Sunday, August 28, 2016

Let There Be...Kirby!


If he were still with us, Jack "King" Kirby would turn ninety-nine today. There's no denying my adoration of the the man I believe to be the single greatest comic book artist of all time. His impact on the industry resonates to this day and his name will still sell books decades after his passing. What Kirby could do with a comics page is breath-taking.


This double-page spread from Fantastic Four Annual #6 is evidence of that. This comic was one of the earliest examples of Kirby's talent to come into my eager hands as a boy. I'd seen glimpses of his talent in a few scant issues of FF and some robust Thor comics, but it was this story, longer and more elaborate than a typical comic which made me a believer in the magic of Kirby. Inked magnificently by Joe Sinnott, both men were at the height of their powers when they produced this yarn which did what Marvel did best. With a script by Stan Lee, this story was one of a spectacular adventure and exploration and intense emotion.


The trio of heroes venture into the Negative Zone to find the one secret power which will save the life of unborn son of Reed and Sue Richards. The ladies are sidelined for this one with Sue in the hospital, but Reed, Johnny and Ben enter the unknown unflinchingly to find the the very source of life itself.


They encounter for the first time the dread Annihilus, the ravager and ruler of the Negative Zone and the creature who holds the secret power they must have. (Annihilus is arguably Kirby's last great villain before he departs Marvel for his sojourn at DC.) It's a glorious struggle and pays off with an ending which is truly worthy of an annual.



That story and two more from Fantastic Four issues #82 and 83 which team up the FF with the mighty Inhumans are collected by IDW in a forthcoming Artist's Edition.


Under the cover art for Fantastic Four #89 which saw the blind FF take on the Mole Man, these pages are presented in all their original glory, or as close as we mere humans might get.


I don't think I'll be picking this one up. The price is likely prohibitive, but I'm not ruling it out. Not at all.

Happy Birthday Mr.Kirby! Thanks.

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2 comments:

  1. What are we going to do next year for 100?

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  2. I came aboard a bit earlier and to me this was Kirby in decline at Marvel. It's still beautiful, though. It's interesting that this made an early impression on you; the previous year's annual had the Inhumans and the Black Panther join in the first battle against Psycho-Man, with a solo Silver Surfer back-up by Lee and Kirby. Had you seen that first, your head might've exploded.

    If they ever manage an art edition of the period between FF#46 and FF#67 with the larger art size (we all have dreams) I probably wouldn't be able to resist.

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