Archival Site 2004-2006 see See

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fantastic Four #200 - Cover

FANTASTIC FOUR #200 - November 1978, inked by Joe Sinnott. The last time Kirby would draw the FF for Marvel (although he would draw story-boards for a cartoon after this, and some of those boards would be taken and turned into a comic a few years later). A simple enough cover, but effective. Shame it only has one of the four team members, though. Nice that we got one final Doom cover by Kirby, though.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #138 - The Big Boom

This issue concludes the big battle with the Four-Armed Terror, unleashed on The Project by the Evil Factory. The Terror is a great villainous monster, which is probably why Kirby did a bunch of sketches with various characters (including the Hulk) battling him.

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This story has a 15-minute countdown to the blow-up at the Project's atomic power plant as the Terror closes in, and Superman has to race through to stop it, while the Guardian and adult version of the Newsboy Legion are in pursuit. The funniest part of the issue is probably the scene with Morgan Edge, being told to flee the city by his Intergang contacts, not caring at all about anyone on his staff.

It's exciting stuff, but a bit off. Kirby originally had some other plans for this storyline, which apparently didn't match what DC had planned in their other books. Mark Evanier eventually used some of those plans as the basis for his LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #14 story with Steve Rude a few years back.

Vince Colletta inks the 23-page story, with the Superman characters adjusted by Murphy Anderson. Neal Adams inks the cover, which features one of Kirby's collages, looking much better on cover stock than they usually did on newsprint (including the two-page spread with a collage in this issue).

Published 1971

This story is available in JIMMY OLSEN ADVENTURES BY JACK KIRBY v1.

Upcoming Kirby - TJKC #46

Details on another issue of the KIRBY COLLECTOR are up on the TwoMorrows site. Looks like a lot of fun for the Fourth World fans.

80 pages - Tabloid Format

He’s got the whole Fourth World in his hands in JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #46, as this issue focuses on Kirby’s FOREVER PEOPLE, NEW GODS, and perhaps Jack’s greatest villain, Darkseid! Also included is a rare interview with KIRBY, MARK EVANIER’s regular column, two FOURTH WORLD pencil art galleries (including Kirby’s redesigns for SUPER POWERS), a never-reprinted 1950s story, an interview with Kirby Award winner and family friend MARTY LASICK, a new Kirby Darkseid front cover inked by MIKE ROYER, a Kirby Forever People back cover inked by JOHN BYRNE, and more! Edited by John Morrow.

Two-Gun Kid #56 - Cover

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

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bombast #1 - Cover

BOMBAST #1, April 1993 - The characters for the Topps Kirbyverse comics were taken from unused character designs that Kirby had done some time prior, so the covers taken from those designs are are a bit bland, with just the figures on a crackly background rather than any story-related content. But they still work, with a nice kinetic pose on this Bombast figure (okay, so it kind of looks like a bowling pose) and some nice bold solid linework. The character always looked to me me like something right in the middle of the Eternals and the New Gods. Don't know who inked this piece, but it's well done.

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Incredible Hulk Annual #5 - Cover

INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #5 cover, 1976, inked by Jack Abel (with some re-drawing of the monsters apparently by John Romita) - Neat to see Kirby drawing a bunch of the old monsters again, even for just some small figures on a cover. Groot and "Titan" (originally of course called the Hulk) are in especially fine form, if not quite coloured as they were originally.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Airboy Comics v4#4 - Cover

AIRBOY v4#4, 1947, Simon&Kirby, published by Hillman - Bit odd, S&K draw the title character on this issue, while none of the actual stories they drew in subsequent issues featured Airboy, but were "Link Thorne, Flying Fool" stories. Nice cover, I like those alligators, and the shading effect on the water.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #2 - Death-Hive U.S.A.

The first half of this issue is most of the original proposed CAPTAIN VICTORY #1 from the 1970s (except a few pages that were in #1), and the second half is from the pages that were added when the story was expanded to a proposed 50-page graphic novel, before finally being published by Pacific for the then-emerging direct market. Pick up the CAPTAIN VICTORY GRAPHITE EDITION for more details.

It's interesting to read this imagining it as a first issue, without the background that was in the first issue. It does seem Kirby originally planned to jump right into the story, with the Insecton invasion already underway and starting with Victory's first encounter with the law on Earth.

In this story, Victory goes with the local sheriff to check out an Insecton body they have at the morgue, which promptly self destructs. Meanwhile, the other Rangers face a small Insecton force, while in Spartanville the Insecton's use their devices to take mental control of the population to use as workers and hostages.

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Victory orders the Tiger to seal off the area with an experimental negative barrier, which the Insectons manage to weaken by sacrificing some hostages and soldiers in a frontal assault while the Lightning Lady prepares a new type of Insecton.

Mike Royer inks the 25-page story and Mike Thibodeaux inks the front cover and backcover, which has headshots and brief blurbs on the major members of the main Rangers. The Kirby checklist credits Royer with inks on the alternate cover on the inside cover, but it looks a little flat to me compared to the other Royer inks.

Published 1982

Star Spangled Comics #38 - Cover

STAR SPANGLED COMICS #38, 1944, was from the era when Simon and Kirby were 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 many of the covers were these kind of wartime propaganda style cover, usually these playful kinds obviously designed to appeal to the kids on the homefront. The enthusiastic looks on the kids' faces are a nice touch.

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Rawhide Kid #33 - 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, I like the texture on the rocks in particular. Dick Ayers inks.

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Nova #5 - 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. I always think "robo-clown" when I first see this cover rather than "drilling machine". Looks like good goofy fun, I guess, especially with the crowds fleeing / crowds in peril look so common in the old monster books.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

World of Fantasy #19 - Cover

One of the not quite so long-lived Marvel monster books, this issue at least had a pretty cool Kirby monster, apparently inked by Christopher Rule. Very weird look on the monster's face, he looks a bit tired of this rampaging lifestyle he finds himself trapped in.

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Published 1959

Mystic Comics #7 - Cover

One of Simon&Kirby's non-Captain America covers at Timely, with some cool monsters coming out of the Trunk of Terror. And Hitler, too. The Destroyer is one of those characters who didn't seem to catch on, though he did last for a while in various wartime books. I think it was the striped pants.

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Published 1941

Admin - That feeling of deja vu

If a lot of the entries in the near future seem familiar, I'm going to be re-posting some of the covers I'd previously including in multi-cover gallery posts so I have a unique URL for each one, and maybe adding a few more detailed comments.

Love Romances #91 - Cover

Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta provide the cover for this Marvel romance comic. I really like the movie poster style on this one, with just a hint of what the actual story might be about. This is one of my favourite of the roughly two dozen romance covers Kirby did at Marvel.

Update from the comments, the background figure is actually taken from Kirby's cover to LR #85, and it's not clear if the foreground figures are original or modified from a Kirby drawing or from elsewhere. Let us know what you think.

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Published 1961

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Kirby - Marvel Monsterworks

Out this week, Marvel Masterworks: Tales to Astonish Vol. 1, a reprint of the first 10 issues of the series from 1959/1960. Eight stories, nine covers by Kirby, plus lots of other interesting stuff.

Go here for more on the book, including previews of many pages.

Marvel's Greatest Comics #29

Image hosting by PhotobucketWith this issue MGC went from a general Marvel reprint title to all FF all the time, two stories per issue. Bit of an oddity in the transition, instead of continuing chronologically from where #28 left off (FF #36) this one goes back and reprints FF #12 (which had somehow skipped being reprinted before this) and FF #31 (which had just been reprinted in MGC #23 a year before). The chronological reprints resume next issue.

Anyway, from FF #12 (1963) is "The Incredible Hulk", first published the same month as HULK #6, the final issue of the series. Apparently there was some confusion going on, as Kirby draws the Hulk with less than the regulation number of fingers and toes throughout the story, perhaps thinking of the Thing.

The story opens with Ben and Alicia walking home from the symphony when Ben is attacked by the army, who for some reason were looking for the Hulk in New York, and obviously had a bad description. The army is called off when a captain realizes the mistake, and later Thunderbolt Ross recruits the FF to destroy the Hulk, who seems to be destroying various missile installations. The FF take the newly redesigned Fantasti-Car to the desert, where they meet Bruce Banner and Rick Jones. Rick is soon taken hostage by the real saboteur, forcing Banner to become the Hulk and try to drive the FF out of the area, leading to the first Hulk/Thing battle, which is unfortunately short and inconclusive thanks to outside interference.

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Dick Ayers inks the 23-page story.

"The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man" is a 21-page Kirby/Stone reprint from FF #31 (1964), previously posted on from the original. Still a good story leading up to the best era of FF, although the reproduction of a few pages in this and the first story leaves a lot to be desired.

This issue also has a 6-page "photo album" feature, taking various pin-ups and panels from the history of the FF, with notes from Sue. The cover is the Kirby/Ayers cover from FF #12.

Published 1970

Monday, January 23, 2006

Fear #6 - The Midnight Monster

A 7-page Kirby/Ayers reprint from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #79 (1962) leads this collection of reprints. This is a variation on the Jeckyll/Hyde story, with a brilliant but arrogant scientist developing a serum which makes plants and animals immortal, but also makes them huge and monstrous. When his affections are spurned by a young woman he vows revenge, and tries the serum on himself.

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For the record, this was originally published the month before HULK #1.

He goes on a cross-country rampage looking for that engineer who he thinks stole his woman, only to eventually fall into a trap, a deep hole constructed by that same engineer, not even realizing that he was being pursued (though you'd think he might have heard from either his old room-mate or teacher, who the monster threatened in pursuit of him, but maybe he actually killed them both between the panels).

Nice short story, both for the variation on the Hulk concept and some of the staging, like the final scene where the monster is falling down the pit.

Published 1972

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Boy Commandos v2 #1

A pair of 12-page S&K reprint BC stories from 1942 in this issue.

"The Sphinx Speaks" is the third BC story, from DETECTIVE #66 (1942), and opens with a framing sequence set in the future (just as the second BC story has a framing sequence in the past). A thousand years in the future, a reporter is sent to do a story on a recently unearthed mummy. The mummy comes to life, talking like a New Yorker from the 1940s, which means he must have met Brooklyn, and indeed he did. The Commandos were in Egypt, disguised as part of a trading caravan and invading a Nazi-held town.

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During the attack, Brooklyn hides in the case of a mummy as part of an ambush, which is how the mummy of our framing sequence picked up the story and his accent. Not quite sure what the point of the framing bit was, other than to give S&K something else fanciful to draw, but it was worth it for that

"Heroes Never Die" is from a few months later, one of the stories from BOY COMMANDOS #1 (1942). Rip Carter and the boys find themselves in China, helping in the fight against the Japanese invaders. An old man recognizes Rip as the return of the legendary "White Dragon" from 100 years before, and tells Rip and the boys the story of an American marine who put together a rag-tag bunch of foreigners, including four young boys who resemble the Boy Commandos, and battled against bandits and warlords, finally dying and promising to return in a time of need.

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The old man, who was the original Captain Carter's lieutenant, dies after recounting his story, content that the "White Dragon" has returned, and Rip remembers that there was an ancestor of his who sailed across the Pacific and was never heard from again. Like his ancestor, Rip vows to free China, one city at a time.

One of the reasons Boy Commandos is my favourite of the S&K features from DC in the 1940s is the wide variety of stories and locales, and this is a good example.

The splash page claims this is fictionalized but based on a true historical figure, an American marine who was "the Chiang Kai-Shek of his time... who to this day is revered in China as a saint". Anyone know if there really is such a story, or if this was all made up?

The cover is a modified version of the original BC #1 cover, with the original V-formation planes in the background removed and replaced with various nazi guns pointing at the Commandos in the foreground.

Published 1973

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Marvel Super Action #8 - Cap Goes Wild

Image hosting by PhotobucketWho knew that George had two brothers who preceded him into the "sci-fix epic" field?

This reprints the story from CAPTAIN AMERICA #106 (1968), where some agents of a foreign nation manage to steal the plans for the new and improved Life Model Decoys (LMDs) from SHIELD. Cap fails to stop them, and a SHIELD agent also informs him that the Lucus brothers in Hollywood are making a film with footage showing him shooting an unarmed prisoner during WWII. Cap winds up fighting an LMD version of himself on the set of the Lucus film.

Lots of good random craziness in this issue, as well as some great fights. I like all the little details on the set of the film, weird costumes and creatures, and the full page splash of the LMD creating machine is one of those magnificent Kirby techno-nightmare creations.

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Frank Giacoia inks the edited-to-18-page story, and the cover, which is flipped left-to-right and slightly touched up for the reprint. Looked pretty interesting, as some of the inking seemed to evoke 1950s Kirby more than his usual late-1960s work.

Published 1978

Upcoming Kirby - April 2006

As previously mentioned TwoMorrows has another book to add to your COLLECTED JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR collection. And Greg Theakston has another book scheduled (I'll try to get an update on COMPLETE v5), this one of some of Kirby's earliest work, which was just sampled in the earlier COMPLETE KIRBY v1.

Collected Jack Kirby Collector - Volume 5
Edited by John Morrow

Reprints JKC #20, 21 & 22 plus 30 pieces of Kirby art never before published!

Kirby fans demanded more, so this fifth volume is a gargantuan 224-page trade paperback, reprinting the sold-out issues #20-22 of The Jack Kirby Collector, the critically-acclaimed magazine for Kirby fans! Included are the “Kirby’s Women,” “Wackiest Work,” and “Villains” issues, featuring three unseen interviews with Jack Kirby, plus new ones with Jack’s daughter LISA KIRBY, and industry pros DAVE STEVENS, GIL KANE, BRUCE TIMM STEVE RUDE, and MIKE MIGNOLA! PLUS: see a complete ten-page unpublished Kirby story still in pencil! Jack’s mind-blowing original pencils to FANTASTIC FOUR #49 (from the fabled Galactus trilogy)! An analysis comparing Kirby’s margin notes to Stan Lee’s dialogue on classic Marvel comics! And a NEW special section with over 30 pieces of Kirby art never before published, including Jack’s uninked pencils from The Demon, Forever People, Jimmy Olsen, Kamandi, Eternals, Captain America, Black Panther, and more! With page after page of rare Kirby art (much in its original pencil form), and a dynamite KIRBY/DAVE STEVENS cover, it’s a celebration of the most prolific creator in comics history: Jack “King” Kirby!
Softcover, 8x11, 224pgs, B&W $25

by Jack Kirby
160 pages of Jack Kirby’s earliest work, including the rarest of rare examples of "Your Health Comes First," "Facts You Never Knew," editorial cartoons, Socko the Seadog, and the complete Blue Beetle. These are impossible to find, and collected for your reading pleasure in one package. An introduction by Kirby historian Greg Theakston.
Softcover, 8x11, 160pgs, B&W $25

Friday, January 20, 2006

Silver Star #5 - The World According to Drumm

The penultimate chapter of the "Visual Novel" first sees Morgan have Elmo Frye use his powers to erase any film recording of their battle as giants from the previous issue, and then Morgan enters the world of Darius Drumm for their big confrontation. In Drumm's world, Norma is still being held captive, and there's an army of pseudo-Drumms who practice his philosophy of "self-denial". Morgan and Norma are able to take them easily, earning some sarcastic clapping from Drumm:

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Drumm then reveals his ultimate goal is to scour the Earth that spawned his hated father, setting up the big "Angel of Death" finale.

Like all of this series, this issue is kind of uneven. Several clever ideas, a few weird bits of humour that work and a few nice visuals, but other bits fall flat, or don't quite seem to convey what Kirby was hoping they would.

D. Bruce Berry inks the cover and 20-page story

Remember, TwoMorrows releases the Silver Star Graphite Edition later this year.

Published 1983

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Kirby - Green Arrow and Hulk

Two new Kirby reprints out this week.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS - GREEN ARROW VOL. 1 has all of Kirby's 1950s GA stories, in black and white, plus another decade of GA stories after that.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS - THE INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 3 has the last few stories that Kirby did layouts for the Hulk in TALES TO ASTONISH, plus a few covers beyond that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Admin - Ditko Weblog

I recently started a Ditko weblog to go with this Kirby one, and now that I have enough entries to give a feel for the variety of material I figured I'd announce it officially. I'll probably only post one or two entries on it a week until I exhaust my supply of material for this weblog.

To keep this on-topic here, this entry is about a Kirby/Ditko collaboration.

Not Brand Echh #10

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI'd love to see a straight FF story where Doc Doom just suddenly attacks with that pose. That goes on my list of funniest Kirby panels ever.

NOT BRAND ECHH #10 reprints some of the highlights from the first few issues of the series, including three 8-page Kirby stories from 1967. The first two are inked by Frank Giacoia and the third is by Tom Sutton.

"The Silver Burper", from the debut issue of NOT BRAND ECHH, is the strongest of the three stories, primarily a parody of the Doom/Surfer story that run in FF not long before it's initial publication. Kirby's art is pretty out-there and absurd in self-parody, in particular anything with "Doctor Bloom", such as the scenes where he's trying to convince the Burper that he's a good guy. And of course the face-off between Weed and Bloom, with the classic "I own a hundred pair of stretch socks".

Both this story and the one it parodies are going to be in the upcoming VISIONARIES JACK KIRBY v2 collection.

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"The Origin of Sore, Son of Shmodin" is from ECHH #3, which I covered before. Still funny stuff, this time around I was most amused by Shmodin, in particular the last scene of him coming to Earth and dancing.

Finally, from ECHH #5, "The Origin of Forbush-Man the Way-Out Wonder". I'm not as fond of this one. Looks like either Kirby's contribution is a lot looser, or Tom Sutton takes a lot more liberties with it, but either way the styles don't really compliment each other. And the jokes still come a mile-a-minute but the laughs at a much slower pace. I'm not sure why anyone ever thought the name "Forbush" was inherently interesting, but then I never quite got Kurtzman's fascination with the name "Melvin".

Published 1968

Monday, January 16, 2006

Demon #14 - Witchboy

Klarion the Witchboy, along with his pet cat Teekl return to make Jason Blood's life miserable in this first of a two-part story. First they invade his dreams, making him have a horrific vision of Etrigan in Hell, including a great two page spread of Gargora, a Medusa-like demon of a thousand heads. After Blood awakens, Klarion gathers together six undead witnesses for his spell which creates a doppelganger of Blood, who plans to take his place.

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The rest of the issue has Blood, changed to Etrigan, going out and saving his friends from attacks by the false Blood, while slowly fading away from existence, until finally he's no more than a phantom.

Mike Royer inks the 20-page story and cover, with some uncredited assistance from Bill Stout that Royer mentioned in a few interviews.

Published 1973

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Thor #152 - The Dilemma of Dr. Blake

Oddly, despite the title of the story, Thor is Thor throughout the tale, never changing to Blake once. Anyway, he continues his battle with the Destroyer, not realizing that Sif's lifeforce is powering the creature. Fortunately, Balder's able to get Norn Queen to release Sif in exchange for battling Ulik, and then Thor is brought in for the rest of the battle, winning in the end but losing his hammer to Loki. As for the Destroyer, Odin goes down to Earth and picks him up from the police station. No real reason given for why he'd do that personally, but it does give the amusing spectacle of Odin in a suit for a few panels.

Ulik is a great villain, very much in the "pure savagery" style that Kirby would perfect with Kalibak a few years later. Great to see him and Thor in a knock-down fight.

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In the back-up is the final 5-page Inhumans story, "While the City Shrieks", Triton arrives in New York, only to see the city respond with fear and violence. He returns home and convinces Black Bolt that they'll have to move from their island home or risk eventual discovery, hence the mountain location of the "Great Refuge" in then-modern stories.

Colletta inks the 16-page lead story and cover, Sinnott inks the back-up.

Published 1968

--Link-- Old Kirby - F.O.O.G. Portfolio

Via Tom Spurgeon, Bud Plant has a warehouse find of the 1982 F.O.O.G. Portfolio (Friends of Old Gerber), which comes wrapped in a Kirby/Alcala Destroyer Duck envelope, on sale for just $10.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Upcoming Kirby - Marvel Romance contents

Over on the Marvel Masterworks Message Board a Marvel editor has posted the contents of the upcoming MARVEL ROMANCE collection. A little bit less Kirby than I was hoping for (since they only include a Colan story from LOVE ROMANCES #101, none of the three Kirby stories), but still five stories, four never reprinted, one not in over 30 years, so that's okay, as is the healthy amount of Colan and Buscema work. And apparently some of this art is taken from some recently discovered original art, so it should look sharp.

"The Summer Must End!"
From Teen-Age Romance #84 (November 1961)

"By Love Betrayed!"
"Give Back My Heart!"
From Love Romances #102 (November 1962)

"The Dream World of Doris Wilson!"
"If Your Heart I Break---"
From Love Romances #103 (January 1963)

Super Powers #5 - Spaceship Earth We're All On It

After just providing covers and plots for the first four issues, Kirby writes and draws the finale of this series that promoted the line of action figures. In his Kirby-like way, though, the story that promises "final combat with Darkseid" on the cover never actually has the heroes face Darkseid. Instead, as Darkseid prepares to unleash his four armies on Earth, out heroes and villains are whisked through various worlds by Metron, including one interesting one in a two-page spread where the skeletal remains of some giants lie, in order to evade Darkseid's detection. Finally he places them all (including Robin, who was yanked in from the JLA satellite at the last minute to make sure everyone with an action figure was present) in a brain booster powered by the mysterious Worlogog...

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...which enables him to use the remains of the extra powers Darkseid gave the villains to divert and destroy Darkseid's armies. I wonder if the Brain Booster™ playset comes with a Worlogog™ or you have to buy it separately?

So not the big battle climax you'd expect, which is nice, although in all this series is just a bit of a diversion, a little bit better than you have a right to expect from a toy tie-in, but still a trifle.

Greg Theakston inks the cover and 25-page story.

Published 1984

Friday, January 13, 2006

Machine Man #6 - Quick Trick

This issue concludes the battle with alien robot invader Ten-For, as Machine Man is convinced to fight for Earth by a cab driver, Barney Bates, thanks to some words of wisdom about pie. I'm sure Kirby meant something more profound by it, but I can never read that scene ("I'm not tellin' you your business, Machine Man, but if you save the pie, you've got the thanks of Barney Bates") and not think I'm reading the world's longest Hostess ad. A lot of the dialogue in this issue is pretty strange, actually. "I never dance at funerals -- especially when the corpse is still warm", "I've a right to singe their ears with napalm"

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Mike Royer inks the 17-page story. Kirby's cover for the issue wasn't used, it appears in KIRBY COLLECTOR #15, and Walt Simonson does a good job on the published cover, I think the only non-Kirby cover to appear on one of Kirby's new 1970s Marvel comics.

Published 1978

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Champ Comics #21 - Cover

Another of the almost two dozen Harvey covers from the early 1940s attributed to Kirby, this one featuring the Liberty Lads on the attack. I'm not sure about the extent of the Kirby involvement in some of those (after I've posted them all I'll do a post about those whole set of them), but this one definitely seems to have a heavy Kirby hand, especially on the foreground Lad. I also really like both the inking and colouring effects on the water.

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Published 1941

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Kirby - MACHINE MAN #1 reprint

Just released, to tie in with the membership of some new Marvel team book, MARVEL MILESTONES SPECIAL: BLOODSTONE, X-51 & CAPTAIN MARVEL II, with a reprint of the first issue of MACHINE MAN from 1978 among other things. Not his first appearance, of course, but that'll require re-acquiring some rights.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kid Colt Outlaw #97 - Cover

Here's a good Kirby/Ayers cover from around the middle of Kirby's run as cover artist on the book. The convicts in the foreground look really good, I think, nice scruffy effect on their beards and hair. And how nice of the guards to let the Kid keep his colourful outfit in the big house.

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Published 1961

Monday, January 09, 2006

Black Magic (DC) #6 - Girl Who Walked on Water

One 6-page S&K reprint in this issue, from BLACK MAGIC #11[v2n5] (1952). Two guys in a mail order firm discover a young girl who is able to walk on water or up walls, simply because she doesn't believe there's any reason she shouldn't be able to.

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They see the money-making possibilities in this immediately, but unfortunately before they're able to arrange a demonstration for the press a young neighbour of the girl sees her walking down a wall and attempts the same thing, getting badly injured. This shakes her confidence so the next time she tried water-walking she has, for the first time, the idea in her mind that she might sink, and so of course does.

A clever little story, with a lot of nice visual touches, including a really great panel where one of the men has to rescue the drowning girl at the end, plus the little details in the girl's cramped little apartment. Some funny captions, as well, like "my thoughts ran wild and merged and frothed and hissed like soapsuds lurching from one side to the other of my reeling brain".

Published 1974

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Monsters on the Prowl #9

The first issue of this series, taking over the numbering from CHAMBER OF DARKNESS, features two Kirby reprints, both 7-pagers inked by Steve Ditko. Up first is "I Discovered Gorgilla", from TALES TO ASTONISH #12 (1960).

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Giant apes battling dinosaurs, gee, where else have we seen that?

Anyway, this story involves a group of scientists tracking down rumours of the missing link between apes and men in the mountains of Borneo. The succeed beyond all expectations when they find a living example in Gorgilla, but decide to leave him there when he saves them from a dinosaur also on the island, seemingly sensing his distant kinship with the humans. Y'know, the dinosaur would seem to be an even greater find than the missing link, and is just lying there dead for the taking, but I guess these guys specialize and have trouble seeing beyond their field (and I just realized that's a bit of a flaw in KING KONG. You find an island with a large ape and with dinosaurs, and you make a big fuss about the ape?).

Also this issue, "Kraggoom", from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #78 (1962). It seems there's a sort of shapeless creature waiting out in space, where he was exiled centuries ago by his people after trying to conquer the Earth. He waits for the day that mankind goes out in space and he can possess and control the first astronaut and continue his interrupted conquest. Fortunately for the Earth, the first astronaut turns out to be a spoiled rich guy who buys his way into the astronaut program, faking his test scores, so at the same time he's possessed by Kraggoom he panics and loses all memory, repressing Kraggoom in the process.

Two pretty decent examples of some of the shorter monster stories that Kirby did, one big and loud and the other a quiet, moodier, more psychological story a clever twist ending. Ditko's inks look good on both, although they suit the second one more (I always prefer Ayers on the rampaging monster type stories).

The cover is a slightly modified version of the Kirby/Ayers cover to TtA #12.

Published 1971

Strange Tales #139 - The Brave Die Hard

As part of the revolving door of art teams for the first year of SHIELD stories, Joe Sinnott takes a turn at finishing Kirby's layouts for this 12-page story, where we find Nick prisoner of Hydra, who are holding the world hostage to their orbital bomb. Tony Stark has developed a Braino-Saur, which can diffuse the bomb, while Dum Dum and Gabe lead the rescue mission for Nick.

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Of course, Fury isn't sitting still, and manages to use his explosive shirt and Hydra's high-tech meals to blow his prison, and escape with the help of the Supreme Hydra's daughter. Very James Bond of him.

I like Sinnott's work here, although I'm more glad he didn't stick with SHIELD and continued inking FF for the next few years.

This issue also has one of the more unusual Marvel covers of the 1960s. They took a stat of the splash page, and the cover has a Doctor Strange figure (I believe by Marie Severin) holding it. I wonder if there was a real cover done that wasn't used for some reason? I don't think one has ever shown up in the fanzines.

Published 1965

Captain America #193 - The Madbomb - Screamer in the Brain

Kirby's big return to one of his greatest creations is trumpted on the cover like very few credits at Marvel ever had been before ("King Kirby is Back -- And Greater Than Ever"). This issue starts the "Madbomb" story that would carry the book up to #200, as Cap and the Falcon first find themselves in the middle of a spontanious riot in the middle of the city, the result of an experimental device, powered by an artificial brain which induces madness, from a secret organization that SHIELD has been tracking, without much luck. A SHIELD agent brings Cap and the Falcon in to help, but not before they're made to run a "Panic Course" in order to prove their identities.

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Passing the course in record time, of course, they're now cleared to be briefed by Henry Kissinger (yeah, I always thought that was a bit weird), who informs them that after a few trial runs, like the one they witnessed, the enemy is planning an attack with a "Big Daddy" Madbomb the size of a house, powerful enough destroy the US.

I really like this issue, and the whole storyline, just so bold and full of non-stop action and new ideas. I'm glad it was finally reprinted a while back.

Frank Giacoia inks the 18-page story, while John Romita inks the cover.

Published 1976

An aside, I just checked my hitcounter and saw I passed 100,000 sometime in the past week, since I added the counter about a year ago. Pretty modest by some weblog standards, but 250-300 hits a day is more than I ever expected. Thanks to everyone who dropped by and everyone who linked to this place, it's always appreciated.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Marvel's Greatest Comics #66 - The Name is Doom

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Heh, Doom cracks me up in this issue. Although I'm never clear if he's supposed to be delusional or intentionally ironic in these kinds of scenes.

Anyway, returning from their adventure with the Inhumans, the FF (with Crystal subbing for new mother Sue) are intercepted by Nick Fury and recruited for a mission to find out about a rumoured robot army being amassed somewhere in Europe. That naturally takes them to Latveria, where they're captured by Doom's robots, hypnotized to prevent the use of their powers and placed in a seemingly peaceful village, where Doom plans to toy with them.

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Doom really makes this issue, there are a lot of great scenes with him, showing off his arrogant royal bearing, and it's always good to see that outdated but still charming version of Old Europe that Kirby drew.

Joe Sinnott inks the story, which thanks to some creative editing of the early scenes now clocks in at 18 pages, as well as the reprint cover, which is among my favourite FF covers.

Published 1976

Sgt. Fury #19 - Cover

Boy, how does Fury get himself in these situations. Grabbing onto a WWI bi-plane in a fight against nazis? No wonder SHIELD recruited him. Love that Dum Dum figure in the corner.

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Inking credit on this one is unknown. The Kirby Checklist has Chic Stone, which definitely seems wrong. The GCD has Carl Hubbell (who inked a few interior FURY stories around this time as well) listed with a question mark, replacing their earlier Stone credit.

Published 1965

Invaders #4 - Cover

Cap, the Torch and Namor battle nazis on the high seas in this early INVADERS cover. My favourite bit is the flipped over nazi that Cap has just decked. Frank Giacoia inks the image.

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The art for this cover is currently being auctioned at Heritage Comics, already out of most people's price range, I'm sure. Check their site for a large scan, which is missing the cover blurb so you get some more details on U-Man's leg.

Published 1976

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Fantastic Four #171 - Cover

"Not just another giant gorilla story", that's a classic bit of comics hype there. I especially love the texture around Gorr's fingers and toes.

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Joe Sinnott inks, with some modifications by John Romita.

Published 1976

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Marvel Super-Heroes #32 - Trapped in the Lair of the Leader

This reprints the Hulk story from TALES TO ASTONISH #69 (1965), slightly out of sequence since the HULK SPECIAL that reprinted the following issues had already come out. Mike Esposito inks the 10-page story, using the "Demeo" pen-name. Typical Hulk story of the era, he gets captured by fellow gamma-green freak the Leader, who is stealing a military device which absorbs radiation, while the army is in pursuit. Fortunately the Hulk makes a timely rampage, knowing from the Banner part of his mind that he has to destroy the device, though he reverts to Banner and appears to die as the army closes in, despite Rick Jones' attempt to stop them.

These are some great rampaging Hulk images on this page, aren't they?

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Published 1972

Monday, January 02, 2006

Heroes Against Hunger #1 - A Song of Pain and Sorrow

Jack Kirby did a 2-page segment featuring Superman and Lex Luthor in this benefit book for African famine relief efforts, inked by Al Milgrom and written by Ed Hannigan. Some nice super-action against a cosmic menace.

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Published 1986