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Alter Ego #170 July 2021 (magazine review).

July 6, 2021 | By | Reply More

One thing that there has been an absence in the pages of ‘Alter Ego’ is Jack Kirby. As editor Roy Thomas explains, Kirby does have his own magazine at TwoMorrows and if he hadn’t then there would have been several issues devoted to him by now. So, after some thought, he came up with what we have here so not to tread on old ground.

The opening article on Iron Man and how Kirby created the original armour with a skirt that Don Heck switched to metallic trunks and then ended up with both versions over different artists before a total revision by Steve Ditko does show creativity and ease of wear (sic) went together. I actually sided with Don Heck, that shellhead needed a neck so Stark could look around and certainly the ‘skirt’ would have limited leg mobility. Then again, the arm and leg joints would have limited movement.

Now here’s a bit of odd info as, according to writer Aaron Caplan, the first used professional comicbook artist art used in an American fanzine was that of the Thing by Jack Kirby no less in ‘Alter Ego’s first run. When you consider the primitive cheap printing in the early 1960s, I’m more amazed at the detail.

Barry Pearl and Nick Caputo compile Stan Lee’s opinions from 1961-2014 about Jack Kirby. I hadn’t realised that Lee had offered Kirby the post of art director at Marvel who refused, preferring to be a freelancer. That made me have a think and I suspect Kirby probably preferred to work from home than regular commutes into New York. There’s a lot of candid honesty in the various thoughts that should make you think.

Roy Thomas’ own discussion about Jack Kirby contradicts those who think he didn’t like him. On a professional level, he’s totally accurate and was certainly looking out for comics with Kirby’s art in when young. Something I wasn’t aware of was that the one of my favourite spoofs, ‘This Is A Plot?’, used in Fantastic Four Annual # 5, was drawn and written by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee wasn’t keen on it. Oh, SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell was loosely based off Roy Thomas, although I think that was an open secret.

Michael T. Gilbert shows how Kirby would rework some designs for covers for different stories shouldn’t be regarded as uncommon. After all, there has to be a limit to choices for an action scene, let alone make for a good cover. Seeing his work over Kirby designs to match different titles is more of an art exercise.

For those who didn’t know, Kirby did work briefly at Quality on their Captain Marvel mixing a touch of CC Beck’s approach with his own type of battle scenes and machinery. Interestingly, his Captain Marvel never flew.

I’ve glossed over some articles but more to picking out the pieces that I can write more about. I suspect this ‘Alter Ego’ will sell quickly to the Kirby fans so don’t leave it too long before getting your copy.

GF Willmetts

July 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6890. Direct from them, you can get it for  (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=1610

 

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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