Jack Kirby, the once and future King

Posted: August 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments »

From "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen" #147

When I first came across the work of Jack Kirby, I didn’t get it.

At the time, the man who was already called King was beyond me. I thought the art was ugly. I thought the writing was overwrought and overlong. The stories themselves seemed needlessly complicated.

I was, of course, wrong.

The art was groundbreaking, both in terms of layout and design, and the sheer energy arced off the page (there’s a reason it’s called “Kirby crackle” now). The writing was epic (in the classic sense of the word), and the King was shooting for creating nothing less than a modern mythology through sheer force of will. Amazingly, he succeeded, even if most people don’t realize it yet. Gods and heroes are larger than life, and so are their feelings and dramas, their victories and failures. Kirby’s writing and dialogue brought this to full realization.

I could gush about Jack Kirby all day long, telling you how he reinvented comics and blazed a trail still being followed today. I could post picture after picture of art work, displaying his monstrous talent at depicting everything from a New York City romance to cosmic battles of Good and Evil. I could tell you how his death in 1994 was a true loss, and how today’s comic book industry would do well to learn from the legacy he left behind. And it still wouldn’t be enough.

So instead, I’ll just say — happy 95th birthday, Jack. Thanks for everything.


Jack Kirby at work in "The Dungeon" — his basement studio — in 1949.

The Kirby family is commemorating Jack Kirby’s birthday by working with The Hero Initiative, an organization well worth your attention. The group helps veteran comic book creators who find themselves in tough financial situations, a problem that is unfortunately all too common. If you can, check it out and and honor Kirby’s memory by pitching in, in whatever way you can.

It’s Kalimánday! Escuche!

Posted: August 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »


Sometimes ‘taking out the trash’ just means you gotta take the trash outside

Posted: August 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Sandy pointed me toward this article about the “Heroes Next Door” photo exhibit in Honk Kong, which puts well-known superhero characters into everyday situations. The work, by photographers Chow Kar Hoo and Chris Lam, is good stuff, both in terms of technical expertise and the staging and casting. Wolverine up there is pretty great, and I don’t know why someone hasn’t put the pair’s Wonder Woman in a movie yet.

The concept isn’t an original idea, but it’s certainly one of the better executed. Also (for me at least) the reaction of the average citizen on the street is just as interesting as the intended contrast between the hero and their setting. In the series of shots you’ll see Batman — the somber and serious Dark Knight — striding through a narrow market as people dare to glance at him only after he’s passed, or out of the corner of their eyes. Superman, on the other hand, ambles down a wide boulevard, surrounded by smiling folks taking pictures and angling for a handshake.

A picture really does say a thousand words, I suppose, and more eloquently than any nerd debate. (And from what I can tell, Green Hornet is a real douche.)

Go to the Chow Kar Hoo Photography site to see more from the recently closed exhibit.