Archival Site 2004-2006 see See

Friday, March 31, 2006

Next Issue -- A Weblog Dies!!!

Stay tuned, true believers!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Strange Tales #129 - Cover

Surprisingly, I really like Chic Stone's inks on the Thing on this cover. I usually think his Thing inking is the weakest part of his FF inks from this era, but on this example (and a lot of the other covers) it seems to work better. Good cover overall, not the greatest villains ever, but the layout gives even them a nice sense of menace. I also really like the sense of depth Kirby gives the layouts.

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Published 1965

Monday, March 27, 2006

--Link-- Spirit World review

Steve Thompson takes a look at Jack Kirby's SPIRIT WORLD, one of the two black and white (or blue and white in this case) magazines that DC released in the early 1970s.

Champion Comics #9 - Cover

Dated July 1940 CHAMPION COMICS #9 from Harvey features Duke O'Dowd as the Human Meteor. More importantly, it has the distinction of being the first Jack Kirby penciled cover (when it was reprinted in THE COMPLETE JACK KIRBY v1 Greg Theakston described it as "mostly penciled by Kirby") and tied with BLUE BOLT #2 from Novelty Press as his first collaboration with Joe Simon, who inked this cover.

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It's a nice dynamic piece, very open and clear, you can already see hints of the later trademark S&K style of clothing folds and muscles.

Published 1940

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Journey Into Mystery #92 - Cover

Another Thor cover from before Kirby took over the interiors for the series full-time. I always like the way Kirby poses Loki, always very confident and sinister.

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The Kirby Checklist credits this one to George Roussos, but I'm not sure about that one. I'm going to have to compare it to some other Roussos from the period.

Published 1963

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Stupid question

Was Fin Fang Foom coloured orange or green in the first printing of his story in STRANGE TALES #89? I know he's green on the cover, but can anyone confirm the interior?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Showcase Presents The House of Mystery #1 - The Negative Man

First published in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #84 [1959], then reprinted in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #194 [1971], now the 8-page "The Negative Man" is reprinted in SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY #1, along with 538 other pages of comics from the first 21 issues of the series edited by Joe Orlando from 1968 to 1971.

In this story, two scientists build a miniature town to test their power transmission through radio waves device. A loose watch straps makes all the energy go through one of the men, creating a negative energy duplicate of him.

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The negative being goes on a rampage, until the original scientist plans to sacrifice himself to destroy it. Fortunately for him, what he didn't know was the secret of the negative being which made it afraid of him.

I really like what I've read of the Kirby stories from DC in this period, and it looks really sharp in this book (except for the enlarged gutters they would put in reprints back in the early 1970s). That first panel in the scan is just really evocative and does a great job of capturing movement on a comic page.

Great book overall, too, maybe my favourite book in DC's new SHOWCASE PRESENTS line so far, thanks to the sheer variety of great artists from that era, with much better reproduction than the stories got the first time around.

Published 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Own Romance #75 - Cover

I think there was some rule that said Kirby had to do at least one artist/model themed romance cover for every publisher he did romance comics for. This is the one from Marvel, featuring a very leggy model making a play for the artist in the background, who seems to fill his studio with a lot of sexy women. What would Roz have thought if Kirby tried that?

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Inked by Colletta.

Published 1960

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thor #253 - Cover

Another of Kirby's many covers for various Marvel books in the mid-1970s, this one inked by John Verpoorten with some Romita credited as well. Ulik is a pretty cool villain from the 1960s, so it's good to see him again, epecially with those crazy eyes. And the good old "ominous shadow" layout is nice, especially with that texture on the rocky surface.

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Published 1976

New Kirby - Marvel Visionaries Jack Kirby v2

Shipping to comic stores this week is MARVEL VISIONARIES - JACK KIRBY v2, almost 350 pages of Kirby reprints, some never seen since their original publication. Contains selections from:

Captain America Comics #1; Marvel Mystery Comics #23; Yellow Claw #4; Strange Tales #89, 114; Two-Gun Kid #60; Love Romances #103; X-Men #9; Tales of Suspense #59; Sgt. Fury #13; Fantastic Four #57-60; Not Brand Echh #1; Thor #154-157; Devil Dinosaur #1.

My impression of the choice of contents was posted here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

--Link-- Self promotion

Yeah, linking to my own other weblog, how gauche.

Inspired by comments on a recent post, I've started a little gallery of creators being credited on comic book covers prior to 1980. Of course, most of the examples I know off-hand are Kirby (Don't Ask! Just Buy It!) and S&K, but there are some other interesting ones. Let me know about the many I probably missed.

Mister Miracle #17 - Murder Lodge

Scott, Barda and Shilo stop by an out-of-the-way lodge while their car is being repaired, and it turns out to be filled with death-traps, trick-beds that flip you into trap doors and the like. Fortunately, while Scott and Barda are caught unawares, Shilo manages to escape the traps and use some of the training he's gotten from Scott and Barda to rescue them.

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Then it gets weird as we find out the intended targets of the trap were "The Tricky Trio", mobsters who look a lot like out heroes, so Scott&Co. have to take out both the innkeeper (who makes a business of offering sanctuary to criminals on the run and then double-crossing them) and their doppelgangers before calling in the police.

A nice diversion, the series was mostly treading water for a few issues right before the end, and I thought having Scott and Barda getting taken so easily was a kind of transparent excuse to give Shilo the spotlight, but otherwise it has some good bits, in particular the weird twist with the doppelgangers.

Mike Royer inks the cover and 20-page story.

Published 1974

Monday, March 20, 2006

Marvel Two-In-One #25 - Cover

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #25, 1977. Inked by Joe Sinnott. Great to see a few more Kirby Thing drawings on these TWO-IN-ONE covers. That was always one of his defining characters, and is fun to see him with all those other mostly non-Kirby characters he was teamed with.

I have to say, though, that's some awkward positioning on the rope bridge, with Fist and Ben having their legs crossing. I do like the Kirby flames, with the obligatory crackling energy bits.

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Upcoming Kirby - The Artist Within

Thought this would be worth at least a mention, although obviously the Kirby is only 1% of the book. He is there on the cover, though.

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by Greg Preston

The culmination of more than fifteen years of photography by renowned photographer Greg Preston, this book is a living history of the men and women who have shaped the imaginations of countless millions of people around the world through their work in the fields of animated cartoons, comic books, comic strips, and editorial cartooning. The list of artists includes such luminaries as Frank Miller, Al Hirschfeld, Joe Barbera, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Moebius, Walter and Louise Simonson, and many more, all in photographs exclusive and shot expressly for this book.

Publication Date: Jul 12, 2006
Format: Hard cover, 216 pages, b&w, 100 photographs, 100 illustrations, 12 1/2" x 11 1/2"
Price: $39.95
ISBN: 1-59307-561-8

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Upcoming Kirby - Galactic Bounty Hunters

The long-planned Lisa Kirby / Mike Thibodeaux GALACTIC BOUNTY HUNTERS project, with some characters created by Jack Kirby (including Captain Victory), finally has a publishing home announced, some start-up in New York called Marvel, and should be out as a six-issue series starting this summer. Don't know how much actual Jack Kirby art there'll be in it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

--Link-- New S&K Blog

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLong time readers know that one of the biggest gaps in this weblog is my lack of access to the bulk of the Simon&Kirby material, in particular from the post-war period to when the team split in the mid-1950s. Harry Mendryk solves that problem by giving me a new Simon & Kirby blog to point you to, where you'll learn a lot about their work together, as well as the many other fine artists who worked for the busy S&K studio, plus work from other time periods. Harry's got access to some amazing first hand research material, and the first few posts already have a lot on editing in the S&K books and the scripting technique than can be seen on some early 1960s Marvel art.

So give it a read, bookmark it and spread the word.

Fantastic Four #97 - The Monster From the Lost Lagoon

Even on vacation, the FF can't avoid challenging the unknown, this time Reed is asked by the navy to investigate some ship sinkings and sea monster sightings. The boys finally end up in an underground tunnel with an amphibious creature, who it turns out is a crashed alien, unable to communicate with them and trying to save his mate. So we learn a lesson about the importance of communication. I have to say, though, Reed is a little unfair to Ben, saying he attacked the alien without provocation, when in fact the alien had sunk ships, almost crushed Reed's arm and almost drowned the three of them. Anyway, the alien leaves, never to be seen again (until Roy Thomas brought him back as part of a sprawling cosmic storyline, then later Mark Gruenwald set a story among his race, Tom DeFalco complicated it all in a story that made no sense and Mark Waid took him back to the basics. Okay, none of that actually happened...).

Still a nice tale with a lot of good character bits (Johnny pining for Crystal and playing with Franklin, Ben saving the others) among a string of single issue stories.

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Frank Giacoia inks the 20-page story and the cover.

Published 1970

Friday, March 17, 2006

Invaders #16 - Cover

INVADERS, THE #16, 1977. Inked by Joe Sinnott. Hm, Master Man. There's a Roy Thomas villain for you. I like the Kirby rocks and castle in the background there.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thor #255 - Cover

THOR #255, 1977. Inked by John Verpoorten, with some re-drawing from the Bullpen. Because what, Kirby's Thor doesn't look like Thor? Weird. Nice to see the Warriors Three. And of course the original Thor foes, the Stone Men from Saturn.

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New Kirby - Kirby Collector, Gi/Ant-Man

Now available, THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #45, 80 big pages about the past and future.

Apparently also out now is the Ant-Man/Giant-Man volume of MARVEL MASTERWORKS, containing every full story Kirby did for the character, as well as most of his covers. Some of this is reprinted in colour for the first time ever.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

--Link-- Kirby Museum update

A few updates on the Kirby Museum website, including a short video of Kirby's cameo on the 1970s Hulk TV show and the start of their Original Art Digital Archive. Pass the word on the latter to anyone you know who owns any Kirby original art.

Daredevil #5 - Cover

DAREDEVIL #5, 1964. Wally Wood took over (and slightly redesigned, before the big redesign) DD with this issue, and inked Jack Kirby's cover. The Matador looks cool, although like a lot of DD villains he seems to be a result of trying too hard to create a memorable villain like Spidey and the FF had.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Upcoming Kirby - Marvel in June 2006

Crazy month for Marvel on Kirby reprints, with lots of early 1960s westerns in various formats (presumably lots of overlap), the last ESSENTIAL FF and a rather expensive complete ETERNALS hardcover. And that CHAMPIONS collection should have a single Kirby cover, for a more trivial entry.

Written by STAN LEE
Saddle up, buckaroos! It's time for the Marvel Masterworks to tame the wild, wild West with the one and only Rawhide Kid! Back before Stan "The Man" and "King" Kirby spun stories of sensational super heroes, they told the tale of a young man who bore two Colt six-shooters and his mission to bring law to the American frontier. After his Uncle Ben Bart was killed at the hands of outlaws, Johnny Bart made it his personal mission to bring justice to the town of Rawhide.
Packed full of shootouts and showdowns, renegades and rustlers, guns and girls galore, these Western yarns will be sure to please you in the Mighty Marvel Manner! We guarantee you won't be able to hold on to your ten-gallon hat when you read the tale of the Terrible Totem, the Kid's battle against the bank robbing Bat, and the war with Wolf Waco! Lasso your copy today, True Believer!
Collecting RAWHIDE KID #17-25.
248 PGS $49.99
ISBN: 0-7851-2117-X

Written by STAN LEE
Lee and Kirby spin the classics with characters and concepts that remain among Marvel's mainstays today! After being lorded over in Latveria by Doctor Doom, the FF face a new level of grudge match when the Thing is tapped for the fighting arena of gangster Skrulls! Featuring the enigmatic Inhumans, the Frightful Four, the Mad Thinker and other enduring opponents! Guest-starring Magneto and the Sub-Mariner! Plus: classic invasions from under the earth and under the sea!
Collects FANTASTIC FOUR #84-110 and ANNUAL #7-8.
568 PGS $16.99
ISBN: 0-7851-2162-5

Written by JACK KIRBY
Penciled by JACK KIRBY
"The Gods Are Coming Back!" Jack Kirby reveals a secret history of heroes and horrors as humanity's cousins, the Eternals and the Deviants, vie to inherit the Earth! It's a time of Titans, Terror and Time Travel - as only the King could conceive! Guest-starring the Incredible Hulk (or at least an unreasoning facsimile thereof)! Collects ETERNALS #1-19 and ANNUAL #1.
392 PGS. $75.00
ISBN: 0-7851-2205-2
Trim Size: Oversize

Written by STAN LEE
Is the Rawhide Kid really a cold-blooded killer? Why do they fear his guns from Abiline to Tombstone? See how the Kid became an "outlaw" in RAWHIDE KID #17 (August 1960). Plus: What is the strange secret of Matt Hawk? Find out in TWO-GUN KID #60 (November 1962).
48 PGS. $3.99

Written by DAN SLOTT
A modern day adventure with SHE-HULK reminds the TWO-GUN KID of one of his most fraught-filled yarns of yesteryear! So saddle up, pards, and ride with the Wild West Avenger as he sets his sights on some rustlers, but finds himself face-to-fang with critters that are neither man nor beast! It's a timeless twin-barreled tale a' terror comin' your way courtesy a' Dan Slott and Eduardo Barreto! Plus! A classic Kirby RAWHIDE KID tale!
48 PGS. $3.99

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usCHAMPIONS CLASSIC VOL. 1 TPB
Cover by GIL KANE
Okay, a god, a demon, a spy and two mutants walk into... resulting in some of the strangest scenarios of the '70s! It's gods vs. heroes in the City of Angels! With mad scientists, Russian super-spies, and guest-stars from Marvel's western and horror eras! Plus: the secrets of the Black Widow! Featuring Hawkeye! Collects CHAMPIONS #1-11.
208 PGS. $19.99
ISBN: 0-7851-2097-1

Tales to Astonish #64 - Cover

TALES TO ASTONISH #64, 1965. Dick Ayers inks on this one. I'm not a big fan of the split-cover design in general, so I'm not surprised that it only lasted for a year on ASTONISH and SUSPENSE before going to alternating leads. This is one of the more effective ones, the Giant-Man half in particular is a nice bit of Kirby foreshortening, and I always like Attuma.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Avengers #22 - Cover

AVENGERS #22, 1965. A nice Wally Wood inked cover, from when Wood was briefly the interior inker on the book over Don Heck pencils. Great image of the Enchantress there. Not a lot of major female villains from Marvel in the 1960s, but she's probably the best of them.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Police Trap #4 - Cover

POLICE TRAP #4, 1955. Boy, that looks dangerous position for a cop to find himself in, doesn't it? One of the books of S&K's Mainline company. I always wondered why they didn't add that "Another Simon/Kirby Smash Hit" stamp until several issues in. Also, that giant comics code stamp blocking the logo sure is an eyesore.

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True Bride-To-Be Romances #17 - Cover

TRUE BRIDE-TO-BE ROMANCE #17, 1956. A Harvey romance comic. That guy in the backgound looks like he's going to cause some trouble. Not one of my favourites among the Harvey covers Kirby did, a lot of them seem a bit dull and pretty much by-the-book, though a few work well.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Black Magic #9[v2n3] - Cover

There's an untrustworthy guy if I ever saw one. A nice dramatic cover to contrast with the more explicit horror that's more common on these BLACK MAGIC covers, and a good showcase for the inking on the S&K covers. A bit heavy on the text, though.

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Published 1952

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Captain America #203 - Alamo II

Cap's search for the missing Falcon and Leila brings him and Texas Jack Muldoon to an asylum transported to another dimension, where he finds his friends without their memories and the small human colony on an asteroid under attack from alien monsters. Brother Wonderful and the Inquisitor, leaders of the Night People, open up a portal to Earth, planning to send the monsters there, but Cap is able to trick them and return the humans to Earth and blow up the asteroid as the creatures approach.

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A minor story during Kirby's final run on Cap, but the art is really pretty, including the alien creatures who look like something out of a 1950s monster masterwork.

Frank Giacoia inks the 17-page story and cover.

Published 1976

This whole story, and much more, was recently reprinted in Captain America: Bicentennial Battles.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upcoming Kirby - Check it out

The things that come up when you look up Kirby on Amazon...

I'll post a link to the TwoMorrows site when they have something on that book.

Also, not yet mentioned here, Marvel has ESSENTIAL FF #5, finishing Kirby's run and beyond, the complete ETERNALS (#1-#19 and Annual) in a $75 book, and a second volume completing Kirby's BLACK PANTHER (plus the post-Kirby issue wrapping up the Kiber story) in the coming months.

Champions #6 - Cover

Kirby's only cover for the short lived super-team, it's always nice to see another one of those overhead cityscapes by Kirby, as well as a nice drawing of Hercules, plus a very 1970s villain. Inked by Frank Giacoia.

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Published 1976

Monday, March 06, 2006

Two-Gun Kid #65 - Cover

This is one of my favourite TWO-GUN KID covers, with a nice feeling of power and menace in the villain and some nice detail over in the fort. Dick Ayers inks this one.

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Published 1963

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thor #175 - The Fall of Asgard

Thor is on Earth, tending to business like rounding up hijackers, while the Warriors Three and Balder are leaving the realm of the Norn Queen. Odin picks this time to go into the Odinsleep that he needs to retain his Odinpowers for another Odincycle, leaving the Odinrealm open for attack by the evil Odinson Loki, who gathers various Odinfoes like the storm giants.

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The page after this, a full page of the giants on the rampage, is gorgeous, by the way. Check it out if you have this issue.

Sif is able to contact Thor on Earth and get him to return to Asgard, and he and the various defenders of the realm battle the invaders, but not before Loki is able to get the Ring Imperial from the Allfather and take Sif prisoner, making him Thor and the other bow before him.

Bill Everett inks the 20-page story, the last of his brief run (with some possible assistance from John Verpoorten, see comments). It's kind of uneven compared to his others, although still better than most Thor inking. Some pages are great, but a few others seems stiff, maybe a bit rushed.

The cover is by Marie Severin, replacing the one Kirby did. The likely reason for the replacement is the the Kirby version (shown in TJKC #18) has Thor bowing before Loki, defeated, while the published version has him still defiant, so I guess someone decided the hero should look more heroic on the cover. Both versions do seem to use the same background of Asgard, though, and Severin does do a good Kirby (in fact, the original art boards to both versions shown in TJKC are signed by Kirby).

Published 1970

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Super Powers v2 #1 - Seeds of Doom

A year after the previous series, Kirby returns to the toy line inspired SUPER POWERS, which I think by this time was also part of the Super Friends cartoon, which I guess explains the Hall of Justice super-hero HQ in this issue. Anyway, Kirby doesn't write this series, just pencils. We open just after the events of "The Hunger Dogs", with Darkseid's rule overturned.

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He's able to find some of his most loyal servants, DeSaad, Kalibak and Steppenwolf (actually just "animated bodies" of them that he brought back to life) and escape to the moon, where they plan the conquest of Earth, which is where our various action figures, um, I mean, heroes, come in, splitting into teams to investigate five mystrious seeds which have appeared through the world, which seem to be digging to the Earth's core. J'onn J'onzz goes to England where he meets up with Aquaman to investigate one of the seeds. While there, they encounter DeSaad, and all of them are hurled back in time where they meet King Arthur.

Kind of a dull story, although the art does have a few points of interest, mostly a few of the scenes with Darkseid in the first half.

Greg Theakston inks the cover and 23-page story.

Published 1985

OMAC #3 - A Hundred Thousand Foes

The issue opens with OMAC enjoying some virtual reality entertainment, battling a monster protecting the secrets of the giant talking skulls. He's pulled out of the "movie" to get his official credentials to act as a One Man Army on behalf of the faceless Global Peace Agents, but before he goes on his first official mission he's introduced to a couple applying to act as his parents, OMAC having forgotten his life as Buddy Blank. I'm always unclear on how creepy Kirby meant this stuff to be.

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OMAC is then sent on his mission to take down Marshal Kafka, a tyrant who has put together his own army of a hundred thousand. His jet is shot at on the way down, leaving him fighting from his chair until that's shot out from under him. He quickly gets through the Kafka's forces until he finally reaches the Marshal.

Like I said, a bit of a creepy beginning, followed by a quick high-action story. Kirby was throwing out the ideas fast in this series, a lot of which are never returned to.

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

Published 1975