Jack Kirby Collector Seventy-Nine (magazine review).

This is my second issue of ‘Jack Kirby Collector’, TwoMorrows Publishing’s regular dive into the life and legacy of Marvel and DC visionary Jack Kirby and I’m beginning to see how each issue fits together.

The Kirby comic explored this issue is one I’d never heard of, ‘OMAC’ (One Man Army Corp), an interesting SF tale about a future where humanity has weapons so powerful it needs a police force to prevent anyone using them. However, while OMAC’s concepts and themes are discussed in plenty of detail and several really nice pencil-artwork pages are shown, I never quite got an overall feel for the comic or how it ended.

This isn’t helped by the decision to write these pieces from the perspective of ‘Brother Eye’, the super-computer from the comic instead of someone just laying out the facts. Perhaps this is all incredibly obvious to the die-hard Kirby fans that are likely to be reading this issue but it left a dabbler like myself somewhat in the dark. For example, I’ve still no idea what this issue’s OMAC cover image with ‘woman poking out of a kitchen sink being thrown at the viewer’ is all about.

Other than OMAC, the bigger features this issue include:-

A translation of a French language interview with Kirby from 1992 covering his early days and working style.

A look at Kirby’s costumes and splash-pages, with notes from Scott Fresina, a friend of his.

More pages from the Link Thorne comics which, like last issue, tell a good story but come very close to crossing into racist stereotypes.

A look at how Marvel comicbooks, which include Kirby artwork, are helping kids with literacy. This was the one piece this issue that gave me a feeling of ‘this modern stuff is rubbish, Kirby was much better’, which occasionally seemed to surface in the previous issue, too.

An exploration of the Watcher character and some interesting speculation about his ever-changing appearance and costumes.

Another interesting piece covers several questions relating to comics like the ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’, such as can the Hulk fly in these comics or just jump a really long way with evidence pointing both ways.

A look at some characters that Kirby worked on but which have changed substantially since then, including the Human Torch and Wesley Dodds, the original Sandman not the latter of Neil Gaiman fame.

Finally, another long interesting and amusing write-up of a 2019 Kirby tribute panel, which includes Kirby’s grandkids, Tracy and Jeremy.

There’s plenty of smaller stuff in the issue, too, so once again you get plenty of content for your money. So while I didn’t think this issue did a great job of introducing its main comic to those new to Kirby, I still enjoyed the mix of trivia and detailed insights of ‘Jack Kirby Collector Seventy-Nine’.

Stuart Maine

December 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 84 page magazine. Price: $12.95 (US). ISBN: 919-449-0344. Direct from them, you can get it for $ (US))

check out website: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_57&products_id=1542

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