Thursday, October 30, 2014
Demonlogy Extra - Final Thoughts!
The Demon has become one of Kirby's more interesting creations, visually exciting, the leaping gargoyle of a hero is at once mysterious and colorfully blatant.
As always with any Kirby creation, the art dominates and the storytelling in the Demon is some of the most effective of Kirby's Bronze Age career. I don't think I got lost for a single panel as the stories rumbled along, often at a beautifully breakneck pace.
The creatures and villains he encountered were recognizable motifs from the classic horror landscape, but all of them had that Kirby panache which invested them with a fresh energy.
The Demon is a character who can successfully play in DC's larger environment, more freely than just about any of Kirby's other Bronze Age creations for the company. The New Gods are defined by their origins and limited as to their focus. Kamandi is isolated in time. But the Demon lives in the heart of Gotham City, a hub of superhuman activity and is free to interact with other prime heroes.
One aspect of the Demon comics which I've neglected is the contribution of Mike Royer. Royer was Kirby's handpicked inker at this stage of his career. Also a denizen of California, Royer was convenient, but it was a union which resulted in some stunning comics pages.
Royer, especially in his earliest days on Kirby cleaved close to the penciled pages and enhanced what was on the page already. Later, as the two got more used to one another you can see Royer asserting his influence a bit more, or perhaps Kirby came to trust him enough to leave some elements in his hands.
Often overlooked in Royer's work on Kirby, but crucial to the overall look is the lettering. Royer's lettering gave the Kirby books a look unique in the DC line at the time, more free form than the typical material. When the Kirby stories started using more and more chapter breaks it gave Royer lots of opportunities to letter massive words, often with fascinating effect.
Reading The Demon over the last several weeks has been enlightening. Some of the comics I haven't read since I picked them up decades ago, and so sat largely unremembered. They are better comics than that, they deserve to be read. The will reward anyone who gives the effort.
No more to come.