Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sweet Perils Of Soul Love!

When Jack "King" Kirby dropped out of the Marvel scene and ambled over to the "Distinguished Competition" it was earthquake stuff in an industry which blended chaos and conformity like none before it. His departure from the House of Ideas, lured to the DC by promises of editorial control and the freedom to create books he saw fit to publish, Kirby was bristling with ideas, many of them utterly fantastic, some of them really really good, and a few somewhat suspect.

Soul Love and its mate True Divorce Cases might well fall into the final category. The original pages to these vintage Kirby stories have been floating around the internet nearly as long as the internet has been up and running. And despite virtually every comic, poster, and napkin the "King" ever doodled on having been printed or reprinted in the last many years somehow these deliciously awful yarns of romance and its reverse have not been published in any format that I know of. (If I'm wrong please disabuse me.)

But they need to be. Until that time we will have to make do with what we find in the wilds of the web. Here are two of those vaunted tales.

The first is "Diary of the Disappointed Doll" and seems to have been inked by Tony DeZuniga.

The second gem today is the delightfully titled "Fears of a Go-Go Girl!". This one features the inks of Vince Colletta, the guy who was inking most of Kirby's early DC output at that moment in time. To read both of these check out this link to True Love Comics Tales, part of  Dojo pal Britt Reid's mighty Retro-Blog family.

These two jewels showcase that Jack Kirby was at a minimum fearless and that he was willing to offer up a range of genres to an audience he was certain was just out of the grasp of the spinner rack. DC never gave the experiment a decent chance, and that's a pity. They hired the guy because he was a creator, but almost immediately they grew reticent to unleash what he had to offer. Would his ideas have worked? I frankly doubt it based on the two stories above, but don't you wish you had them to hold and read. I do.

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  1. I suspect DC lured Jack away from Marvel thinking that 'The House of Ideas' would collapse without him, more than because of what they thought he could do for DC. After all, DC were quite contemptuous of Marvel's output and couldn't understand its success.

    1. I think that's true of much of the DC higher echelon, but Carmine Infantino seemed to have an inkling that Kirby might do them some good. His own recent elevation and his approach to the comics from an artist's perspective and not a writer's probably got him to thinking the pure visual feast of Kirby was worthwhile. Likewise he pushed up artists Kubert, Orlando, and Sekowsky as editors at about the same time that Kirby joined the flock. But DC had been doing things a certain way for a very long time and arguably the lack of immediate sales success (and the disastrous decision to go twenty-five cents) probably led to a lot of second guessing about the approach.

      But they no doubt were just waiting for Marvel to collapse just like Tower, Mighty, and so many of the late 60's upstarts had done. They just couldn't see the handwriting on the wall. (Reference to "The Source" intended.)

      Rip Off

    2. I'd agree with you that Carmine probably thought Jack might have something to add to DC, but I'd imagine that he'd still need to get his decision to hire Kirby okayed at a higher level of management. And while they might not have thought much of Marvel's output, they probably saw some sense in the idea of poaching the one individual who, popular ('though inaccurate) rumour had it, was directly responsible for Marvel's success. Five years at DC and his work was really a separate sideshow that never really had the impact it should've had at the time. Things should've been different. Even when he returned to Marvel, his stuff seemed disconnected from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Odd then, that his work for both companies in the '70s was later incorporated to a much greater degree after he'd departed.


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