Search Results for #kirby100
No one contributed more to the Thor mythos and the world of Asgard than Jack Kirby. Outside of some help early on in Journey Into Mystery, Jack Kirby spent over 8 years of his career on The Mighty Thor (Journey Into Mystery #83, 1962 to Thor #179, 1970). Kirby was the driving creative force, bringing these myths and legends to life for a new generation.
It allows us to have the longest possible (monthly) time period to celebrate all things Jack Kirby during #Kirby100, the month that would have seen the King’s 100th birthday.
Over the last few weeks, DC Comics has been blowing up the balloons, hanging the streamers, and lighting the candles with a number of Kirby-related one-shot specials. Each has highlighted a different Kirby creation. And this column has done its best to highlight them here for you:
Mister Miracle #1 – which you need to read now, if you haven’t already!
The New Gods Special #1 – hopefully you didn’t miss it!
The Kamandi Challenge #1 – the fun 12-issue series which has been around since January!
You can find more of Jack Kirby and the summer-themed #Kirby100 celebrations by Biff Bam Pop! writers here. But today brings us to another, somewhat obscure, Kirby creation…one that has influenced DC Comics in a number of important ways over the last thirty years.
Today sees the release of The Sandman Special #1!
When we were planning this 100th birthday celebration and retrospective of Jack Kirby here at Biff Bam Pop!, fellow staff writer and friend Justin Mohareb made the comment as we were picking assignments, “If I did Devil Dinosaur it would probably come out as ‘you know, they can’t all be winners.'” He meant it in good fun, but I was kind of shocked. Even though I hadn’t read the stories in decades, I remembered liking the series. It reminded me a bit of Kamandi, which I loved. So I decided I had to take Devil Dinosaur, and prove to myself, and to Justin, that Devil Dinosaur rocked. Or not.
This month, the “King”, Jack Kirby, would have been 100 years old. His world-renowned comic book creations (Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Fourth World characters, etc.), however, are ever young. They remain in print, re-reprint, reimagined and returned to the Kirby greatness that originally saw their inspiration.
Throughout the summer, the writers of Biff Bam Pop! have been celebrating #Kirby100 with a series of articles which you can find right here.
Throughout the month of August, DC Comics has been celebrating Jack Kirby with various comic book one-shots and series, aimed at drawing attention to the multitude of DC heroes and villains that the “King” had created. One also gets the sense that the publisher is setting them up for a renewed pop-culture push, putting them front and center in the DC Universe.
Today sees the release of the first issue of the highly anticipated Mister Miracle!
August 28th to be precise.
We here at Biff Bam Pop! are big fans of the “The King”. How could we not be?
If you’re a fan of comic books and all those movies they’ve produced over the last few decades based on them, then you’re a fan of Jack Kirby, whether you know it or not. The man created pretty much all of your favourite heroes – especially if you’re a Marvel Comics fan.
Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men and the Hulk are just a small smattering of Kirby’s imaginative pop culture creations during the middle part of the last century.
But for a time, he worked at rival publisher, DC Comics, as well – and created an entire world of heroes and villains and long-lasting characters that some say could have rivaled the ones he created at Marvel in popularity, if not for decades of poor marketing and company indifference.
DC Comics is celebrating #Kirby100 all month long with a series of special publications – the first of which drops today in the form of The New Gods Special #1.
Let’s get on it!
When most folks think of Jack Kirby at DC Comics, they think of the Fourth World and Kamandi, the older fans might say the Challengers of the Unknown or the Newsboy Legion, or even the Sandman. Would anyone say Green Arrow? But it’s true, for seven months in 1958 the King gave us a Green Arrow unlike anything we’d seen before, and it could have been even wilder. Meet me after the jump for Jack Kirby’s The Green Arrow!
I can’t draw to save my life. But I can look at the work of Jack Kirby all day. And while there are countless digital compilations of so much of his seminal work at DC and Marvel, there’s something about holding physical collections of King Kirby’s great art that is something special.
The folks at IDW know this, and for years have been releasing outstanding large-scale volumes of original Kirby art and stories. Slightly smaller than their award-winning artist editions is their book Jack Kirby Pencils and Inks: Artisan Edition.
By the time I was seriously collecting comic books in the mid-1980s, Jack Kirby’s return to Marvel was already history. Kirby had earlier defected from Marvel Comics to rival DC Comics where he created the New Gods Universe. The Powers That Be at DC Comics weren’t supportive of Kirby’s direction and he decided to return to Marvel. Sadly, his return was generally viewed as an unsuccessful one. One of the highlights of this return to Marvel was his run on Captain America, a title he and Stan Lee had taken to epic heights.
While attending French grade school, I had access to a library of French-language reprints of Marvel Comics of the 1970s. One of them was the treasury edition of Kirby’s Captain America Bicentennial Battles. These over-sized pages were the perfect way to display Kirby’s power-packed and dynamic art.
The mysterious Mr. Buda (later to be revealed to be the Elder of the Universe known as the Contemplator) sent Captain America on a time-traveling adventure through American history as part of their Bicentennial celebration. Yes, the dialogue is awkward and corny in places, but the visuals from Kirby are impressive. You can see that it’s the work of an artist in his declining years, but there’s still so much energy and passion in those panels. The scenes explode from the pages and sweep you up into the action. Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, and John Romita all embellished Kirby’s art for this stand-alone issue.
This treasury issue kicked off to Kirby’s run on Captain America, and continued into issue #193, entitled “The Mad-Bomb!”. Look at that cover, inked by the legendary John Romita.
And the interiors are no less dramatic with explosions, literally and figuratively, on every page. Each panel bursts with Kirby dots and the heavy, solid inks by Frank Giacoia. Even the quiet moments have an impactful presence. This issue was one of the comic books I had amassed during my pre-collecting days, and was very memorable for the Kirby art and style as well as the cliffhanger ending that I wouldn’t see resolved for another 10 years!
This storyline, which run until issue #200, pit Cap and the Falcon against an order of extremely wealthy Americans trying to establish a new aristocracy and crush the freedoms of the lower social order. Cap and Falcon’s adventures continued for another year as they encountered colourful characters like Texas Jack, Brother Inquisitor, Primus, and threats like Argon the Unburied One, Doughboy, and Hector Santiago “The Swine”. Kirby’s run also introduced Arnim Zola, the mad Nazi scientist, who heralded the return of his master, the Red Skull.
The only other issue of Kirby’s Captain America run that I had in my pre-collecting days was #213. This two-part story (concluding in #214) was an amazing bookend to Kirby’s run. #213’s cliffhanger ending drove me as crazy as the one in #193 did. Take a moment to really take in the cover copy of #213. “Only Marvel would dare it! Blinded, Hospitalized, Cap fights his deadliest battle!” “He strikes! He kills! He can’t be stopped! The Night Flyer!”
Dan Green, famous for his work inking John Romita Jr’s Uncanny X-Men in the 1980s, inked Kirby’s pencils for #213 and you can really see the difference. Mike Royer’s inks flattered those thick, bold pencils, while Green’s work was more subtle and almost muted Kirby’s work.
Look at page #12 that introduced the Night Flyer. The stoic figure is holding a sophisticated Kirby communication device, but his presence exudes a confidence and an authority. The heavy inks across his face, his mask, all contribute to that awe-inspiring feeling. “I can’t be stopped! I am the perfect man!”.
The Night Flyer spent the next 4 pages fighting his way through S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the Falcon to assassinate his target. Turned out he was tricked, and despite being out-manned and out-gunned, the Night Flyer wasn’t ready to admit defeat: “I must find and eliminate my target! No one here can prevent it!!!” You’ve gotta love the captions that wrap up the issue. “Can he really do it??? Can one man defy and armed camp — and take it???” How many triple exclamation points and question marks can Kirby get away with using!
Did issue #214 live up to the hype?Yes, and no. It was Kirby’s last Cap issue and Mike Royer returned to ink it. While the Night Flyer battled the Falcon and a horde of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, the injured Steve Rogers dramatically donned his familiar red, white, and blue costume and grabbed his shield to face off against the Night Flyer. In an odd turn of events, it’s a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who connect the dots and destroy the Night Flyer’s hang glider which was the source of his power. That dramatic build up is released without any real satisfaction as the Night Flyer is defeated.
Unfortunately, I felt that in many ways this story symbolically summarized Kirby’s run. Visually a treat, but the execution failed, and not for the lack of trying. He threw in all the right ingredients, the heroes, the threats, the situation, but couldn’t put it together in the right way. It’s an amazing run that captured the 70s Kirby energy and his wacky-ahead-of-his-time-ideas. The raw energy of Kirby’s work was spectacular, but it lacked the finish that his former partner, Stan Lee, often provided. Kirby’s storytelling was ambitious and had an unrelenting pace and action. His tales were filled with social and political commentary, featuring larger-than-life drama and characters, combined with quiet retrospective and introspective moments of real character building and growth.
His artistry was, and remains, so innovative and influential in the comic book zeitgeist that the industry named awards after him. Heck, they even named a visual image after him: the affectionately known, “Kirby Krackle.”
How pervasive is writer and artist Jack Kirby in pop culture?
You can scan the litany of comic book characters that the man created or co-created and you’d be certain to find dozens that are your favourites. From the globally renowned Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men series of characters, to the populace’s burgeoning awareness of Darkseid and Black Panther, to the more niche creations of Kamandi, Etrigan the Demon and Destroyer Duck. With Kirby, the list of great characters goes on and on and on.
Without him, pop culture and comic books wouldn’t be at all what we know it to be today.
This August marks the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby and we here at Biff Bam Pop! mean to celebrate that auspicious centennial with a plethora of written accolades all summer long!
This is your cordial invitation to our #Kirby100 party!
As part of the #Kirby100 celebration here at Biff Bam Pop! I’ve opted to take a closer look at Bug! The Adventures of Forager from DC’s Young Animal imprint. Beyond Jack Kirby being a legendary titan of comics industry I freely admit that I don’t have too deep of a knowledge of his work. That reason is precisely what brought me to Bug! More after the jump!