For several years I had the ridiculous good luck to be a paid instructor of a museum-based Dungeons & Dragons summer camp program. One of the great accomplishments I had during this run, along with spending an entire week discussing zombie prevention, was helping to transform the typically awkward teenage boy group into a group of awkward teenage boys and girls. It wasn’t a quick process, and credit goes to the first girls that felt comfortable enough in their weirdness to join the group, but it happened.
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!
“Even here in sleepy old Cefalu. The Trees affect everything. The way we behave. The way money moves around. The things we believe.”
Trees vol 1: In Shadow (issues 1-8)
Just to get it right out of the way – I am a Warren Ellis mark. In terms a non-wrestling fan can understand, I’m a big fan. If something has a name on it, there is a good chance I will give it a read.
As a writer, he possesses a real gift for taking a concept or premise in a direction you would never expect. He does this while managing to not get stuck in any one creative lane and over a wide variety of characters, from mainstream super-heroes to independent science fiction.
Because I’m a trades guy, I came across Trees while picking through the 3rd floor of BMV (Bloor and Spadina location in Toronto, amazing selection).
With Ellis name attached I felt comfortable grabbing something I had no ideas about going in. As usual, Mr. Ellis did not disappoint. Read the rest of this entry
If there are two things that I remember about comics in the 90s, they would be unnecessary pouches and DC heroes being “replaced” by a new character.
The idea of super hero identities as legacies have been explored on both sides of the eternal comics divide (DC vs Marvel), but DC really leaned into the concept with the transition from the silver age to the, then, modern age of their universe. Hal Jordan went nuts and complete new comer Kyle Rayner was given the last Green Lantern ring. Batman was broken and passed his cowl onto Azrael. Superman died battling doomsday, only to see four guys pop up with flowing red capes. The list goes on.
That isn’t to say that Marvel didn’t take a few swings at this device (shout outs to Beta Ray Bill and Jim Rhodes), but the idea of a “legacy” hero has always struck me as a very DC gimmick. And a gimmick, that I at least, have always enjoyed. Back when I bought issues instead of trades, I was totally dialed in each week to follow the decent of Jean Paul Valley as he tried to reconcile his programming as the assassin Azrael with his new role as the Batman. I followed in the background as Bruce Wayne battled back from his injuries and Robin and Nightwing struggled to make sense of their mentors decisions. I was a Kyle Rayner, Wally West and John Henry Irons fan. The idea that there needed to be a Batman, a Superman, a Green Lantern… this made for good stories.
Which brings me to what I thought was a really good story: the 30 issue run of The Superior Spider-Man by writer Dan Slot and artists Ryan Stegman, Humberto Ramos and Giuseppe Cammuncoli. I was a few years late to the table on this one, so I knew where the story was going but, thanks to the Marvel Unlimited App, I finally sat down last week and dove in.