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#Kirby100: Glenn Walker on Devil Dinosaur

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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.

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#Kirby100: IDW’s Jack Kirby Pencils and Inks: Artisan Edition

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.

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#Kirby100: BBP! Celebrates The King Jack Kirby All Summer Long

Jack Kirby.

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!

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It’s A Good Day For the End Of the World In “The Kamandi Challenge #1” On The Wednesday Run

kamandi-challenge-1-coverA couple of weeks ago, friend and compatriot Glenn Walker (he of @monsura and regular contributor to all things cool on this very website), came to visit my hometown city of Toronto for Biff Bam Pop!’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns’ monumental birthday celebration.

It was a wonderful affair, full of frivolity, chatter and seemingly endless shot glasses of Jägermeister (many of us are still shuddering at the taste in our mouths).

At a breakfast get together the next morning, Glenn and I stated talking about our love of comic book industry-changing creator, “King” Jack Kirby (creator of so many of your favourite comic book heroes and villains), and his 1972 post-apocalyptic protagonist, Kamandi. He reminded me of the mid-eighties DC Comics series, the DC Challenge, on which today’s Wednesday Run column comic book pick is based.

Cliffhangers.

Multiple creators.

And Kamandi, the beloved Last Boy On Earth: in a brand new, limited series, full of story and art and wonder and industry legends working on the creation of the industry’s all-time Legend.

Today sees the release of the hugely-anticipated The Kamandi Challenge #1!

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Glenn Walker On… Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth!

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Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

At first glance, Jack Kirby’s Kamandi might seem like veiled rip-off of The Planet of the Apes with its wild humans and intelligent animals in a post-apocalyptic future, but it was oh so much more. Meet me after the jump for more on my love of Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth!

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The GAR! Podcast: #SDCC Aftermath

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Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world, coming to you from across the vastness of suburban New Jersey via Skype. This week, we’re talking about the aftermath of the San Diego Comic Con, Ray rants about Marvel’s Secret Wars, and he also watches the new Fantastic Four trailer live on the podcast, along with all the usual stuff. See and hear more after the jump.

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Just Like They Used To Be – JP Waxes Nostalgic Over DC’s Wednesday Comics # 1

Do you remember those early Saturday mornings as a child when you would hurriedly thrown open the front door of the house, grab the just-delivered-newspaper and quickly rummage through the various sections just so you could pull out the comics?

I miss those days – the excitement, the cold glass of milk that accompanied my reading and the black ink on my fingertips.

Well, this summer DC Comics is bringing my childhood (and yours) back. Not on Saturdays, mind you – on Wednesdays.

 

 

 

Wednesday Comics, a 12-part weekly series, is the brainchild of DC Editor Mark Chiarello. He was able to convince the comic book publishing company to simply take a leap and create something entirely different in the industry – a series that would showcase a plethora of characters, both popular and obscure, all the while evoking the comics we read in newspapers as children. Assembling a top notch team of talent around him, writers and artists known for pushing the boundaries of the medium, Wednesday Comics, named after the day of the week that all new comic books arrive in stores, is one of the most talked about and eagerly anticipated series of the year – let alone the summer.

Yesterday, Wednesday, July 8, the first issue arrived in comic book shops everywhere and the series does everything it can to make you reminisce your childhood love of the genre.

The first thing you’ll notice is the tangible quality of the paper it’s printed on: newsprint! Beautiful! When the series was first announced earlier this year and teasing images of artwork began popping up on the internet, I know that I started to get a sense of this being a slick-looking project. Not so much. Although the coloring of the artwork on some of the titles does suffer on the cheaper newsprint, the images still pop off the page thanks to the inherent talent of the artists involved. Newsprint was the way to go. The conceit of the project was to bring back that old nostalgia and that’s exactly what newsprint does. I know a smile came across my face when I saw the first issue on the shelf.

The comic, folded in half while sitting on the comic book store shelf, opens up gatefold-like to reveal its true size – that of a real newspaper! Yes – everything is larger here, both words and images, just like those comics I read as a kid. It really is beautiful to behold and I’m instantly taken back in time. Each of the 15 different titles within Wednesday Comics gets its own full page spread in order to tell a story that will continue in subsequent issues.

In regards to those titles, there’s a lot to glow over.

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso work the idea of impending doom perfectly in their Batman feature while Strange Adventures by underground auteur, Paul Pope, has a great sci-fi pulp sensibility to it. Kyle Baker’s artwork on Hawkman is incredible to behold while Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook make Kamandi feel like something from the 1930’s. It’s beautiful.

Even acclaimed comics creator and award winning novelist Neil Gaiman is in on the game, writing Metamopho the Element Man as if it’s still the late sixties: damsels are in distress, weird treasure is to be sought and the names and head shots of the various characters line the bottom of the page so that all readers know the cast.

There are some missteps as well. Even with the larger format, Wonder Woman by Ben Caldwell seems too dense to read but, strangely, this adds to the allure of the project. Even as a child, there were always characters I’d skip over, strips I’d read first or save until last.

This is no different. This is fun reading.

Initially, I didn’t think I’d be interested in a Demon and Catwoman crossover – but boy! I can’t wait until next week! And to once again see Jose Luis Garcia Lopez’s artwork (on The Metal Men) is a treat.

There’s something for everyone in Wednesday Comics, whether it’s action, mystery, science fiction or pulp weirdness. My childhood enthusiasm over newspaper-serialized comics is here again! All that’s missing is that cold glass of milk – easily within arms reach- and that ink on my fingertips.

Done and done.

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