Sunday, September 30, 2012

Black Son Rising!

One of the most remarkable things about the saga of Orion of the New Gods is how much of his story is evident from the very first moment we meet him. It's all there in that implacable face.  Here's that incredible introduction once again.

That ladies and gentlemen is the very definition of awesome. In the space of three humble comic pages an old world is destroyed, new worlds are created, our hero blasts into view and in a mere seven words defines his mission and his core being. But still there's more to meet the eye in this famous portrait.

There on Orion's helmet is his dark secret, his origin story contained in one elegant image. The black sun which dominates the design symbolizes the "black son" we have just met. Darkseid's son is arrived.

This rendition of the original Kirby and Vince Colletta image in a Warhol-esque fashion is simply outstanding. I found it here.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Orion Of The New Gods!

Orion of the New Gods, the son of Darkseid. Here is a wonderful look at the original concept artwork found here. Frank Giacoia is credited with the inks. The detail is outstanding!

Here's the back of that orignal sheet. Note the date.

Here we see the development of the cover art for the New Gods debut. Note the three exclamation points after "Orion" and the two sun symbols on his helmet.

The cover art comes along. Down to two exclamation points and one sun symbol.

A "what if" scenario of sorts. For a brief time, the New Gods were to debut in Showcase. It doesn't seem to be a 100% certainty, but folks concur that Gaspar Saladino likely supplied the awesome logo for New Gods. But the Showcase idea was squelched and the series was launched properly with a full-fledged number one, actually taking the over for the venerable try-out comic on DC's schedule. 

 The rest is Fourth World history.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Faces To Fear!

Perhaps the most brutal member of the Fourth World cast is Kalibak the Cruel.

Darkseid's other son, this fearsome looking fellow hates his brother Orion with a passion that nearly demolishes a city.

But Kalibak clearly seemed meant to evoke an earlier Kirby creation, the malevolent Troll from Marvel's Thor series, the equally fearsome Ulik.

I always found Ulik a satisfying Thor opponent for two reasons, he could hang and bang with Thor on equal footing and he was no-holds barred in his attacks.

That seems to have been the template for Kirby's later Kalibak.

Regardless of which beast-man one prefers, there's no doubt neither of these lovely gents is someone you'd want to meet in a dark alley, or any alley for that matter.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Quite New Gods!

What I love about this "Gods" portfolio from Jack Kirby is not only the exotic and elaborate design from "The King", but way in which Don Heck's distinctive brushwork can be so readily seen and enjoyed. Kirby wanted to bring some of his colleagues from the Marvel Bullpen with him when he left, not least among them Don Heck. It's in many ways unfortunate that did not happen. As can be seen here, Heck inked Kirby's work with a real flair and panache.  These four variations on Nordic gods were luxurious precursors to the denizens of New Genesis and Apokolips!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Mantis is one of the more compelling enemies created by Jack Kirby for his Fourth World. Mantis never seems to be merely a lackey of Darkseid, but seems to have goals and ambitions of his own. He seems to throw his lot in with the ruler of Apokolips for current strategic advantage.

His powers, second only to Darkseid himself, seem though to derive at least in part from from the Big D, so he is beholding to the dark father of Orion in that regard. I always wanted to see more of Mantis and his Bug legions as Kirby originally conceived them, but then that's true of all the denizens of the Fourth World.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some New Gods!

Incredible! I forget where I found this awesome assembly of the original drawings Jack Kirby did for his New Gods project. Pictured here as imagined by Kirby for the first time are Darkseid, Metron, Orion, Lightray, Mister Miracle and Mantis. Some look a bit different than they did when they finally got to the comics page. These images by "The King" truly inspire awe.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Victory For All!

Here for your viewing pleasure are three outstanding Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers cover by the great Jack "King" Kirby with inks by Mike Thibodeaux. The logo for Captain Victory was created by Mike Royer. Rip Off

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Victory Is Mine!

I spent a reasonably pleasant afternoon yesterday in downtown Cincinnati at the 2012 Cincinnati Comic Expo. This is the third one of these conventions and the second I have attended. The venue was ideal for a comics convention with lots of room by and large. The guest list was outstanding with Swamp Thing fans having a gaggle of artists assembled for the first and possibly last time. George Perez was in attendance and had a massive line the entire time I was there. Lots of small press folks, and scuds of vendors. A good blend of merchandise and memories.

I went mostly to see what back issue bargains I could find, and to meet Mike Royer, the inker on much of Jack Kirby's work in the 70's and 80's. I found him to be a friendly and garrulous chap more than willing to sign a ream of books and to share whatever was on  his mind. Meeting him was a real pleasure and he kindly signed my copy of Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers  #1, the very copy I bought off the stands so many years ago. He shared some stories about the lettering (the logo is his design) and seemed almost to want to spend a few minutes revisiting the comic.

I also got to meet a boyhood hero of mine, Steve Englehart, the writer of The Avengers, Captain America, Justice League of America and more. Unfortunately Steve seemed tired and mildly uncomfortable at the convention. To be frank I wouldn't have recognized him. I got him to sign a copy of The Avengers-Defenders Clash, a hardback I found for cheap, but he didn't seem to want to chat much.

After much  back issue searching, I came to the realization that I might just be done with back issues. I don't have hardly any issues I crave aside from a few Charltons here and there perhaps and frankly the idea of bringing in more to the house seems counterproductive. I might be finished with that side of the hobby.

What I did find were some great deals on trades, picking up four volumes of The Invaders for very small money. I also snagged a copy of Sword of the Atom, a vintage DC tale I've never ever read. The Gil Kane artwork looks outstanding!

All in all a great convention experience, and one in which I stayed within budget, always a challenge. A friend I went with also reported having a great time. Look forward to it again for next year.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beautiful Dreamers!

This dramatic splash page/ pin-up from Forever People #4 offers up a tantalizing glimpse of what might have unfolded if the Fourth World had been allowed to develop at its natural pace. I always wondered how this seemingly special connection between the hideous Darkseid and the lovely Dreamer would have been realized. Kirby seems here to make a tighter connection between these two than ultimately was supported by the story. Note how Dreamer is framed against the craggy and implacable face of Darkseid with the cold dead eyes, almost treating his rocky visage like a landscape.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Marvel's Greatest Reprint!

Jack Kirby and John Verpoorten hooked up to produce a real slam bang action cover for this reprint of the Fantastic Four taking on the Frightful Four in Marvel's Greatest Comics #28.

It sure is a lot more action filled than the original more sedate cover by Kirby and Chic Stone for Fantastic Four #36 which puts the emphasis on suspense.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Galaxy Trio!

Part of Hanna-Barbera's Birdman show, The Galaxy Trio were a terrific blend of vintage superheroics and sci-fi adventure. They came across as three professionals working together for the common good. You had the sense there was a rich back story for each of them, but it was rarely touched upon.

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