Jack Kirby Collection Sixty-Seven (magazine review).

May 25, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Jack Kirby Collector’ keeps rolling along with its usual mix of tribute panels, articles, essays, old interviews with Jack, new interviews with experts and so on. It’s a glossy, nicely produced magazine with lots of colour though the text, I’m glad to say, is black on white. Some modern magazines put pink on yellow or other daft schemes to give you eyestrain. Don’t blink or you’ll miss the contents listing on the left side of page 3. It’s followed by ‘Opening Shots’ a scattershot history of the magazine and the publisher’s connections to Kirby. Many photos of the man, his family and friends along with plenty of art reproductions.

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‘Jack Kirby Remembers’ is an interview conducted by Will Murray in 1989. It’s mostly about ‘Fighting American’ and how Simon and Kirby came up with the idea and how it turned into a comedy. Flag-bearer Captain America comes up as well and Murray does his best to elicit some views from Kirby on Stan Lee’s version of Cap in the 1960s, as compared to Kirby’s forties work and his other run in the 1970s. Kirby simply says that he did the plot and Stan did the dialogue so ask Stan about the dialogue. Murray’s attempts to get an opinion fail. One is never sure what legal shenanigans were in session at any particular spot in Jack’s timeline so he may have been cagey of criticising Lee for that reason. On other occasions, he didn’t hold back.

On page 52, there’s another short interview from May 1971 in which Kirby is asked what he thought of Steranko’s version of Cap. Again he has no comment. He also says that he doesn’t feel he should inject his own politics into super-hero comics and that if politics should come into comics it should be a separate division like Romance or Crime. Questioned about Stan Lee putting his politics into ‘Daredevil’, he just says that’s up to Stan but he wouldn’t do it. I heard at a comiccon once that Jack thought comics were mostly for twelve year-old boys so his emphasis was on action and adventure. Fair enough.

This issue also features transcripts from a couple of tribute panels. The first is the panel discussion from the California State University Northbridge Art Galleries Kirby exhibit Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World Of Jack Kirby which ran from 24 August through 10 October 2015. The panel seems to consist of learned scholars and experts in cultural criticism and media studies. Hmmm. I’m sure it’s all valid but I get the impression that the producers of popular culture find this stuff a bit odd. Affable Paul McCartney is always nice about the stuff they write about Beatles songs but much ‘art’ is knocked off quick to fill an LP or a comicbook. This should be taken into consideration.

Of more interest to me was the 2015 ComicCon tribute panel with guests including Marv Wolfman, a comic creator whose work I know. As a young lad, Wolfman visited Kirby in his glory days at Marvel when he was producing the Galactus epic in ‘Fantastic Four’. I remember an essay in the opening issues of ‘The New Gods’ series in which he told eager readers that Jack had been fermenting these new inventions for years now, saving them up for the right opportunity because he sure wasn’t go give them to ‘The House Of Ideas’. Turns out Marv is particularly a fan of Kirby’s mythic stuff, starting with ‘Thor’ and ‘Tales Of Asgard’. He also mentioned that when Jack came back to Marvel in the 70s many of the new writer/editors there sneered at his ‘Captain America’, ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Eternals’ work – especially the scripting – but says he liked it. He says Stan Lee loved it, too. There’s also a lot of stuff in this section about how much Jack admired Wally Wood and vice versa.

When you get to the back page you may be surprised, pleased, disappointed or gobsmacked to see the prices now being paid for original art by Jack Kirby. $42,000 for one page of Fantastic Four # 40. Is it worth it for stuff turned out at three pages a day to make 10 cent comic books? Not really. This is an investors game now. These pages are usually inked so true fans can enjoy the same black and white viewing of the art by buying cheap reprint editions or even expensive reprint editions. ‘The Jack Kirby Collector’ is good for viewing many samples of the real original art, showing the raw power of Jack’s unlinked pencils. The articles are sort of fun but that’s the best thing about it.

Eamonn Murphy

May 2016

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 page magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISBN: 919-449-0344. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.31 (US))

check out websites: http://www.twomorrows.com/ and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_57&products_id=1215


Category: Comics, Illustration, Magazines

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