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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

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


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

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Huck, Saturday, 31 July 2004 21:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Wooden (Wooden), Sunday, 1 August 2004 12:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Rock Hardy (Rock Hardy), Sunday, 1 August 2004 22:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

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

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

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

for shame

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 2 November 2007 21:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Oilyrags, Saturday, 3 November 2007 14:32 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 November 2007 13:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 12 November 2007 21:35 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Dr. Superman, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...


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

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 01:05 (ten years ago) Permalink

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 (ten years ago) Permalink

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 (nine years ago) Permalink

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 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yep those are both very very good books.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 21:33 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I was going to mention the Kurtzman and Caniff books, both great reads. There's a Herriman bio coming out in December that looks pretty interesting.

spastic heritage, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 21:37 (two years ago) Permalink

I love "Hand Of Fire"

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 20 October 2016 04:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Harry Thompson's Herge bio is not as good or researched or capable of conveying the wonder of his art as the same author's Peter Cook bio, but it's still delightful

Bob Levin's Most Outrageous is naturally more concerned with investigation than telling the story of Tinsley's life, but it gets that in there, as well as a lot of critical assessment of his art and career, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more intriguing subject for a cartoonist's bio

Shakey δσς (sic), Thursday, 20 October 2016 04:24 (two years ago) Permalink

That book about Charles Schulz from a couple years back was supposed to be good - did anyone read?

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:27 (two years ago) Permalink

Yes, I did. A bit of a curate's egg - good on the early years of the strip, not so good thereafter. At times, it felt that the writer was much more interested in Schulz's wealth, his celebrity, his extra-marital affair, than with the work itself (tho there was interesting stuff about the similarities between Lucy and Schulz' first wife, and the way that their sometimes tempestuous relationship played itself out in the comic strip). The family were heavily critical of it. Again, there are other books still to be written about Schulz.

Foster Twelvetrees (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:36 (two years ago) Permalink

FWIW, I wrote a review of it here:


Foster Twelvetrees (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Great review!

schwantz, Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:18 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah! I looked at the Spiegleman thing you mentioned too - that's so sweet

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 20 October 2016 16:32 (two years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

I read a story recently (when "punching Nazis" was a hot topic), saying that when Kirby was doing Cap-vs.-Hitler stuff in the early '40s, a couple of white power dudes called up to the Timely offices from the bldg's lobby and demanded to see the guy writing that stuff. Simon or other staffers cautioned him not to go, but Kirby rolled up his sleeves and went right down to the lobby (...only to find the guys had left). True?

morrisp, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 22:56 (one year ago) Permalink

yes that is true

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 23:07 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink


Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:47 (one year ago) Permalink

it's like a kirby bingo full house

heck i've even been an 'oyster pirate' (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:48 (one year ago) Permalink

true heads go for back tats of Baron Von Evilstein imo

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 18:58 (one year ago) Permalink

The weirdest stuff always has an element of comedy.

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:00 (one year ago) Permalink

tho it is missing kirby krackle so not entirely complete

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:12 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

you mean Bananas?

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 6 June 2017 16:09 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Born 100 years ago today.

May contain peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, pits or pit fragments. (WilliamC), Monday, 28 August 2017 20:57 (one year ago) Permalink

facing front, pilgrim

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

Hail To The King!

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 28 August 2017 21:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Don't Ask! Just Buy It!

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Monday, 28 August 2017 21:36 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

"Jacob and the Angel"

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 16:37 (one year ago) Permalink

The composition is amazing in that drawing

absorbed carol channing's powers & psyche (morrisp), Wednesday, 29 November 2017 04:02 (one year ago) Permalink

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

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:26 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

Eh i like the 4th World omnibuses just fine

Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 01:35 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

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

Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 02:04 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink


Οὖτις, Friday, 25 May 2018 02:27 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

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 really like the acting, dialogue and especially the scenes (Old Lunch), Friday, 25 May 2018 03:17 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

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 (six months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

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


DJI, Monday, 24 September 2018 18:38 (two months ago) Permalink

LOL, that's awesome

growing up in publix (morrisp), Monday, 24 September 2018 22:27 (two months ago) Permalink

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