Tuesday, December 13, 2016

One Man's Argosy!


I'm a regular reader of Mark Evanier's outstanding blog (like many here I suspect) and when he began to reminisce about the passing of Richard Kyle, one of his friends from the early days of comics I fandom, I was interested of course but hardly connected. Then he mentioned that Kyle had been responsible for the brief but vigorous revival of the legendary Argosy in the early 1990's.


It last a mere three issues (there were two specials later but without cover art) but those issues were filled with a terrific mix of story and offbeat comic book material. Hard to find, and most famous these days for the stellar Jim Steranko cover art which graces the three issues, these are gems. It's a pity it ended so quickly and grimly for this effort.


Perhaps for comics fans the lingering memory of these issues is the publication of Jack Kirby's "Street Code", an autobiographical glimpse by the "King" at his earliest days in the rough and tumble streets of NYC. Eschewing the cosmic wonder we associate with him, Kirby delivers a powerful portrait of a time when the American future was bleak indeed. To read this story go here and be prepared to scroll down a bit. Here's a glimpse.


Another side of the man who designed the Marvel Universe. This piece was commissioned by the late Richard Kyle and for that I thank him. Rest in peace.

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4 comments:

  1. I knew the name of Richard Kyle although can't now remember if I was ever aware of his exact contribution to the world of comics, but it's good to see that he's not going unremembered. Regarding Kirby's 'Street Code', hate to say it, Rip, but Jack was past his best by the time he drew it, and I've never been too impressed by it. If only he'd drawn it around the time he drew the first (and only) issue of 'In The Days Of The Mob'. And despite what others think, Vince Colletta would have been the perfect inker for 'Street Code' back in the '70s.

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    1. I know I've run across the name in my readings on fandom, but I never realized his relative importance to the fold. As for Kirby, I like his later stuff better, but it's clear it fell off. I'm a Vinnie fan, but Street Code needs a rougher hand, maybe a Giacoia or a Heck.

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  2. Kyle was one of a group of really excellent comics commentators who appeared in the better fanzines in the 60's/70's such as Funnyworld, Squa Tront and Graphic Story. Some of the best discussions of the potential of comics as a medium appeared in letters of comment by guys like John Benson, Landon Chesney, Bhob Stewart, Mark Evanier, and Kyle. Kyle also was interested in putting out new kinds of comics to show what could be done and was an early publisher of George Metzger's experimental work. I bought Argosy purely for the Kirby story, for me a valuable look back over his life from a man who was so much a figure of comic history. It was a brilliant insight of Kyle's to ask Kirby to do the one story he'd never done, but was obviously meant to do.

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    1. I barely tapped into the whole fandom world at the very end in the late 70's, by that time these guys had move on to pro or semi-pro careers. I ran across the Metzger stuff researching this post and it's weirdly fascinating. I might have to give it a look. We owe much to the forward thinking fans who were bold enough to ask.

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