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!
Status, ruling class, and sub species.
And “King” Jack Kirby.
The theme of social status was the starting point of Kirby’s New Gods comic book title when he strode across the publishing divide, walking away from Marvel Comics and turning his talents and ideas to rival DC Comics.
And boy did he bring ideas and characters that still reverberate nearly five decades later: Darkseid, the Anti-Life Equation, New Genesis, Apokolips, gods, monsters, destiny… and politics.
Not to mention the visionary publishing invention of interlocking titles that constitute one, finite story.
Still, social status was only one of the themes of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” series of those interlocking comic book titles that included New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olson.
That story of social status continues, with a new generation of great creators in this week’s release of Bug!: The Adventures Of A Forager #1!
Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.
Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ take on the Justice League was a dramatic departure from the expected, which was a reboot of the team book featuring DC’s big seven (Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman). Let’s set the historical perspective for this issue. In the post-Crisis DC universe, the Legends crossover event had just wrapped up and the current incarnation of the Justice League (known as the Justice League Detroit) was destroyed, including their orbiting satellite base. Also at that time, Superman was being rebooted by John Byrne, Wonder Woman by George Perez, and the Flash (Wally West) by Mike Baron and Butch Guice. In the wake of all of this, the Justice League was being rebooted as well, but without the majority of those big seven superheroes. Giffen in his 2007 introduction to the hardcover reprint, mentions that they didn’t have input into who was going to be on the team.
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!
It’s a big week for fans of writer Grant Morrison. Not only has the cartoonified version of his absolutely amazing All-Star Superman series been released on Blu-Ray and DVD, but this week also sees the publication of his awe-inspiring, nay, legendary hardcover, Seven Soldiers of Victory Book 2.
You might know the characters: Mister Miracle, Zatanna, Bulleteer, Frankenstein and my favourite, Klarian the Witch Boy. All the c-listers the DC Universe has to offer plus a couple of under-the-radar z-listers thrown in for good measure.
Seven Soldiers of Victory, and the various tales that make up the overarching story was first published as seven different mini-series and two bookend comics in 2005 and 2006. It was a bit of a magnum opus for Grant Morrison and won him an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2006. Still, for the most part it flew under the radar, namely because of the esoteric characters involved in the series. I suppose everyone was wrapped up in Green Lantern and Avengers monthlies to take much notice. Those that did, however, read a pretty special series. An epic story as a matter of fact.
Here were seven different characters fighting against a common enemy in different time periods and planes of existence – without really knowing that each was fighting for the same cause.
What’s that? Sounds kooky? It was, to a certain degree, and coming from the sometimes overly fertile mind of Morrison, kooky is to be expected. But there is something here for everyone: action, adventure, intrigue, mystery and pathos. This is the stuff of great comics!
And that says nothing about the glorious artwork: Pascal Ferry is here, as is Yanick Paquette, Doug Mahnke, Ryan Sook and two of my favourites: Frazer Irving and J.H. Williams III.
Run out this Wednesday and get Seven Soldiers of Victory Book 2. If you missed Book 1, published last year, go out and get that too!
You’ll be very, very glad you did.
February 23, 2011