Let's talk about Jack Kirby

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So is that Jimmy Olsen stuff any good, then? And how about that new biography?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 30 July 2004 12:10 (nineteen years ago) link

Haven't read the Jimmy Olsen stuff, though they've got it at my f.n. library.
But Phil Hester, who draws Green Arrow, reminds me of Kirby. In a good way.

Huck, Friday, 30 July 2004 14:03 (nineteen years ago) link

The Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen Adventures is K-lassic. Second volume is coming out soon. Now if only they'd do a nice color reprint of all Kirby's Fourth World and Kamandi work.

But seriously, the Jimmy Olsen stuff is utterly insane and is prime Kirby lunacy. Underground civilizations, four armed mutants, the Newsboy Legion and a visceral understanding of Superman that few other creators can ever hope to muster. You won't regret it.

Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:59 (nineteen years ago) link

I know this is heresy, I know he created just about every great character in the Marvel Universe, I know he created a few cool ones for DC too, I know hes about the most influential creator in history, I know his work is pretty varied, i know I probably owe loving comics as a form to him, but.....I don't really get Kirby.
Don't really like his stuff, I mean. Not the way I should. Always liked Ditko (if we're talking 60s Marvel) better.
Read - and quite liked - FF and X-Men and Avengers stuff. Could never love it. That art is really, frankly, so damn ugly.
The New Gods stuff I find just about unreadable. Everybody shouting all the exposition! Only one tone no matter what the storyline of moment depicted!
Any Kirby that might actually convince me? Or am I a lost cause?

David N (David N.), Friday, 30 July 2004 22:27 (nineteen years ago) link

Sounds like you're a lost cause, dude. KirbyLove is sorta like jazz. You get it or you don't. Sure, Kirby's storytelling technique is as crude as the way he draws fingers, but at the heart of it, underneath the clumsy dialogue and single tone (LOUD) is huge epic mythmaking. His draftsmanship might be questionable, but his layouts and imagination are huge.

There's a chance that you might like his later work on Thor, which is somewhat more refined in terms of artwork and cosmic in scope, but it's still Kirby. It's also hard to track down, since it's never been officially collected.

Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Friday, 30 July 2004 22:39 (nineteen years ago) link

Jack Kirby is in my all-time top five comics scripters easily so I am not the best person to ask about lost causeness :)

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Saturday, 31 July 2004 09:24 (nineteen years ago) link

Ditko is sort of the anti-Kirby - kind of skewed, neurotic, awkward-looking. I love both, but Kirby is easier to take in large doses.

anyone remember the Comics Journal interview with Art Spiegelman where he and Gary Groth got into a heated argument over the merits of JK? if i recall, Spiegelman describes Kirby's work as "unpleasantly exuberant, like being sprayed with spit by a chattering teenager."

(who are the other four, Tom?)

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 31 July 2004 09:34 (nineteen years ago) link

Spiegelman needs to be hit over the head with a very large truck.

Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Saturday, 31 July 2004 15:54 (nineteen years ago) link


David R. (popshots75`), Saturday, 31 July 2004 16:51 (nineteen years ago) link

hey, that interview's online: http://www.tcj.com/2_archives/i_spiegelman.html

I do wish they'd reprint the complete FF with the original colors (the Marvel Masterworks versions look pretty muddy and unattractive to me). I saw a few panels from the Galactus trilogy (FF 48-50, the pinnacle of all superhero comics ever) in a coffee table Marvel book at the library a while ago and it left me wishing I could afford to buy the original issues.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 31 July 2004 20:02 (nineteen years ago) link

The New Gods and Fourth World stuff was basically an outline for Star Wars.

Huck, Saturday, 31 July 2004 21:25 (nineteen years ago) link

Somebody put some more cool kirby artwork in this thread. I can't be bothered to look for it myself.

Wooden (Wooden), Saturday, 31 July 2004 23:48 (nineteen years ago) link

I think the Witchboy on the cover is Klarion, soon to appear in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory thing.

Huck, Saturday, 31 July 2004 23:58 (nineteen years ago) link

Dig this. Kirby designs for Roger Zelazny's _Lord of Light_; movie project that was abandoned.


Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Sunday, 1 August 2004 02:51 (nineteen years ago) link

Umm off the top of my head JD - Grant Morrison, Jaime Hernandez, Pat Mills up to about '85, Peter Bagge maybe.

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Sunday, 1 August 2004 09:09 (nineteen years ago) link

I think he's one of comics' greatest writers too, although it was always better if someone would rewrite the actual words for him - Stan, Mark Evanier. I think he might have been the most fertile creative mind of the 20th Century. I think his artwork is colossally powerful and dramatic, and he also handles quiet scenes far better than most give him credit for. There are other contenders for greatest creator in comic book history (Tezuka, Barks, Kurtzman, Crumb spring to mind first), maybe, but not many. He was extraordinary of being at the forefront of an artform for over 40 years - say from the creation of Cap through to being in the vanguard of the start of independent comics. That's an astounding achievement.

I shook his hand once. I felt hugely honoured to meet him.

(My other favourite writers: Morrison, Gerber, Barks, Kurtzman, probably Gilbert ahead of Jaime, Moore.)

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 1 August 2004 12:25 (nineteen years ago) link

Best thing about kirby? The massive crazy helmets. I love em.

Wooden (Wooden), Sunday, 1 August 2004 12:52 (nineteen years ago) link

J.D., I'll sell you my copies.

Rock Hardy (Rock Hardy), Sunday, 1 August 2004 22:29 (nineteen years ago) link

"Sure, Kirby's storytelling technique is as crude as the way he draws fingers, but at the heart of it, underneath the clumsy dialogue and single tone (LOUD) is huge epic mythmaking. His draftsmanship might be questionable, but his layouts and imagination are huge."

I think you're too hard on his draftsmanship. He didn't strive for realism. He was much more expressionistic. Kind of like some painters. Max Beckman comes to mind. At his best, he was probably the most powerful comic artist I've ever seen.

Not That Chuck, Wednesday, 4 August 2004 18:25 (nineteen years ago) link

I think his draughtsmanship was excellent. It's stylised and he overdid the forced perspective at times, but he could really draw.

Also, I don't disagree with the mythmaking line, but I think that sometimes masked the substantial thematic content - this is especially obvious in the Fourth World, since he didn't have a Stan Lee there trying to change and dilute his meanings, as it is said Stan did on the FF and other Marvel titles.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Wednesday, 4 August 2004 19:25 (nineteen years ago) link

that's nice of you, rock, but i'm afraid i'm broke! school and all that.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 5 August 2004 02:09 (nineteen years ago) link

I never said that Kirby couldn't draw, but that his drawings were sometimes crude. Perhaps the wrong word, and something not so loaded would have worked better, but if you compare Kirby's work to the over-rendered stuff that's flooding the stands today, it's crude. And that's not a bad thing. Kirby's power lay in his staging and imaginativeness, not his delicate linework.

Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Thursday, 5 August 2004 02:27 (nineteen years ago) link

I think you may be conflating boldness with crudeness. Crude is certainly a negative word, and there's nothing superior about intricacy and delicacy in the rendering. I think this is a common and weird idea, that more and thinner lines is somehow better. This would mean that Toth, Kirby, Ditko and Pratt rank pretty low in the comic art quality spectrum, which is plainly wrong.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 5 August 2004 09:37 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, it's that "crude" word. Crude implies that an artist or craftsman can't do better. Kirby is making a choice that's as valid as any more finely rendered style. And more my taste, more vital.

Not That Chuck, Thursday, 5 August 2004 16:55 (nineteen years ago) link

one year passes...

the food has a top snake of 1 (ex machina), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 16:03 (eighteen years ago) link

Have you watched that mpeg of him talking? He's pretty normal. I've always imagined that he constantly went about wearing a enormous helmet, shouting everything with a crazy wide-eyed expression.

chap who would dare to thwart the revolution (chap), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 18:51 (eighteen years ago) link

kirby artwork = crude when inked by plonkers like Dick Ayers, George Roussos, Paul Reinman and the notorious Colletta (who actually erased bothersome b/ground etc. detail), or when he was REALLY knocking it out for puny dough (eg the Atlas monster strips for Lee). Also, there's no denying that Kirby's work get clunkier/uglier/cruder in the last ten years of his career.

but then look at the recently published Essential FF Vol 4, esp the earlier issues where Kirby was still drawing at the larger 'twice up' size. this was marvel's flagship title, and kirby gives it his all - character, action, romance, da woiks - PLUS he gets a shiny-slick finish from joe sinnott, poss. his best ever inker. there's nothing crude or inelegant abt kirby when he's at the top of his game.

Ward Fowler (Ward Fowler), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 18:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I used to hate Mike Royer inks over Kirby, but I'm starting to reconsider — it's like an extra layer of SPLABAMMM over the core of KERRANNNGG!!!!

I used to sorta like Vince Colletta's work until I found out what he did to Kirby's pencils.

Rock Hardy (Rock Hardy), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 21:56 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...

no love for these fantastic Fourth World Omnibus editions?!?

for shame

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 2 November 2007 21:55 (sixteen years ago) link


Oilyrags, Saturday, 3 November 2007 14:32 (sixteen years ago) link

See here.

I've been on a tremendous Kirbykick, as various recent scattered posts may attest to (and, of course, the title of the most recent SHIP thread I conjured up).

R Baez, Saturday, 3 November 2007 20:17 (sixteen years ago) link

It's fun to finally get ahold of these oft-mythologized works and realize that the hype is in no way forced.

ALSO: I desperately need a Showcase: Kamandi. NOW.

R Baez, Saturday, 3 November 2007 20:49 (sixteen years ago) link

It's fun to finally get ahold of these oft-mythologized works and realize that the hype is in no way forced.

My reaction exactly. I was expecting the first volume to lead in slowly with more "normal" stuff but right off the bat it's Newsboy Legion! Whiz Wagon! Wild Area! Crazy high-tech biker civilization! MOUNTAIN OF JUDGMENT! All in the first damn issue. Needless to say I am enjoying this tremendously.

Telephone thing, Thursday, 8 November 2007 09:05 (sixteen years ago) link

Those two Archive Kamandi editions are worth springing for, the reproduction on them is REALLY beautiful

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 November 2007 13:04 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah I'd never really sat down and read the Jimmy Olsen stuff before - just ridiculously great.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 8 November 2007 18:45 (sixteen years ago) link


Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 12 November 2007 21:35 (sixteen years ago) link

WOW! I had loads of this stuff reprinted in FEAR and MONSTERS ON THE PROWL when I was five, and it's all still indelibly burned on my brain - great to see it again, and more of the same!

Soukesian, Tuesday, 13 November 2007 23:01 (sixteen years ago) link

I've been curious about Kamandi. One of the first comics I ever had when I was about five or six years old was an issue of Kamandi and it kind of weirded me out at the time.

earlnash, Wednesday, 14 November 2007 03:17 (sixteen years ago) link

LCS had a giant sale this weekend, and I got the first two Kirby Omnibi. I HAVE HEARD THE WORD--IT IS BATTLE!

Dr. Superman, Monday, 19 November 2007 18:49 (sixteen years ago) link

2nd one will have to wait for me, I recently blew most of my comics money on the Thor reprints.

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 19 November 2007 22:10 (sixteen years ago) link


Dr. Superman, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I hated Kirby's work when I was little. At the time I thought it was flat-out bad, but in retrospect I was just freaked-out and overwhelmed by the energy.

Rock Hardy, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm sure we've discussed this before, maybe in this very thread, but can you explain this "energy" to me? On a basic aesthetic level, I have a hard time seeing past the blocky shapes of his figures.

Leee, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:56 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Ooo, a Jack Kirby thread. I don't get Jack Kirby. Acromegaly and Wagnerian shtick; what's the attraction? Maybe I'd appreciate it more if I wore a trenchcoat.

Rich Smörgasbord, Sunday, 9 December 2007 20:41 (sixteen years ago) link

seven months pass...


Read "The Strange World of Your Dreams" free online!

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 01:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Just in case people don't know about them, DC is printing a Demon Omnibus in November and a Losers Omnibus sometime in early 2009.

Telephone thing, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 02:57 (fifteen years ago) link

seven months pass...

I finished up reading the first Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 1 and for the past week or so I have been going through Essential Captain America Vol. 1. It takes a while for Jack and Stan to decide what they want to do with Cap, but once Nick Fury and the Red Skull show up in current Marvel time with the cosmic cube, it is some good 60s Marvel comics.

It makes me wish Marvel would do an Essential Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD. I've read the Steranko issues but would love to read that one from the start.

earlnash, Thursday, 5 March 2009 01:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Cosmic Cube! Man I totally forgot about that. I think I could spend the rest of my life poring over Kirby's prime 60s-70s stuff. Made it through Thor and New Gods stuff last year... where is Kamandi reprint!

One of the Most High Profile Comedy Directors of the 90s (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 5 March 2009 22:37 (fourteen years ago) link

or at least several ppl have corroborated it (so it's as true as we could possibly know)

I got the Simon/Kirby Science Fiction omnibus out of the library. Some rough early stuff but man some really great work too.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 23:08 (six years ago) link

speaking of scrappin' jack:


(these pix are from the 'jack kirby: king of comics' facebook page run by kirby's grandson btw)

physicist and christian lambert dolphin (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:29 (six years ago) link

dude is so much like my prone-to-screaming-argument jewish veteran gpa it's a little frightening

removed from the rain drops and drop tops of experience (ulysses), Thursday, 23 March 2017 17:21 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

guys should i get this as a full-length back tattoo y/n


heck i've even been an 'oyster pirate' (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:41 (six years ago) link

My dumb work is blocking that image for some reason but it's presumably Kirby art so my gut says yes.

Trockasturm Hoar The Ramming Battle Ceraton (Old Lunch), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:43 (six years ago) link

First page of The Dingbats of Danger St? That's one for the more season Kirby reader.

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:47 (six years ago) link


Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:47 (six years ago) link

it's like a kirby bingo full house

heck i've even been an 'oyster pirate' (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:48 (six years ago) link

true heads go for back tats of Baron Von Evilstein imo

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 18:58 (six years ago) link

The weirdest stuff always has an element of comedy.

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:00 (six years ago) link

tho it is missing kirby krackle so not entirely complete

I'm always thinking that opening line in my head while walking around doing chores etc


or at night (Jon not Jon), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:14 (six years ago) link

If you get it as a tat, maybe exclude the racist Asian caricature in the lower right corner?

Tuomas, Tuesday, 6 June 2017 13:02 (six years ago) link

you mean Bananas?

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 6 June 2017 16:09 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

Born 100 years ago today.

facing front, pilgrim

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 28 August 2017 21:08 (six years ago) link

Hail To The King!

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 28 August 2017 21:30 (six years ago) link

Don't Ask! Just Buy It!

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Monday, 28 August 2017 21:36 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

"Jacob and the Angel"

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 16:37 (six years ago) link

The composition is amazing in that drawing

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 29 November 2017 04:02 (six years ago) link

Anybody got the "don't dangle your gonads in my ear" panel?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:26 (six years ago) link

holy shit at jacob and the angel, that is gorgeous

hi i’m darren and i’m a bouncer from bendigo (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:31 (six years ago) link

five months pass...

jfc I have a half dozen OG issues and would like the rest but this is insane


Οὖτις, Thursday, 24 May 2018 22:38 (five years ago) link

is it real or is it algorithmic

also presumably you get lurid colour reconstruction and bad repro or tracing in that version

we used to get our kicks reading surfing MAGAzines (sic), Thursday, 24 May 2018 23:53 (five years ago) link

Eh i like the 4th World omnibuses just fine

Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 01:35 (five years ago) link

hopefully we get a reprint

btw this has been pretty great, not sure if anyone mentioned it yet

Nhex, Friday, 25 May 2018 01:42 (five years ago) link

Ah! Heard about that but also forgot about it. I love scioli

Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 02:04 (five years ago) link

i like the 4th World omnibuses just fine

those are DC, Eternals is Marvel

we used to get our kicks reading surfing MAGAzines (sic), Friday, 25 May 2018 02:23 (five years ago) link


Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 02:27 (five years ago) link

Are u telling me marvel is worse w this stuff? I like the Thor and FF masterworks volumes i have too. Yes the colors are brighter/more garish than the individual issues i have, but those issues also dont look that great themselves (color separations are often super-sloppy) and of course are also falling apart.

Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 02:29 (five years ago) link

Speculators who fix the prices of comics reprint collections at about the range of a large kitchen appliance should probably be, I dunno, arrested or deported or something. Branded, on the face, maybe? Nagh, that might be too much.

Trades of that Eternals material were available at reasonable prices when I acquired them a few years back. And it'll almost certainly be reprinted again prior to the release of the movie.

I have that Eternals hardcover, gotta say that the repro and colour on it are just fine as far as these things go. By the 1970s, Marvel had started to keep decent film of the original art, so there's less 'reconstruction' going on. TBH, the last few issues of Kirby's Eternals are fairly dispiriting - we get the 'Cosmic Powered Hulk', and the feeling that Kirby has somewhat lost interest or focus in the material. The first paperback collection of issues 1-8 is probably all really you need.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 25 May 2018 08:16 (five years ago) link

Are u telling me marvel is worse w this stuff

well yeah, prima facie. no idea about this hardcover in particular, but iirc DC gave up Theakstonising after three or four Archives.

we used to get our kicks reading surfing MAGAzines (sic), Friday, 25 May 2018 08:26 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

We saw this at the Marvel exhibit at the Seattle Pop Culture Museum:


DJI, Monday, 24 September 2018 18:38 (five years ago) link

LOL, that's awesome

growing up in publix (morrisp), Monday, 24 September 2018 22:27 (five years ago) link

five months pass...


The first victory on Sunday night belonged to Carter, who won Best Costume Design. “Marvel may have created the first black superhero,” she said in her speech, “but through costume design, we turned him into an African king.”

i mean... sure, the initial design is a bit clunky but the basic visual elements are still very much recognizable. i get that t'challa's been reimagined for a new era and part of that era is not genuflecting too hard toward a guy who had a tendency to call the character "a black", but I do find it unnecessary to write kirby completely out of the process when much of his core visual identity was already (often excellently!) retro co-opted by an array of afrofuturist artists long prior to the movie!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 26 February 2019 16:09 (four years ago) link

The article you linked to seems to acknowledge Kirby (and Lee) pretty extensively, though(?)

yuh yuh (morrisp), Tuesday, 26 February 2019 21:19 (four years ago) link

Sure, my beef is moreso with the costume/design team which i have never heard acknowledge kirby's input at all? I'm aware there was a concerted effort to truly Africanize the look and feel and I get that but Kirby is at the root and that's not something to be ashamed of.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 26 February 2019 21:24 (four years ago) link

three months pass...
two months pass...


Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 2 September 2019 11:48 (four years ago) link

four months pass...

that Lainie Kazan!

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 15 January 2020 01:22 (three years ago) link

Wish I could find the precise + persuasive illustration used in the comparison I saw the other day but (and perhaps I'm just the last person to be hipped to the notion) it seems not unlikely that Ben Grimm is modeled after Jack's father, Ben.


Dr. Teeth and the Women (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 15 January 2020 01:35 (three years ago) link

Anyone read that Stuf' Said! book yet? With the chronological interview snippets from Lee & Kirby discussing who created what at Marvel (and which apparently and unsurprisingly favors Kirby)? Curious if anything new or interesting was revealed.

Dr. Teeth and the Women (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 15 January 2020 01:39 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

Jack Kirby left Marvel 50 years ago. pic.twitter.com/axYHfshGmO

— Sean Howe (@louchelarue) March 6, 2020

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 6 March 2020 20:40 (three years ago) link

my first reaction - "in 1950? is that right?"

my second reaction - "oh god how did it become 2020 already"

Piven After Midnight (The Yellow Kid), Friday, 6 March 2020 22:00 (three years ago) link

I had this comic as a kid; wish I still did. I remember it was pretty weird.


Panic! At The Costco (morrisp), Sunday, 8 March 2020 06:36 (three years ago) link

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