Monday, August 4, 2008


ITEM! Time to make an unbelievably unabashed plug for the Jack Kirby Museum, the Intraweb’s virtual online source for... well, in this case.... The Source! Wouldja believe that in all my 85 years your Uncle Stanley has never seen all of King Kirby’s New Gods character designs all at one time and in full, rich, living color? Until now, that is. Randy Rand Hoppe and the crew at The Kirby Museum (with a little help it seems from Chrissie Harper) have posted full-color scans of both sets of drawings: Jack’s New Gods designs (including a few that never made into his Unfinished Fourth World Symphony... Robot Defender or Black Sphynx anyone?), and another set of the Elder Norse Gods that looks as though he was working up a more adult retooling of Marvel’s classic The Mighty Thor. These drawings all feature fabulous Kirby pencils, Darling Don Heck inks, and Jack's unique polychrome color-sense to boot! Seeing these things reproduced in dodgy black-and-white magazines over the years clearly did not do them justice! I can’t remember what the original Metron piece fetched on ebay when it went up for sale a couple of years ago, but it would’ve been a bargain at twice the price! Click on any of Honest Irv’s Fourth World Thumbnails below to be whisked away by Blog-Boom Tube to the Jack Kirby Museum’s God’s Gallery! Enjoy! 



Jonathan Nolan said...

Kirby was certainly very... distinctive. Unfortunately I think his stuff is sometimes overrated now and it means there's this false reverence- he had off days when creating just like anybody else.

Really, none of his later stuff fit into existing comicbook worlds. It should be extracted and incorporated into its own "Fourth World" universe methinks.

Stan the Man said...

We may have to agree to disagree on this one, Jon-Boy. King Kirby overrated? Anyone other artistic visionaries consistently ahead of their conceptual time that you think are overrated? Van Gogh? Picasso? Steve Jobs?

One of the reasons a lot of Jolly Jack's later day works may seem to be somewhat out of sync with the rest of Comicbookland is that while the vast majority of U.S. comics publishers were obsessively focused on the super hero genre, Jack was never bound by such sundry creative concerns. Most of his character creations post-1970 weren't really super heroes, no matter how often misunderstanding publishers tried their best to shoehorn his work back into that field. The New Gods are a prime example (along with Kamandi, The Demon, The Eternals, Machine Man... the list goes on and on).

One point that I agree whole-heartedly with is the idea that Jack's creations worked best living and breathing in their own Kirby-created milieus, which was usually his own preference as well. Again, many a publisher (myself included) made the mistake of trying to lever many Kirby-created characters into settings they were never meant to interact within. The results often speak for themselves... Thus endeth the lesson!


RAB said...

Well said, smiling one! You've summed up the King's latter-day position in the comics firmament with elegant concision.

One small point: unlike the other vibrant visionaries of the visual you cite above -- er, sorry, something about commenting here makes me feel alliterative -- I wouldn't describe Steve Jobs as comparable to Jack Kirby, but rather to a certain fellow named Stan Lee. Jobs was not an inventor or maker of things; instead, his vision came in the form of being the boss who recruited amazing talents to create the sort of things he wanted to give the public. Each was the guy with a touch of hustler and huckster who could get in front of a crowd and be the public face of a company he made synonymous with innovation...and while he was at it, synonymous with himself as well. The language may have been different, but Steve Jobs has often said to his employees and fans the equivalent of "Okay, true believers, let's get out there and create that Mighty Apple Magic!" and inspired his troops to give their all.

Stan the Man said...

Alliterative and alert as always, Rabunctious One! But wouldn't that make both Steve Jobs and Yours Truly the Funky Flashman's of our respective companies? Oh wait... you may be onto something there, Rab! I get a little confused sometimes. Let me consult my Motherbox, er... iPhone! Until it summons up either a Boom Tube or Google Maps to give me a clue which way to turn in this conversation, I'm just gonna keep Making Mine Marvel!