Wednesday, May 31, 2017

100 Day Of The King - Day 11

This piece is called "Galactic Head" and ran as part of the mock up cover for the failed Superworld of Everything magazine which was once upon a time to come out with Kirby's In the Days of the Mob and Spirit World. Those two mags were killed after one issue each while Superworld didn't even make that. More's the pity as I'd have loved to have seen the story behind this compelling image I'd have been frustrated as nothing would've related to it most likely. It's still neat to look at.

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Kirby Firsts (1971-1994)!

Jack Kirby left Marvel in 1971 when he was a man in middle age who was seeking a better situation for his talent to express itself and for he and his family to benefit financially from the fruits of that talent and his work. He at first found purchase at DC and stayed for five years launching many new concepts. He then returned to Marvel for a time, but soon left comics all together, but not really.  He kept his hand in with new concepts for Indie publishers like Pacific and Eclipse. New number one issues appeared with Kirby artwork right up to the time of his passing in 1994. Here are are the covers of the many number one issues that Kirby had a hand in over that time from the Fourth World and beyond.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

100 Days Of The King - Day 10

Here is the Hulk that broke the camel's back (so to speak). According to the lore, this poster of the Hulk in particular stuck in Jack Kirby's craw when after producing it and three others, two were pulled back so as to not make it a complete Kirby event. Later though, this poster was given to Herb Trimpe and he was instructed to mostly copy it giving certain aspects his own style. Kirby by reports was not miffed with Trimpe, who like Kirby was a cog in the machine, but at the company for having once again shown such disdain for the talent which was making them rich. Kirby would soon leave for DC.

Here is the original and the Trimpe variation as well.

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King Of Comics!

Finally took the time to sit and read Mark Evanier's sleek biography of Jack Kirby, famously known in these parts and beyond as "The King of Comics", a title with a rich history. The first self-titled "King of Comics" was the humorous con man Victor Fox, a raucous man portrayed by most as a self-promoter with a vastly inflated notion of his own value to the operations he cobbled together. The early days of comics are littered with hucksters looking for a quick buck and Fox was the perhaps the most famous, the early employer of budding talents like Bill Everett and Jack Kirby, who mocked their boss by slapping the nickname "King of Comics" on each other in an attempt to deflate the hilarious claim. Evanier seems to show in this narrative of the life of Kirby how that title went from a joke among talented friends to a real title for a truly humble man who lived a long and busy life to actually almost earn it, though he himself would almost certainly disagree.

Mark Evanier does a delightful job here telling a story with clarity and with kindness about a man who first and foremost wanted to supply for his family. That might be the thing which I admire most about Jack Kirby, he was just a working stiff who hit his marks every day and did what he did for those closest to him. He was a guy with responsibilities to manned up to those responsibilities. That might have forced him to make compromises he regretted and it likely caused him to choose to do things he would've have wished to avoid, but as a guy who has approached his own life that same way, I really admire the drive it takes to get up and get it done each and every day. We even get a glimpse of his childhood when Evanier sees fit to include "Streetcode", the remarkable short story that Kirby created for Argosy magazine many years ago now.

This book is no hagiography by any means. While we encounter a kind and thoughtful man, we also see a man who often can be short sighted when it comes to his career if not when it comes to how he saw the industry in which he slaved for decades. But we see a guy of uncommon bravery, a man who was no physical coward and one who was willing to put his fists where his mouth was for the sake of what he believed and for the sake of his friends.

We learn what we already knew, but it is reinforced int his tome -- Jack Kirby was a great artist, but most importantly Jack Kirby was a good man.

Special Note: This tome has just been reissued in an updated paperback format with a new chapter. I might have to get that one too eventually. I'm also very much looking forward to Evanier's long-promised more detailed biography of the "King of Comics" when it eventually drops.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

100 Days Of The King - Day 9

Now in a shout out to the classic Captain Marvel and Billy Batson, when the Forever People joined hands on their beloved Mother Box and said the word "Tarru" they disappeared and in their place appeared The Infinity Man. He was one of Kirby's most enigmatic creations of the Fourth World, and maybe if there had been more time and more issues we'd have learned the connection.

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The Guys In The Foxhole!

Let take a moment this Memorial Day to remember the countless soldiers who have bravely served to make sure that we remain a free country. Those freedoms are challenged every day from enemies without and within, but never should we forget the courage necessary to keep us all safe. Whatever you think of any particular war, we can all agree I hope that supporting our troops in harm's way is good and proper thing to do.

There are two veterans I want to show special respect for this year at the Dojo. The first is Jack "King" Kirby. Above is an image of his memorial. Check out more here and here.

And here is the marker for his longtime partner Joe Simon. Check out more here and here.

Both of these great talents not only gave us delightful comics to inflame our imaginations over decades and across generations, but both men served in time of war when victory was far from certain.

Respect is owed.

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Wotta Revoltin' Development!

One of the great gems from Kirby in his latter days of the Silver Age at Marvel was his delightful story in Not Brand Echh #1 spoofing his own epic tale of how Doctor Doom seduced the Silver Surfer and for a time stole the "Power Cosmic". It's a great yarn and the send up in NBE is pretty good too.

Kirby also did the cover for that debut issue of Not Brand Echh, with his cast of characters from the Fab 4 mostly present along with the awesome threat of the mysterious Forbush Man, the most dangerous figure in the Marvel mythos since the arrival of Galactus himself. Forbush Man was possibly more damaging.

To read this classic check out this link.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

100 Days Of The King - Day 8

And here is the beautiful fifth member of the Forever People, Beautiful Dreamer seemed to have a special secret which the loathsome Darkseid seemed to have a keen interest in. He claimed to have an interest in her mind, but maybe his special attentions were the result of an all too obvious motivation.

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