The ‘Jack Kirby Collector’ is a magazine published quarterly that celebrates the life and work of Jack Kirby. He’s mostly known for sketching comicbooks but there is far more to the famous Mr. Kirby. This particular issue is number #82 dated Winter 2022 and titled ‘The Many Worlds Of Jack Kirby’. It is priced at $10.95 which might seem high, but you get an awful lot of content for the price.
The front cover of the magazine uses ‘Galactic Head’, a Jack Kirby painting that is dated 1969. Technicolour would be an apt description but is a forerunner of what is to come. Page 1 contains a panel from page 59 of the ‘2001: Space Odyssey Treasury Edition’ book. It has been marked up to act as a colour guide. It certainly uses a lot of colours.
As usual pages 2 and 3 are given over to John Morrow’s editorial piece which for this issue is titled ‘Teaching The World(s) To Sing’. This months editorial is an odd one as it reflects on Kirby being recognised as a creator in the credits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. It seems one of Marrow’s aims was to keep the Kirby name in the public realm to ensure he got the recognition he deserved.
The theme of this edition is worlds and the various articles feature worlds in one way or another. For example, the first article is titled ‘Man Of The World’ with a subtitle of ‘Will The Real Jack Kirby Please Stand Up?’. It is an interview with Jack that was conducted in 1986 San Diego-Con by Mark Borax. For those new to Jack Kirby, he used a number of pen names at the start of his career.
This particular interview is particularly revealing of what he was doing at Marvel when it was struggling. In addition to being the artist, he had considerable input into the characters and stories. Other topics covered include the type of environment Jack grew up in and of his time in the army. There’s lots more besides but you get to expect that in an interview with Kirby.
Jerry Boyd has created an interesting article on the Black Panther and the Wakandan nation. I don’t remember seeing the Black Panther comics over here in the UK when they were first published in the late 70s. The Black Panther did feature in some of the other comics such Fantastic Four so I was aware of him and the Wakandan Nation but that’s about as far as my knowledge went.
The panels used in this feature are the initial Kirby pencil drawings with smaller panels of final coloured prints as they appeared in print. The difference between initial drawing and the end product are quite striking. While the initial drawing is the starting point, the final quality is greatly influenced by the inker and letterer. It really was a team effort and it had to be as there was strict time constraints.
While there are at least 8 other features and another classic Link Thorn story, I feel compelled to mention is the Jack F.A.Q.S article which starts on page 60. It’s usually a column answering frequently asked questions about Kirby but in this edition its given over to something else. Namely the transcript from the WonderCon 2021 Jack Kirby Virtual Panel. It was posted online (Jack Kirby Panel | WonderCon@Home 2021 – YouTube ) on March 26, 2021 so presumably was recorded one or two days before.
The panel featured Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Ross and conducted by Mark Evanier. Yes it is THAT Jonathan Ross. The one that does the ‘Jonathan Ross Show’ on ITV. I didn’t know he was such a big fan of Jack Kirby but he is. He makes some very good contributions to the discussions’ too. Its well worth a read and even a watch online.
The print version is of course edited to make it more readable, but it has the advantage of some Kirby pencil drawings. These are from lesser known (at least to me) works, which makes them much more interesting. The back stories on how or why they were created is fascinating.
The other articles which I have not had time to touch on are:-
- Kirby’s Dogs Of War!
- Norris Burroughs Teaches Kirby Kinetics
- Before And After Pencils & Inks
- Kirby’s Secret Societies
- The Evolution Of Ego, The Living Planet
- Obscure Kirby From Earth To Space
- Hollyworld / World Of Difference
- Kirby On Display, 1975 And Now
The Collector Comments section are readers letters and they are always worth a read. People read the magazine for different reasons as becomes apparent when you read the letters. It is also an international readership as in this issue we have three letters from the US, two from the UK and a very long and very good letter from Italy.
I have read a few of these magazines now and have yet to see any repetition in content or features. Each edition has been well worth the cover price.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 84 page magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISBN: 919-449-0344. Direct from them, you can get it for $10.95 (US))