Sunday, January 1, 2017

In The Year Of The King!


Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time, knows my admiration for the "King of Comics", the late great Jack Kirby. (Only Charlton Comics rivals the King for posts dedicated to them.) His work at Timely, Marvel, DC, Mainline, and beyond have all been mentioned if not explored at some length here. But 2017 which marks a cool one hundred years since the birth of Jacob "Jack Kirby" Kurtzberg (who sadly passed away far too early in 1994) is an opportunity to give even more attention to arguably the most influential talent in American comics.


One thing which will be happening for certain is that the regular "Favorite Cover" feature will host only Kirby covers this entire year. I've been working to gather up some of Kirby's most exciting images (and there are hundreds to select from) into some thematic galleries which will grace the Dojo all through 2017. We start things off with a gathering of Kirby's Number One covers, of which he had many in a long career. There might be enough for two months worth.


My favorite work of the King's is his fantastic "Fourth World" material. I've looked at those magnificent DC magazines before here, but if all goes well I hope to do another reading and a review of the entire canon including the unofficial prequel (Marvel's Tales of Asgard) and often forgotten sequel of sorts (Pacific's Captain Victory and The Galactic Rangers).  And there's of course the third IDW Artist's Edition featuring the Forever People this time which is due later in the spring. This time out maybe I'll read the saga using those reproduced original pages, as close to the original intent as possible.


And I'd also love to be able finally at long last read all of Kirby's momentous and highly influential Fantastic Four run. These comics are simply stellar achievements of modern storytelling, at once personal and epic and worthy of a careful reading, one hundred and two (plus annuals) sumptuous issues. There's lots of Kirby though to choose from. I see a good reading of The Black Panther and Machine Man in the near future as well. I even have a special tentative plan for Captain America for the summer (if we all live that long God willing).


I'll start off this weekend with a good close look at Kirby's earliest Hulk stories recently reprinted in The Incredible Hulk - Man or Monster an Epic Collection. These are some truly weird tales, as Marvel cast about trying to find a direction for this most unusual character. Look for the first installment this weekend and more each weekend after that.  I've  been collecting up a bunch of these vintage color collections of Kirby's earliest Marvel work, look for it to show up here from time to time.


I'm sure I'll think of other things to do and I might change my mind about some of the above (no need to be too confidant about what the future will bring as this past year's election has surely proven to one and all) but I'm sure all of that and the other nonsense which fills up this internet attic will be worth at least a meager moment of your time. I hope as 2017 spreads before us that all of you will hang loose and hang around.

The King is dead. Long live the King!

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4 comments:

  1. I recently found a cheap copy of the Essential Rawhide Kid at a discount store. It's interesting because it's the first continuing character series by Stan and Jack. But like a lot of the early Marvel material such as Hulk and Thor in their first months, there is little continuity and a lot of repetition. It took some time for Marvel and their audience to find each other and for a while Stan's comics made a lot of the old assumptions about comic readers. Reading a lot of Rawhide Kid at once is like reading a lot of Marvel monster comics at once (though I'm still pretty interested in the two-volume "Monsterbus" that's on the way.) Kirby's staging and storytelling are brilliant as ever, though, and the fight scenes are about as much fun as I've ever had with a western. I'd say that Kirby's westerns throughout the decades are worth a collection by Titan or whoever, Bulls-Eye and all of those exuberant Harvey books about historical characters like Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett are part of a big hole in the comprehensive Kirby reprintings we've been blessed by in recent years.

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    1. I was disappointed we didn't get a western collection from Titan. With Bullseye and Boys' Ranch there's plenty out there. Early Marvel is a bit at odds with the mythology, for certainly the Marvel magic took some time to develop. I've done reads of the earliest superhero material (using Essentials) and it's not until the Hulk starts to cross over into various titles that the cohesion we think of in the company really begins to develop. I hope to revisit some of that material this month.

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  2. Kirby all year! 2017 is looking better already :)

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    1. I giggled when I thought of it. Looking forward to it.

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