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

Thursday, July 14, 2005

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.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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

4 comments:

Axel M. Gruner said...

Are there any copies of the first inked version? Is there any significant difference? What was Barda like in Royers first go?

bob said...

[I modified the post slightly as I thought the description of what happened to the Barda faces was unclear on re-reading]

I don't think the version Royer inked originally has ever been seen. The descriptions I've read are unclear if the revisions were done by paste-ups or directly on the original art using the photocopies as guides, but I assume paste-ups (otherwise why cut them out?). Anyone ever see a Barda page from this issue? Are the revisions intact?

Anonymous said...

I believe the original version was published in an issue of the Jack Kirby Collector.

Nick Caputo

bob said...

Do you mean the original of the cover, or of some of the interiors as Royer inked Barda initially? I don't recall seeing those, and I usually remember when they have art that varies from the printed version.