivering in the face of his just and merciful wrath.

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Odin cracks me up every time.

Thor feels the anger of Odin in this issue as he's stripped of his powers, other than his strength, and left on Earth following a major battle. He decides to try this out and get a job, and ends up applying as the strongman at a circus, not knowing that it's a front for the Circus of Crime, who are planning a major theft that needs a strongman. Thor impresses them but then gets hypnotized by the ring-master to prepare for their heist.

The "Tales of Asgard" back-up concludes in this issue, with the final battle against Mogul, the tyrant who has enslaved various lands, including that of Hogun the Grim. Ends kind of abruptly, but has a lot of action leading up to there, capturing the grandeur of the modern myths they were weaving.

Colletta inks the cover, 16-page lead and 5-page backup.

Published 1967

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kamandi #13 - Hell at Hialeah

The action-packed middle of the "Sackers" saga in KAMANDI finds out hero enslaved at a racetrack in what was once Florida, part of the empire of the snake trader Sacker (people have read some allegorical bits into this story about Kirby's feelings towards DC at this time, and they're probably there, but at its core it's an action story). Lots of fun, as Kam goes from being almost trampled in a horse-race to witnessing a motorcycle race with an odd prize and violent rules:

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Somehow Kirby can sell dialogue like "I'd rather 'Do or Die' for Kamandi Enterprises' than the Sacker's Company".

The story just gets more exciting with Kamandi chased by helicopters while riding his giant grasshopper pet Kliklak and then finally being drawn into battle with one of the savage humans, Bull Bantam, who sees Kamandi as a rival for Spirit, the sister of Kamandi's recently deceased love Flower.

Mike Royer inks the 20-page story and cover.

Published 1974

And thanks to James Burns for the new logo uptop, inspired by Kirby's wayout tech designs

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gunsmoke Western #74 - Cover

Another Kirby/Ayers western cover.

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I especially like faces of the leads on this cover. Drawn very small, but very clear and expressive. Let's take a closer look:

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No question there about what emotion the Kid is expressing, and a great classic Kirby heroic face on the sherrif (looks a bit like Reed Richards, actually).

Published 1963

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Weird Wonder Tales #18 - I Created Krang

This story (technically retitled "Krang") is reprinted from TALES TO ASTONISH #14 (1960), a 13-page Kirby/Ayers story featuring one of the classic elements of stories from that era, giant insects. In this case, Professor Carter wants to employ giant insect power, but can't get funding for his formula. He goes to Europe, where a key ingredient can be found, and sets up shop in an old castle where a servant named Ludwig works. Unfortunately, in his greed Ludwig plans to steal the formula and gives an overdose of it to an ant, causing it to quickly grow and gain intelligence.

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Krang goes on a rampage trying to get the formula so he can rule an insect army and rule the world. Fortunately Ludwig redeems himself (I suspect the art was meant to show him dying, though the script just has him injured) letting Carter escape and use the formula to come up with a natural foe for Krang.

Very fun story, there's just something about seeing a giant Kirby/Ayers ant running up the stairs of an ancient castle that cracks me up. Definitely one of the better of the monster stories of that era.

Kirby did a new cover for this issue, inked by Klaus Janson, with the usual elements of a fleeing crowd, a monster causing great damage and a hidden menace.

Published 1976

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fantastic Four #176 - Cover

Here's a particular favourite among Kirby's 1970s covers for other editors, featuring the Impossible Man. Not one of the great Kirby villains, true (I think this is only his second story, maybe the longest gap between an FF villains first and second major appearances), but I love the pose and especially the Iron Man and Mjolnir hands.

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Joe Sinnott inks, of course.

Published 1976

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gunsmoke Western #75 - Cover

Here's a nice different kind of cover from Kirby/Ayers featuring Kid Colt. Obviously not the kind of design that works if you do it every issue, but good for a change of pace, as a nice little mini-story. I especially like the posing on the third panel.

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Published 1963

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Prisoners of Gravity ep. repeat

On the chance that there's anyone reading this who's Canadian and gets digital cable, BookTV is repeating the Jack Kirby episode of PRISONERS OF GRAVITY, discussed here. Well worth watching.

July 25: 4:00PM Eastern
July 30: 4:30PM Eastern

Justice Traps the Guilty #23 - Cover

Beautiful crime cover from S&K, their last for this title as the romance and horror comics for Prize dominated their time (plus BOYS' RANCH over at Harvey). Love that distinctive inking over on the cops' uniforms.

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Published 1951

Upcoming Kirby - THOR Masterworks in October

In addition to the previously mentioned JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #44 and Marvel monster books with Kirby reprint backups, the latest solicitations see a new hardcover Masterworks volume for Thor, only five years after the last one.

Collects 10 issues from JiM #121 to THOR #130, some great comics featuring Thor in battle with the Absorbing Man, Hercules and the hordes of the Netherworld, plus some of the best Tales of Asgard back-ups, with the conclusion of the grand quest and the revelation of Ragnarok and the aftermath which evokes the New Gods. The reproduction of a few of these was a bit weak in the recent ESSENTIAL THOR v2, so hopefully they can be punched up a bit here. The usual $50 price for the regular edition, $55 if you want a dustjacket matching the first printings of the early volumes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thor #251 - Cover

Another 1970s cover, this time inked by Joe Sinnott. I like the look of those demonic hands reaching up, looks kind of like something from a 1950s BLACK MAGIC story combined with 1960s super-heroics.

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Published 1976

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

First Love Illustrated #68 - Cover

A very cute mid-1950s cover for Harvey, I especially like the expression on the ride attendents face (plus the pipe). Note also the old man in the back seat. I think he's one of the most frequent regulars in Kirby crowd scenes. I wonder if he's based on anyone in particular?

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Published 1956

Monday, July 18, 2005

Who's Who #11 - Infinity Man

Only one Kirby piece in this issue of DC's character guide, inked by Greg Theakston.

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A very nice look at the enigmatic Forever People character, who would trade places with the team when he was needed for battle. A nice character, one of Kirby's strong, confident, optimistic types, which comes across nicely in these little vignettes.

Published 1986

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Avengers #9 - Cover

After drawing the first 8 issues, Kirby went to just drawing the covers for AVENGERS with this issue (returning to layout a few issues a while later).

I have to say, that's way to big an intro blurb for a character as lame as Wonder Man.

Is this the first "floating heads" cover that Marvel had? I know the format became a bit of a cliche in 1970s Marvel team books, but were there any before this one?

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Chic Stone inks the cover this time.

Published 1964

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Marvel's Greatest Comics #75 - At the Mercy of Torgo

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You tell 'em, Ben.

This issue has an edited reprint of FF #93 (1969), finishing off the "Thing Enslaved" storyline. Reed, Johnny and Crystal follow the trail of the Skrull slave ship while Ben fights Torgo in the arena, holding his own and trying not to harm Torgo while figuring out how to stop the Skrull threat to the homeworlds of their slaves.

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The rest of the FF finally arrive and dress up in 1920s mob wear themselves as they make their way to the arena. The story ends kind of abruptly after that, I'm not sure if it was supposed to go somewhere else at first and changed for the usual reasons or what. Lot of nice bits in the art, like the flying 1920s car over the faux-1920s city, Torgo leading the final rebellion of the slaves after the FF free them of the fear of retribution against their home planets and Reed, Johnny and Crystal in 1920s garb.

Two pages edited out, both of Ben in the arena. One is just a recap of what we know from the previous issue but the other is right before this page so the first half of Torgo's sentence is missing. I hope the money from that Hostess ad was worth it, Marvel...

Frank Giacoia was the inker on the story and cover here, doing a great job of filling in for Joe Sinnott and keeping the look of the book consistent.

Published 1978

Minor landmark time here at ye olde Kirby webloge, with this book I have comments and samples up here of 400 Kirby publications that you can peruse using those alphabetical and chronological lists over in the sidebar (once I update them in a few minutes).

Devil Dinosaur #4 - Object From the Sky

"BONK BONK BONK". That's the sound of a dinosaur stomping on an alien invader. In case you ever wondered. Gotta love that old Devil Dinosaur stomping action.

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The adventures of Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy ramp up in this issue with an invasion of the Valley of Flame by mysterious aliens, as foretold in prophecy and in Moon-Boy's dreams at the beginning of the issue (including a great two-page splash). The invasion is swift and effective, as Moon-Boy is taken prisoner and Devil is left stunned. Eventually Devil teams up with two other Dawn-Men, Stone-Hand and White-Hairs, and plan a rescue.

Kirby also writes the text page for this issue, "Dinosaurs as Devils and Moon-Boys as PRIMITIVES", about how the tendency of people is to treat the non-human as unintelligent, whereas he thinks "every living creature is capable of an intelligent and compassionate move".

Mike Royer inks the 17-page story while Joltin' Joe Sinnott inks the cover.

Published 1978

Friday, July 15, 2005

Marvel Two-In-One #12 - Cover

The ever-dependable Frank Giacoia inks this very sharp cover for a Thing/Iron Man crossover that brings back one of the most obscure characters from the original FF series (I think Prestor John just appeared in one issue as more of a sidenote, don't know if he was in any non-Kirby stuff in the interim).

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Published 1975

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Strange Tales #125 - Cover

Chic Stone inks this cover, from soon after they finally realized that the Thing was the breakout star of the FF, not the Torch, and brought him in as the co-star for STRANGE TALES. Kind of a shame they realized that after the point where Kirby was drawing anything but covers, as it would have been very fun to see what he could have done with a series starring Ben. Good cover here, always good to see close-quarters combat in the Mighty Kirby Manner.

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Published 1964

Mister Miracle #5 - Doctor Vundabar and His Murder Machine

Kirby has a lot of fun with his new Big Barda character this issue after her debut the previous issue, as she exercises out in the yard for the opening splash, shows off her strength as Scott takes delivery of a Civil War cannon for his act. While Scott and Oberon practice the act, Barda enjoys the scenery like nothing she's seen on Apokolips but gets attacked by Virman Vundabar's men.

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And yes, Kirby even makes a point about how the name "Virman Vundabar" is goofy, so don't bug me about it. It's Granny's sense of humour. She named "Scott Free", after all.

Scott flies off to the rescue, and winds up in the car wash of doom. God, just those bizarre connections that Kirby could make work. Great scene with Scott, having escaped, standing behind the gloating villains not aware he's there.

Letter column plugs the next issue with Funky Flashman, who "doesn't know the meaning of the words 'Fair Play' or, if he does, he's never bothered to practice it". Ouch. I'll have to get to that issue soon.

Also in this issue, the first chapter of the "Young Scott Free" story that leads into the classic "Himon" in #9. A great story as you get a look at Granny Goodness and her treatment of her "orphans" and their indocrination, and Scott's early defiance, leading to his first encounter with Metron.

Mike Royer inks the 22-page lead story, his first issue of this title. It's kind of notable because this is the issue where he changed Barda's face on the first go-round, prompting Kirby to take the original heads from the photocopies of the pencils so they could be restored, so the copies of these pencils have those faces removed and Royer was much more faithful after that. Colletta inks the back-up and Royer inks the cover, with some touch-up by Neal Adams to make the weapons look more obvious (the original version appears in COMIC BOOK ARTIST SPECIAL EDITION #1).

The S&K reprint for this issue is "The Invasion of America", a Boy Commandos story from DETECTIVE #76 (1943), previously covered from another reprint. A fun story, I especially like the scene with the kids coming into New York harbour, talking about how the role of their own countries in New York history.

Published 1971

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Star Spangled Comics #34 - Cover

Another of the early covers from when S&K were off in the military and DC just ran covers by them on their various books. This is a fun one, with nice bright colours, a great pose for Gabby and great reaction shots on the Guardian and other Newsboys.

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Published 1944

Destroyer Duck #4 - Spineless Wonders

Following an introduction where Vanilla Cupcake™ meets the Reagans, the battle with the Cogburns continues in this issue, and we get the origin of Booster Cogburn as our heroes flee to the airport. Inspired if extremely mean stuff when you know what it's a parody of. "The machismo posturing, the overblown ego, and the company man mentality are all artificially encoded in the genes". "...would lead them to a disturbing truth: that human exist who possess the capacity to create something new, something beyond a flawed replication of what's gone before". I love this stuff, that scene is probably the highlight of the DD series.

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Beyond the Cogburn scenes, this issue features the set-up for the final battle in Hoqoom, as GodCorp's plans there continue apace and Duke and his friends are on the way, with Duke suspecting that the Little Guy may be alive.

Steve Gerber writes of course, and Alfredo Alcala inks the 20-page story and cover. Very attractive work in this issue, I thought the previous two issues were a bit loose but the Kirby/Alcala combination seemed to click better this time around.

Published 1983

Astonishing Tales #2 - Frenzy on the Fortieth Floor

Ka-Zar arrives in New York on his search for Zabu, held by Kraven. For some reason Kraven decided to keep the sabre-tooth tiger in his hotel room. Kraven attacks Ka-Zar in the lobby, where Ka-Zar uses his battle cry to inform Zabu that he's there.

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Zabu with the sheathed feet cracks me up. Zubu in general is always fun. We need a team-up of Zabu and Lockjaw. There's some fun as Kraven and Ka-Zar battle above the city, but it ends kind of abruptly as Kraven is wounded and lives up to his name, and Ka-Zar encounters the Petrified Man and has to return to the Savage Land for a story Kirby wasn't involved in.

Sam Grainger inks the 10-page story.

Published 1970

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

--Link-- Sinnott gallery of Kirby/Sinnott FF

Latest monthly feature on Joe Sinnott's website is a gallery of his collaborations with Jack Kirby on FANTASTIC FOUR. Check it out.

--Link-- Saavedra anecdote on Kirby

Scott Saavedra posts over on his always fun Comic Book Heaven site about Kirby attending a charity event hosted by his father back in the 1970s.

Marvel Spotlight #29 - Cover

Another in the string of odd cover assignments Kirby was given in the late 1970s, this one featuring I believe the first solo outing of Moon Knight. He always was the Batman of the Marvel universe, so I guess a giant chess board makes sense.

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Al Milgrom inks on this one. I especially like his linework on the chess pieces in the foregound.

Published 1976

Monday, July 11, 2005

Tales of Suspense #38 - Cover

Sorry, hitting the covers a bit much lately. I'll get back to some story stuff soon. And you can't really complain too much about stuff like this. Kirby Checklist has this as Sol Brodsky inks on the final pre-Iron Man ToS (but with the fantasy stories continuing as back-ups for a little while). That's one tough looking genie.

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Published 1963

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Kid Colt Outlaw #101 - Cover

Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers supply the cover to this Marvel western. Fortunately for Kid Colt the Daltons and Ringo and the rest are notoriously bad shots, hitting walls and lights when aiming for him. Of course, you have to question KC's logic of shooting the gavel out of Jesse James' hand when there are people there with guns. It's a symbolic victory, true, but hardly the best use of your first shot.

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Published 1961

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Love Romances #84 - Cover

Quite a dog, that Tony. Continuing on from his successful work at Prize over the previous decade, Kirby did a lot of covers and stories for the Marvel romance books, including this early one inked by Vince Colletta.

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This is also part of an informal set of artist themed Kirby romance covers, going back to Prize's YOUNG ROMANCE #1 and Mainline's IN LOVE #3. Any others?

Published 1959

--Link-- Neal Kirby article

The Orange County Register has a nice article interviewing Neal Kirby, Jack and Roz's son. Includes three photos, Neal with the Hunger Dogs cover, with a huge colour FF poster and other original artwork and a signed photo of Jack Kirby.

Marvel's Greatest Comics #28 - The Frightful Four

Kirby provides a new cover for this issue's reprint of FF #36 (1965), inked by John Verpoorten according to the Kirby Checklist, Joe Sinnott according to the GCD. Verpoorten looks more likely as Sinnott had a few distinctive touches in his work from this era that are missing. Also of note, Medusa is wearing something closer to her later mask on the cover rather than what she wore in this issue.

This issue opens as Reed and Sue publicly announce their engagement, getting a lot of press attention. Unfortunately, Sue also took this as a time to unveil one of her least flattering hair-cuts. Meanwhile, the Wizard (who makes a brief misguided name change to the Wingless Wizard this issue. Ooooh, "Wingless"! Scary) has gathered a few of the other super-criminals, Paste-Pot-Pete and Sandman, along with new recruit Madame Medusa, to form the Frightful Four.

Following a party with the Avengers and X-Men (where the scripting has to go through a few hoops to explain Professor Xavier's presence, since he wasn't openly associated with the X-Men at the time) the villains attack and are able to defeat the three members present.

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Fortunately Johnny is off admiring cars, and Alicia is able to send a signal off to him and he manages to rescue his team-mates and Alicia from floating off into space and defeat the villains.

Of course the Frightful Four would return several times in the next year, but the real lasting legacy of this issue is the introduction of Medusa, leading to the Inhumans and some of Kirby's best supporting characters.

Chic Stone inks the story. This reprint is edited down to 19 pages from the original 21, with a Yancy Street gag from the beginning and a scene with the Torch a few pages later missing.

Published 1970

Friday, July 08, 2005

Upcoming Kirby - Marvel Monsters one-shots

In October, Marvel is publishing four new one-shots featuring various Marvel monsters, and each will have a Jack Kirby reprint as the backup. To wit:

"I Was a Slave of the Living Hulk!" from Journey Into Mystery #62, November 1960 by Kirby/Ayers.

"Fin Fang Foom" from Strange Tales #89, October 1961 by Kirby/Ayers

"I Was Trapped By Titano" from Tales to Astonish #10, July 1960 by Kirby/Sinnott

"We Found the Ninth Wonder of the World" from Tales to Astonish #1, January 1959 by Kirby/Rule

More info here.

Avengers #151 - Cover

Dan Adkins inks on this 1970s cover, as Cap explains to the junior Avengers which way they're supposed to look on a cover for maximum effect. Hey, this is Captain America, he knows how to pose for a cover, and the first rule is "Face Front".

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Published 1976

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kirby Museum - Possible design?

So, I was thinking about what a Kirby Museum should look like. Something like this, I would think.

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A bit much? Maybe. I'll keep looking.

(from the Lord of Light film designs)

1st Issue Special #1 - Atlas the Great

Late in Kirby's five year 1970s stint at DC they launched 1st ISSUE SPECIAL as a sort of SHOWCASE concept. One of Kirby's concepts ran in the first issue.

Set in an ancient world of legends and wonders when man rose from barbarism, this issue opens as Atlas is exhibiting his strength while his companion Chagra looks for a challenger.

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Atlas easily wins the combat set up for him, and is soon enbroiled in another mess which brings the attention of a familiar voice. Atlas has a flashback to his village being destroyed by a slaver when he was a boy, and his adventures growing up while seeking the slaver. His quest is at an end as the voice he just heard is the King of Hyssa, the slaver who killed his family.

All set-up in this issue, which is a shame, as there's some promise in here and in the concept pages that have been published in TJKC #23 and #26 (plus an unused cover on TJKC #4).

D. Bruce Berry does the inks on the cover and 20-page story. The text page isn't written by Kirby, but does feature a small version of what appears to be an alternate cover illustration for this issue, fully inked and coloured.

Published 1975

Strange World of Your Dreams #4 - Cover

Just a Kirby cover on this final issue of the short-lived S&K companion book to BLACK MAGIC, featuring true stories. It says so right on the cover.

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You'd think the fact that the killer is green would be enough information for an identification.

I love those trademark Kirby eyes on the killer, with that weird half-squint that he used so often (I can remember some especially memorable ones from Darkseid).

Published 1953

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

--Link-- Kirby Museum announcement

Mark Evanier has the full press release about the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center (JKMRC) project coming from the Kirby Estate, Randolph Hoppe and TwoMorrows, including an on-line version of the Kirby checklist. More details will be forthcoming at the San Diego Con next week, or keep an eye on this page.

New Kirby - Marvel Digests

Marvel will be releasing its set of "Dollar Digests" this week, 64-page black and white, possibly edited reprints of various early material for $1. See here for details. Not sure if I'll see them, so feel free to comment if you do.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Amazing Adventures #4 - With These Rings, I Thee Kill

This is the last of the four half-issues of AMAZING ADVENTURES that Jack Kirby wrote and drew featuring the Inhumans, and was also the last (in publishing order, he probably drew it earlier) original material by him from Marvel for five years (not counting the cobbled-together story published in FF #108). Of course they'd be hitting the reprints pretty hard for their Kirby fix in those years, with an average of over five books a month with Kirby reprints. I think Marvel actually printed more pages of Kirby while he was over at DC than DC did.

Anyway, back to the Inhumans. This is still a lot weaker than the writing he would be doing in just a few months, and Chic Stone's inks seem especially rough compared to his usual work. A shame, as I'm sure he did have some good ideas for the oft-delayed Inhumans series that these four half-issues don't really show.

Picking up from last time, the Inhumans uncover the Eye of Yin as the Mandarin had planned, and he's able to take the eye from them and absorb its power into his rings. Of course one of the first things he does is turn on his loyal underling, which is a scene I like in a low-rent Doom/Darkseid kind of way.

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After an all-too-brief battle Black Bolt is able to defeat the Mandarin kind of easily, and then, well, I guess the Inhumans return to the Great Refuge and lived happily ever after, never bothered by humanity again.

Published 1971

Monday, July 04, 2005

Speed Comics #23 - Cover

When I talk about Jack Kirby artwork on WWII flag-draped super-heroes of military rank, you know I'm talking about...

Captain Freedom?

Yep. Kirby did a bunch of covers in 1942 for this Harvey Comics character who appeared in SPEED COMICS. Don't know too much about the character, he was apparently a newspaper publisher named Don Hudson who sometimes had a kid gang group the Young Defenders helping him. The handful of covers Kirby did were certainly good.

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The original art for this cover was up for auction a while ago. Check out the scan here.

Published 1942

Star Spangled Comics #33 - Cover

The Guardian and the Newsboy Legion take some time to help out the troops from all branches of the service in this patriotic wartime cover by Simon&Kirby.

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Stay tuned, one more cover, featuring a patriotic-garbed Captain, coming up later tonight.

Published 1944

Sgt. Fury #10 - Cover

What's the Fourth without a look at Kirby's tribute to the fighting men of WWII, the Howling Commandos? Great Kirby/Ayers cover of one of their forays into the Pacific on this issue, with those huge guns and action in every corner, circling around to the classic splayed hand that leaps off the page.

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Published 1964

Tales of Suspense #76 - Cover

John Romita stepped in to draw the Cap story in this issue, so the only Kirby art is the cover, also inked by Romita.

Yes, Cap at the mercy of the evil frenchman Batroc zee Leaper. I always liked Batroc, such an absurd character, and charmingly over-written with random french expressions and accents.

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Published 1966

Captain America #126 - Cover

This Kirby/Everett cover always looked a little odd to me for some reason. The Captain America figure almost looks like it's pasted on from some other source, and the inks seem oddly heavy in places. Still not bad looking.

I do wonder how this cover came about, over a year after Kirby had last drawn the book.

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Published 1970

Invaders #7 - Cover

For a Fourth of July special, I'm going to be posting a number of Kirby covers with star-spangled, patriotic or US armed forces themes (couldn't find anything for Canada Day...). Quite a bit of Captain America, as you can imagine. Stay tuned later in the day for more.

Let's start with an INVADERS cover, inked by Frank Giacoia, which features the sentinel of Liberty up against the nazi vampire.

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Published 1976

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135 - Evil Factory

Big issue this time, even the cover says it's a "King-Size Kirby Blockbuster" (although not one they wanted to put a Kirby cover on...). The whole cloning thing kicks off into high-gear this issue, with a look at villains Mokkari and Simyan and their theft of genetic technology from the Project, twisting it to their own ends. Of course, you have to wonder about the Project in general and their cloning of Jimmy Olsen, without informing him, into an army of Olsen clones.

In the Project we meet the original Newsboy Legion, as well as the Olsen clones, finding out some of them have been stolen. Mokkari and Simyan report to Darkseid, with one of those great brief Darkseid moments. "Death can eclipse life! A great lie can smash truth!"

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Their most powerful clone, laced with kryptonite, breaks out and attacks the Project, where Superman finds out that it's a giant Jimmy Olsen clone. The elder Newsboys unleash their own secret weapon in response, a clone of the recently deceased in the line of duty Jim Harper, their old Guardian.

Kirby throws a bunch of ideas out in this issue, some of which were probably considered even stranger 35 years ago. It's nice stuff, very bold and in-your-face, although I thought some of his expository dialogue fell flat (the elder Newsboys introducing themselves ("I, Scrapper, became a social worker -- but I'm needed here, too").

Inking on this 22-page story is officially Vince Colletta, but as usual that's only part of the story. Mark Evanier's introduction to the tradepaperback reprint of these stories says that this issue was a bit different from the others, as the Superman and Jimmy Olsen figures were adjusted in the pencils by Al Plastino, Murphy Anderson and others, then inked by Colletta (and with Colletta's frequent background assistant Art Cappello doing more than usual on this story). It does look a little more cohesive than some of the others (which involved paste-ups over the finished art or Anderson penciling and inking the adjusted art), although of course far less than it should have been with a single decent inker following Kirby's pencils.

Kirby also wrote one of his odd essays in this issue, "The Hairies - Super-Race or Man's Second Chance", about his odd little DNAlien biker/hippie community. That's one of those things I just assume he had bigger plans for that he never got around to.

Published 1971

Kid Colt Outlaw #90 - Cover

Another KID COLT cover, this one inked by Dick Ayers. I especially like on this one how blatantly the real killer is in fact getting away in the background, right outside the door. Missed that at first.

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On the other hand, those attempts to write western accents get old kind of fast.

Published 1960

Kirby in 2005 mid-year update

Been a pretty big year for Kirby work being published, especially from Marvel (you'd almost think Marvel didn't have to pay for it. Oh, wait...). Time for a quick half-way through the year overview. As usual, links over on the sidebar for the announcement page and links for buying them on-line.

DC's falling behind on the Kirby train, but they do have a KAMANDI ARCHIVES later this year. Pure Imagination should have another volume of THE COMPLETE JACK KIRBY later this year, too.

TwoMorrows has only had one issue of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR so far, but it was a good one, with lots of 1970s DC artwork, a great article about the Newsboy Legion and a compete S&K crime story. Another should be on the way soon, circa the San Diego Con, and another in the fall. They've also been promising a big announcement at San Diego, which might mean more stuff coming out, or something else.

Fantagraphics has a 1950s Harvey short story, "The Fourth Dimension is a Many Splattered Thing", reprinted from the original artwork, in Craig Yoe's first anthology of modern art themes in comics, MODERN ARF.

AMERICA’S GREATEST COMICS #11 from AC Comics has two 1950s short stories, one inked by Steve Ditko, AC should have some more 1950s reprinted in some upcoming releases.

Marvel's been quite a bit heavier than it has been in years, and in several different formats.

Two long-awaited books in the ESSENTIAL line of thick black&white books, FF v4 and THOR v2. Great reproduction throughout on the FF book, the THOR one is more hit and miss, sometimes very good, but every now and then it's obvious that they're using printed comics or stats prepared for prior reprints as the source. Still some great
material in each book.

1970s material written and drawn by Kirby shows up in two colour tradepaperbacks, one reprinting the early issues of his BLACK PANTHER run and a second volume of his CAPTAIN AMERICA work, this one including the original tabloid.

The MASTERWORKS hardcover line has already had four volumes this year with some Kirby artwork. One has just a few covers (IRON MAN v2) but the others have a lot of Kirby, with FF v8, Golden Age CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 and Silver Age CAPTAIN AMERICA v2.

In addition, in a new format they've printed FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS v1, collecting the first 30 issues of FF in one book, with extra material.

Another new format is the MARVEL MILESTONES line of $4 largely random reprint comics. Kirby's been in four of them:


Obviously not drawing any of the Venom or Wolverine stories, or the Sub-Mariner one for that matter, but at least one of all the rest.

In a similar format, except including a new short story and more thematically coherent, GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #3 has a pair of Kirby stories as examples of early X-Men crossovers (oddly in the wrong order).

A few anthology types with some Kirby content. In order of quantity:
Five issues, including the otherwise not-in-print #100, about a third of the book

Three stories, including the first ever reprint of THOR #179, Kirby's last issue

One story, the oft-reprinted (and never well, including here) FF ANNUAL #3

One story, the otherwise not-in-print THOR #140

And trivially, the Kirby/Ditko cover of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 is
reprinted in these two books:

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Mighty Marvel Western #46 - Beware! The Rawhide Kid

This issue of the western reprint anthology has the first story of the Kid from RAWHIDE KID #17 (1960). In this 7-page Kirby/Ayers story we learn that the Kid is really Johnny Bart, from the town of Rawhide, where the law hasn't yet come.

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He was adopted and raised by ex-Ranger "Uncle" Ben Bart, and picked up all of Ben's skills with the gun and his moral code. One day while Johnny was out getting supplies Ben was killed in a cowardly manner by two outlaws looking to make their reputation. Johnny finds and buries Ben and then goes out for revenge, showing his superior gun skills and then riding off determined to live up to Uncle Ben's memory and fight cowardly outlaws like his killers.

Very fast and effective first story, though obviously only half the origin (still leaving in question how the kid became to be known as an outlaw).

I especially like those set-up panels of lawless Rawhide, with the one guy stealing another guys hat and splashing a passing woman.

Published 1976

Star Spangled Comics #31 - Cover

This is the first issue of STAR SPANGLED to just have an S&K Newsboy Legion cover as the boys were off to the army, handing off the interiors to others in the interim. Great way to send off, with one of the many strongly patriotic wartime covers. Very nice planes back there, too.

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Published 1944

Friday, July 01, 2005

Kid Colt Outlaw #89 - Cover

Now here's a pretty cover. One of the occasional Ditko ink jobs over Kirby from the era, one of the very few westerns among those collaborations.

That's just an amazing horse. I'm gaining a whole new appreciation for horses in Kirby artwork. After everything else is covered in this weblog (still a few years to go...) I'm going to do a gallery of Kirby horses. Either that or start a Ditko weblog...

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Published 1960

New Kirby - Cap Masterworks v2 and Milestones

At least two Marvel books with Kirby reprints in the past week, a Masterworks hardcover with with MODOK. I mention that just because I seem to get at least one hit every week from people searching for MODOK. And another in their Milestones line of cheaper reprints has two samples of Kirby featuring the origins of two of his most memorable villains.

Did anyone see a copy of the tradepaperback with the FF movie (featuring characters co-created by Jack Kirby) adaptation and various reprints? I could use some confirmation on which, if any, Kirby stories they picked for it. I assume the origin or something with Doom?

update: I'm told it has FF #5, the first Doom story

Who loves seconds? We love seconds—a second sensational serving of the Sentinel of Liberty! Yes, that’s right, the Mighty Minions of Marvel are chipping the next Cap Masterworks free from its icy fifteen-year slumber and you’re invited to the homecoming party. So strap on your shield and prepare for a barrage of Stan and Jack’s best as Cap (with a little help from his friends, the Avengers) battles a bevy of baddies like the strange Super-Adaptoid—the super-powered robot with the combined powers of the Avengers. And if an android passing himself off as Cap was as odious as you thought, the Red Skull tries to convince the people of America that Cap’s turned traitor. Yikes! Don’t crawl into your fallout shelter in shame, though. Our boy will bounce back to take on a hearty helping of that horrendous head, M.O.D.O.K.., in his first-ever appearance, before taking it home in a scintillating struggle against Baron Zemo, guest-starring Nick Fury, the Black Panther and Cap's super-spy gal, Sharon Carter! Reserve your star-spangled copy today! Collecting TALES OF SUSPENSE #82-99 and CAPTAIN AMERICA (VOL. 1) #100
240 PGS. / $49.99
ISBN: 0-7851-1785-7

It’s SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP revisited as MARVEL MILESTONES brings on the bad guys! In a special preview of this month’s MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE SUB-MARINER VOL. 1, Prince Namor fights single-handed the world’s first deep-sea blitzkrieg, from SUB-MARINER COMICS #1! Plus: the fantastic origin of Dr. Doom from FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #2, and the first appearance of the Red Skull from CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1!
48 PGS. / $3.99