It's no secret that Jack Kirby is my absolute favorite comic book artist. I've certainly gone on enough about him here at the blog. Over the last couple of weekends though I've been reminded yet again of what an amazing talent Kirby really was. I spent my Christmas money this year on two Marvel Omnibuses, a Captain America and a Mighty Thor. It's the Thor omnibus that I've been slowly perusing and let me tell you, this 768 page monster of a book has so much Kirby magic that it's almost overwhelming.
This is the point in Thor where Kirby was hitting his stride on the title. Here he manages to mix his love of Norse Mythology (A theme that had been popping up in his stories since the 1930s) with his equally strong love of Science Fiction. Such mind boggling concepts as The Colonizers, Ego the Living Planet, and The High Evolutionary push The Mighty Thor out of the realm of just another super hero book and into the true epic.
Meanwhile, The Tales of Asgard feature in the back of the comic went from just retelling Norse myths to amazing new tales of wonder and heroism set in the lands of the Norse Gods. Kirby drew quests and gigantic battles between armed men like no one had ever done it before. I always tell people that if you want a good idea of how Kirby might have handled a sword & sorcery title, then look no further than Tales of Asgard.
The artwork in all these stories is truly amazing. So much power and impact from the Kirby pencils. Most of the stories are inked by Vince Colletta. I'm not as rabid a hater of Colletta as some Kirby fans, though I do fault him for often erasing parts of Jack's pencils to speed things up. If there's any title on which Colletta's somewhat scritchy inkline worked, it was on Thor, particularly in the Asgard scenes, as Colletta's style worked best on more naturalistic settings. In a perfect world, Joe Sinnott, who inked Kirby on the majority of his Fantastic Four run could have inked Thor as well, but that's not how things turned out.
About the Omnibus itself, I'll say that the colors and printing are terrific, and the paper of high quality. The spine has been designed so that the giant tome lies flat, which allows you to sit on the couch and marvel at the Kirby madness. Like I said, it's so much awesome Kirby art that sometimes I had to put the book aside so as not to go into Kirby overload. Anyway, in case you can't guess, I really like the Marvel Mighty Thor Omnibus. If you're a Jack Kirby fan you need it in your collection.