Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lord Of Light!

One of the most spectacular projects in the long history of Jack "King" Kirby was a little thing called Lord of Light. I read somewhere online that Heavy Metal had dedicated an issue to featuring the project, much of which I'd only ever seen online. I missed this one when it came out and really despaired finding a copy, but fortune smiled and one of my local stores indeed had one. It's a fascinating glimpse of a wild project.

As much as I can make it out, it started as an attempt to mine the concepts of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light novel and convert those concepts to film and even stranger into a park full of rides and entertainments. Strange is not a sufficient word for it.

This weirdo concept gets even more so when you take into account that these conceptual drawings by Kirby were later used by CIA spies to help organize a secret operation to rescue stranded diplomats from Iran after the infamous rise to power of the Ayatollah Khomeni and the fall of the Shah.

The events of the United States hostages held the nation in captivity for over a year and to no small account decided a Presidential election, but at the same time a covert project was unfolding to save a few folks from the madness.

This was dramatized in the movie Argo, the bogus name given to the doctored Kirby artwork to make the powers in Iran think it was just another science fiction movie being made at the time when such things were all the rage in a post-Star Wars environment.

But for fans of Jack Kirby, this is a grand opportunity to see some truly bizarre and lush artwork by the King, tapping into that cosmic awesomeness which was his personal pasture at the time. He was still producing exciting work and his skills were still operating at top level. The artwork is just plain pretty to look at and compelling to boot.

If you are lucky as I was and can dig up a copy of this issue of Heavy Metal, I highly recommend it for your viewing pleasure.

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1 comment:

  1. Despite having been a huge fan from issue one, i rarely see Heavy Metal in recent years and completely missed this when it was released. When i stumbled across it earlier this year it was an amazing treasure to find. Like you, i can't recommend it enough to Kirby fans. It's a unique work, even before adding the context of history to it.


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