Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Jack Goes Wild!

It will not a visitor long at the Dojo to see my adoration for the work of comic book master Jack"King" Kirby. I do believe that Kirby has more references here at the Dojo than any other individual talent. Well I was able to lay my hands on some reproductions of some important Kirby work, specifically the posters he created once upon a time for Marvelmania International, the second of Marvel's "club" operations. According to reports it was a lack of proper remuneration for these efforts that added yet another reason for Kirby to walk away from the "House of (mostly his) Ideas". 

But the fact Jack didn't get his just reward for these doesn't make then any less handsome and compelling to look upon. I craved them from the moment I saw them in an ad for Marvelmania, but I rarely used such mail order to get things like that. I didn't have the patience for the delay. It says in the to "allow 2 to 3 weeks" for delivery but my experience pushed that to six weeks most often. 

I now have versions of all three of the Kirby posters from that ad. I only needed to wait four to five decades to get my mitts on them. 

Marvelmania came forward with a second wave of posters and Kirby alas was only represented once with a fantastic Doc Doom effort. It turns out he'd also done posters for Spider-Man and The Hulk but his efforts were turned over to artist John Romita and Herb Trimpe who worked up their own renditions of Kirby's original offerings. This transformation without his permission was yet again a bit more reason for Kirby to skip off to DC to make the "Fourth World". 

I have gotten that Johnny Romita poster now and its so very handsome and slick, just the very thing that Romita brought to the Web-Slinger. 

Kirby is an artist who lies at bedrock of comic books as we know them. His influence is felt today by folks who don't even know that they follow in his steps. The success of Marvel's movie empire would be impossible without the work of Jack "King" Kirby. Stan too of course, but Jack made such handsome pictures that tingle the imagination still after all these years. 

If you want these for yourself I recommend the Marvel Classic Sticker Book which has them. 'Nuff Said!

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  1. When it comes to Marvel imagery, Jack was indeed the artist responsible, but Marvel wasn't just about 'pin-ups'. Without Stan's contribution, I doubt that Marvel would've been the force it became. Comics are for reading, not just for looking at pretty pictures, so thank goodness these two joined forces for the time (at the time) they did. Incidentally, the 's' in the Fantastic Four poster is upside down - the 'shadow' is on the opposite side compared to the rest of the letters.

    1. While "The King" made outstanding and dynamic posters shots, I think you do Kirby a bit of a disservice by calling his stuff just "pretty pictures". In fact it was his storytelling aided and abetted by Lee's loquaciousness that was the bedrock of Marvel's early success. Kirby was regarded by the mavens at DC as a rugged talent who drew too ugly to be a part of DC's elite roster of fine artists.

      It's likely just a mistake, but I wondered looking at it again if the change in the "shadow" on the "s" was intended to draw the eye to the Human Torch who is coming down on it as some sort of contrast. Probably overthinking that one.

    2. If any comics artist/storyteller deserves the highest praise, it's Jack Kirby. I do love what Stan Lee brought to books like Fantastic Four & Thor, and would never downplay it. But unadulterated Kirby has a powerful & primal magic, even with its dialogue -- which, in the case of both New Gods & Eternals, I consider as being operatic, rather than the realistic dialogue that other comics used. (And just how realistic was that realism anyway?)

    3. Well, of course he did more than draw pretty pictures, RJ, but he didn't always best serve his stories with the way he scripted them when he did it himself. Lee's contribution (and even Mark Evanier concedes that Lee contributed some ideas himself) had such a seemingly disproportionately positive effect on the finished result that, to me, reading a Kirby-scripted comic and one done by Lee are poles apart when it comes to the enjoyment factor. Ideas are easy, it's what's done with them that counts. Jack by himself was great (most of the time), but with Lee, he was even greater.

      As for the 's', I think the logo was taken from somewhere else, and the 's' was just put on the wrong way when it was all being pasted down. According to Mark Evanier, if I remember the story correctly.

    4. I tried to review my comment and only part of it was showing, so you might've received only a partial comment, RJ.