Monday, October 31, 2011

The Kirby Horrors!

When Jack Kirby was winding down his career at Marvel in the late 60's, he made an effort to withhold many of his larger concepts for later use. But he and Stan did create a few new characters at the end of their Fantastic Four run, specifically a few new horror characters.

The first was Agatha Harkness in Fantastic Four #94. The Fab 4 need a nanny for the baby Franklin Richards, and given that they are who they are, just anyone won't do. So they end up finding Agatha, who it turns out is a witch.

The issue is a hoot as the Frightful Four show up to cause trouble and find more of that than they can handle. Despite their name, the villains get frightened themselves. The FF get a sense that there is more to Agatha than meets the eye, so they think they've got a winner. As it turns out they did.

A few issues later in Fantastic Four #97, the FF take a break and check out a remote "Lost Lagoon".

In that lagoon they find a Creature who seems very hostile to their explorations, but whose motives come clear when Reed and crew realize this Monster from a Lost Lagoon is a visitor from the stars and is just trying to protect his burgeoning family.

Kirby then left Marvel for the greener pastures of DC. He took over Jimmy Olsen and transformed that somewhat moribund comic into a startlingly creative thrill ride. One place the cub reporter and his best pal Superman venture is into the mysterious world of Transilvane, an artificial planet which is inhabited by creatures fashioned after the classic Universal monsters.

Count Dragorin, Lupek, and the rest of these wannabe creeps are visually intriguing homages to some movies that have utterly infused themselves into the popular consciousness.

Jack Kirby clearly loved monsters, especially the classics, and he was not afraid to give us his own offbeat spin on them, creating his own brand of "Kirby Horrors"!

Happy Halloween!

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  1. Great stuff. The Transilvane and Goody Rickels stories were probably the best Olsen stuff he did. Not forgetting his 'Monarch Of All He Subdues' last issue.

  2. When they came out I didn't really fully understand them. The absurd nature of the stories struck deeply at my continuity-driven fanboy soul, but now I love 'em.

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