Saturday, May 03, 2008
Still the King
2008 continues to be a banner year for fans of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby. It's seen the completion of DC Comics hardback collections of Kirby's Fourth World books and the release of Mark Evanier's long awaited biography of the King. Now TwoMorrows Publishing has released Kirby Five-Oh! the fiftieth issue of their wonderful magazine the Kirby Collector.
Though John Morrow goes to great lengths to assure you that K50 is a magazine, it looks more like an oversize paperback book with its square spine and its hefty page count. But what it really is is a celebration. A massive volume absolutely stuffed full of Jack Kirby art and articles.
There are features such as Kirby's 50 Greatest Covers, (Most of which I agreed with) Kirby's 50 Greatest Character designs, (Less of which I agreed with but they were still nifty.) and a series of 50 tributes by people influenced by Kirby, including artists such as Steve Rude and Jim Steranko, and writers like Glen David Gold and Pulitzer winner, Michael Chabon.
But mostly there is the art. Page after page of Kirby pencils reproduced at tabloid size. I've looked through those pages half a dozen times since Wednesday and they still hit me with the force of an uppercut every time. Nobody's ever matched the sheer power that Kirby put on a page. There's spot art galore, but there's also a 50 page gallery of pulse pounding pencils (As Stan Lee might say.) that covers most of Kirby's major series and a few minor ones as well. New Gods, Fantastic Four, Kamandi, the Hulk, Captain Victory, Mr. Miracle, Forever People, Captain America, OMAC, The Losers, The Mighty Thor, 2001, Machine Man, The Demon, The Silver Surfer, and on and on.
Plus there are tons of photos (Jack at work. Jack at home. Jack at Conventions. Jack with his grandchildren. Jack with fans.) and a color section in the middle that reproduces some of Jack's water color illustrations and a few of his amazing collages. Magazine or not, this may be the best Kirby retrospective I've seen, and I've seen em all. Go out and buy a copy right now, or as Jack might say, "Don't Ask. Just Buy an Read! If your survive the action, you'll groove with the plot!"
Okay, so his syntax was a little funky. It doesn't matter. He's still the King.