The Jack Kirby Collector # 66 (magazine review)

December 23, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘The Jack Kirby Collector’ has been going for quite a while now. I used to get it occasionally or sometimes buy the collected editions, but haven’t seen it for a while. It hasn’t changed. This is not surprising as its remit has always been to provide samples of Kirby original art for fans to admire, accompanied by learned in depth analyses of old comicbook pages.


The mag opens with ‘Double Take’ in which editor John Morrow looks at the origins of Captain America. Next up is ‘Kirby Without Words’ by Kate Willaert, a not very earth-shaking look at how the ‘Marvel method’ sometimes led to dissonance between the dialogue and what was happening in the panels. To speed up comic production, Stan Lee used to give certain artists a bare plot to draw and then script it from the penciled pages he got back. Sometimes his ideas at the scripting stage differed slightly from those of the artist but not in any vital way, usually. Similarly trivial is a piece by Shane Foley that demonstrates, with pictures, how certain Kirby cover illustrations underwent minor alterations. Kirby trivia, it must be said, is also part of the remit of ‘The Jack Kirby Collector’.

The main features are a long article by Mark Evanier on Kirby, a transcript of a talk he gave at an art gallery in California that was having an exhibition of Kirby’s art. Evanier worked with the great man for a while and is certainly qualified to chat about him but there is nothing new here.

The best thing in this magazine is an interview conducted by Leonard Pitts with Jack Kirby himself. It was done in 1986, at a time when Marvel was holding on to a lot of his original art, refusing to release it until he signed something to say he had no rights to any of the characters, as I recall. Unsurprisingly, Jack is pretty scathing about Stan Lee who he says never wrote any stories or created anything. These allegations are old hat stuff by now and well known for a long time in the comic community. There’s some good stuff about Kirby’s origins in New York and how he got started in the comics industry.

‘This Man, This Writer’ is a compilation by Jerry Boyd of comments by others in the industry about Jack’s scripting. Kirby started scripting his own stories when he moved to DC Comics in 1970 and his style was old-fashioned and rather eccentric. By this time, most writers were trying to emulate Stan Lee. Most of the professionals are nice about Jack but reluctantly admit that his writing was not the best. The last few pages are given over to adverts and letters from readers.

All in all it’s a typical issue of ‘The Jack Kirby Collector’. I certainly enjoyed bits of it and looking at the man’s art is always a pleasure. The basic premise that Jack Kirby was the greatest comic artist and creator who ever lived is inherent in the origins of the magazine. The secondary premise that Stan Lee took all the credit for Jack’s work is sometimes challenged even in these pages. The magazine is gospel truth for Jack Kirby fanatics but still diverting for comicbook fans in general. Worth a look unless you’ve heard it all before.

Eamonn Murphy

December 2015

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 98 page illustrated magazine. Price: $10.95 (US). ISBN: 82658-23978-7. Direct from them, you can get it for $ (US))

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Category: Books, Comics

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