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!
Oh, those marvelous Tuscan hills, ochre-tinted and rolling against a clear blue sky – how I want to stay again!
Oh, the endless panorama of the Barossa Valley – may the image be forever in my sight!
Oh, the cool and calming climate of the Valle de Casablanca – may I dream of you once more!
The connection to these four locales? It’s evident isn’t it?
Wine. Nectar of the capital “G” Gods. And if you’re anything like me, a good glass of wine makes for an enjoyable time.
Be it Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah or a Blanc, every glass of wine takes you to its place of origin, enlightening you to its landscape, its people and its history.
And that’s the premise to today’s release of the absolutely lovely and tasty Time & Vine #1!
It’s July 12th and that means that it’s my birthday! Yes! Thank you for all the birthday wishes…twenty-nine years young forever, I say, although it’s been “forever” for a number of years already.
But that’s one of the great things about being interested in, a fan of, and a part of, the pop culture community: you never really do grow old. With the comic books, movies, television programs, board and card games, toys, music, cartoons, and video games, you always seem to find a way to stay youthful.
At heart, at least.
And if you were to subtract twenty nine years from today’s date, and then subtract a few more, and then a few more for added measure, you’d have one of the greatest years of my youth – as well as many of you out there!
It’s the early 1980’s.
And you’re hanging out at the local arcade.
And your hair is long.
And it’s on purpose.
And you’re playing Centipede.
And it’s awesome!
Relive that youthful glory with today’s comic book-styled modern release of Centipede #1!
Really, we’re off that board in a number of ways.
It’s not like it’s something new for “comic book” writers and illustrators to adapt classic works of fiction and non-fiction into the form of sequential art. DC Comics published a visual history of the The Bible in 1975 by industry legends Sheldon Mayer and Joe Kubert. Robert Crumb adapted The Book of Genesis nearly a decade ago. And, of course, we’ve seen countless visual versions of much-loved novels by industry favourites such as Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time by Hope Larson, Richard Stark’s Parker by Darwyn Cooke, Beowulf by Santiago Garcia and David Rubin, Paul Auster’s City of Glass by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft – by various creators in various publications.
These, of course, are just a few.
The interesting thing is that mainstream publishers of traditional fiction and non-fiction formats have gotten in on the graphic novel game in a big way over the last decade.
And today, big time mainstream publisher Simon & Schuster, known more for those traditional formats of fiction and non-fiction, dip their toes in the warm pool of sequential art with the release of the visual version of Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth!
Inside the living room or outside on the backyard patio, single games of Monopoly would last for days, The Game of Life would last for hours, and games of Connect Four would be quick and energetic fancies in-between (although we sometimes turned them into larger, multiple-win tournaments).
But the game that would stay with me though my childhood days and nights, the game that would morph into mysterious DIY role-playing games, and cross boundaries and technology into VCR-led playing, movies, books and video games, was the murder-mystery game of Clue.
And for the first time ever, that Hasbro-published classic is making the jump into comic books!
As comic book lovers, now we can sleuth the sequential art mystery, beginning in today’s release of Clue #1!
Passing a tractor trailer on the highway yanks your car violently and you need to jerk the steering wheel in an opposite direction just to keep yourself from running into the culvert at the side of the road. Whew!
Lazily canoeing across the cottage lake while a strong wind blows you off course from the dock you need to get to. How’d I get here?
Watching a Tour de France cycle team ride in single file, switching up leaders from time to time in order to conserve energy for each individual rider. Sweet science.
Experiencing the violent effects when a nasty Chicago hitman crosses paths with a downtrodden Seattle housewife – in a most unusual way!
That’s the premise behind today’s release of Crosswind #1…and let me emphasize the phrase “unusual way”!
In a comic book pop culture world where immense crossover events from the big two publishers, Marvel Comics and DC Comics, fill up all the headlines, smaller and cooler and more artful releases can sometimes get a little lost in on the store shelves.
As fun as #DCMetal’s Dark Days: The Forge #1 (DC Comics’ big Batman-centric story) and the Secret Empire series of comics (Marvel’s Hydra-centered summer epic) might be, for a lot of us, it’s the creator-owned stuff that take our fancy.
That’s what we’re here for today: making sure you don’t get blinded from the great stuff when you head over to your local comic book shop on your own Wednesday Run.
Certainly, you don’t want to miss the eagerly anticipated release of Pop Gun War Volume 2: Chain Letter – finally out today!
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!