Jack Kirby Collection Seventy-Three (magazine review).

February 27, 2018 | By | Reply More

The theme for the 73rd issue of ‘The Jack Kirby Collector’ is one-shots. I’m not sure themes are a good idea as it forces writers to contort the material to fit or seem to fit the topic. Anyway, I’ll pick out some highlights. The ‘Opening One -Shot’ is by editor John Morrow and focuses on the Disney Award Ceremony of 2017 where top Disney executives met and Stan Lee said nice things about Jack Kirby. Morrow then makes the valid point that Stan is a nice man really and the slightly mad Kirby fans who hate him should take a more balanced point of view.

The opener is followed by a Simon and Kirby production, an eight-page full colour western from Headline Comics # 28 (Feb. 1948) entitled ‘Murder Makes Bad Medicine’ which purports to be ‘the true facts behind a vicious plot that took 21 lives on an Indian Reservation.’ It’s set in 1921. Bill Hale is the bad guy who virtually owns the town of Fairfax, Oklahoma where oil had been discovered on Indian land. To get their money, Bill writes fake IOUs from them to his bank, hires gunmen to shoot the rich Indians and then claims the money he’s ‘owed’ from their estate. The no good varmint! The FBI cracks the case rather too easily on the last page but it’s a wordy and literate script while Kirby’s art is typical of that period, all lean figures and black splodges in a six-panel per page grid. I have an idea that 1948 is quite early to portray Indians as victims rather than bad guys but my research shows it was just starting to go that way, partly because World War II put people off racism.

There’s an interview with favourite Kirby inker Mike Royer in which he talks about his career and the people who guided and influenced him. Jack, of course, and Alex Toth gets mentioned but most of them are in the field of animation and unknown to me. Unlike comics of the past, animation paid well.

One Jerry Boyd practically takes over this issue with three pieces called ‘Boydisms 1, 2 And 3’ about one hit wonders. ‘’Boydisms 1’ is ‘a three pack of one-shots at Marvel’ and gives plot summaries of Fantastic Four # 56 (Nov 1966) ‘Klaw, The Murderous Master Of Sound’, Thor # 135 Dec 1966) with ‘The Maddening Mystery Of The Man-Beast’ and Tales Of Suspense # 84 (Dec 1966) ‘The Super-Adaptoid’ who gets no alliterative adjectives from Stan Lee. Why not ‘The Sizzling Surprise Of The Super-Adaptoid’ or the ‘Startling Shimmy Of The Super-Adaptoid’? No matter. The art decorating this shows Kirby at his peak. ‘Boydisms 2’ is ‘The Gods Themselves’ and looks at one-off characters in ‘New Gods’ such as Brola from New Gods # 2, Seagrin, the Black Racer, Steppenwolf, Magnar, Wonderful Willik and Devilance as well as some monsters Jimmy Olsen turned into. Okay, but imagining what Jack might have been thinking as he sat at his drawing board is stretching things a bit.

‘JK In The UK’ by Robert Menzies is the story of a one-shot drawing Kirby did of Captain Britain and Captain America together. British Marvel gave away prizes in those halcyon days and this was won by Mark Haynes of Twickenham, Middlesex. Menzies has tried to trace him but without success. Are you out there, Mark? Do you still have the drawing? It might be worth a few bob now. This is quite an interesting look at Marvel UK and explains why Jack never came to visit us. He was due to attend a convention in 1986 but terrorism was rife and Americans abroad were being targeted. Kirby’s childhood friend Leo Klinghoffer was killed by the PLO when they hijacked the MS Achille Lauro, despite being in a wheelchair. You can see why Kirby might have been nervous about a well-advertised public appearance.

Not a bad issue, all in all. At first glance, I could see nothing of interest but by its nature, TJKC is bitty, eighteen articles in this issue for example, so it’s hard to pick out the good parts unless you read it with close attention. So do! The pictures are the best thing in it, as I’m sure the writers would agree.

Eamonn Murphy

February 2018

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 page magazine. Price: $10.00 (US). ISBN: 919-449-0344. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.31 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_57&products_id=1345

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Category: Comics, Magazines, Superheroes

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Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction and fantasy writer and reviewer who lives in the south west of England. If you want to know more visit his website: https://eamonnmurphyblog.wordpress.com/

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