Three weeks from today, on the 28th of August, Jack Kirby would have been 100 years old.
I feel terribly presumptuous being so new here, but there does not as yet seem to be a thread acknowledging this rather momentous occasion. So...

Nearly 80 years ago...

...and our world was never again the same.

MY world was certainly a better place.
There's The King of Rock, The King of Pop, The King of this, that, and thyne other. But, for me, there's only one "The King"
Jack "King" Kirby rocked my world and gave it a dynamic that i didn't know was missing. There were a few artists whose work drove me to become an artist myself - Jack was the first and the last of them. Along the way artists like Kelly Freas, Will Eisner, Al Capp, and Frank Frazetta all inspired an inner flame that drove me down the path of artist. Later many others from around the globe added fuel to the fire that drove me, but it was Jack's comics that first woke that urge, and every step along the way he would reveal new secrets to me. Even now, no matter how well i might have thought i knew his work, he still constantly surprises me and surpasses my concept of what he was in my mind. This month in my celebration of the Kirby centennial, i've been digging and re-reading everything of his that i have or can get my hands on. (And i got my hands on a lot) I'm only a week in and have already lost count of new discoveries and new ways to be impressed.
I won't try to define or impart the impact of Kirby's works beyond their personal touch to me.
If you're here, you know how massive Jack Kirby's contributions and influences are. I can only say that he influenced my world view as much as any philosopher or writer whose work i studied. He helped shape the better parts of me. My world was very much a better place for his having been in it.

How about yours?

Let's use this thread to share thoughts, memories, tributes, art, etc.,. Anything about or by Jack that you feel like sharing to celebrate the Kirby Centennial.

To help kick it off:


(Original Kirby art from Blue Bolt #5, Strange Tales #184, Kirby Self Portrait in New Gods #5-y'know, if you was interested)

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I wish they would do that as well as a reprint of the Mister Miracle continuation by Steve Engelhart and Marshall Rogers. Didn't OMAC continue on as well?

Come to think of it, wasn't there an OMAC book by John Byrne several years later?

Philip Portelli said:

They really need to reprint the rest of the series!

DC's DC Explosion plan was to add extra pages to its titles and use them for back-up features. The plan was prevented by the DC Implosion in 1978, but enacted in 1980. The feature planned for Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth was an "OMAC" back-up series by Jim Starlin. (OMAC had been linked to Kamandi in Kamandi #50.) The first instalment appeared in #59, but the title was a DC Implosion casualty and that was the last issue. The feature continued in Warlord in 1980. The first of the new instalments was the one intended for Kamandi #60 and Starlin did the next two, and the feature was then continued by others. It appeared in Warlord #37-#47. Byrne did do an OMAC mini, a prestige format one in the early 90s, but I've not read it.

The New Gods's feature was revived in 1st Issue Special #13 and again in a revival of The New Gods. During its run a Flash/New Gods story appeared in Super-Team Family #15. The title was another DC Explosion casualty, but the story continued and concluded in Adventure Comics. The New Gods next appeared in Justice League of America in a JLA/JSA crossover.

"The Demon" appeared as a feature in Detective Comics while it was a giant, in #482-#485. The first instalment was drawn by Michael Golden and the remaining ones by Steve Ditko. Len Wein wrote.

Some of Kirby's characters also made appearances in The Brave and the Bold, and later in DC Comics Presents.

Another of Kirby's 70s features for DC was "Manhunter" in 1st Issue Special #5. This depicted the Manhunters as belonging to an ancient society. The last Manhunter had grown old, and a new recruit assumed the role. Steve Englehart picked up the characters in Justice League of America #140-#141 but made the Manhunters villains, a race of robots created by the Guardians before the GL Corps with some human recruits. The young manhunter, Mark Shaw, came back a few issues later as the Privateer. The concept was picked up again post-Crisis in the Millennium crossover, which Englehart wrote.

The Sandman was Joe Simon's creation rather than Kirby's. Michael Fleisher was credited with the writing on the issues he did with Kirby. Possibly Kirby made changes to the scripts. Roy Thomas used the character in Wonder Woman #300, and the villain General Electric a bit earlier.

The Outsiders appeared post-Kirby in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #119 and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #152. A humorous Newsboy Legion story with Angry Charlie appeared in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #150. Mal of the Teen Titans adopted the identity of the Guardian in Teen Titans #44, but also appeared as Hornblower. Later, elements from the Project/Evil Project stories were used in The Superman Family #191-#194. (The clone Guardian and Dubblex turned up at the story's conclusion. The tiny JLA clones in the tale were drawn from Lois Lane #111.)

Kirby's issue of Kobra was originally intended for 1st Issue Special, and was co-written by Steve Sherman. DC liked the character enough to give it its own feature, but it replaced Kirby's hero, who reminds me of Nayland Smith, with an angry young man. It credited the writing to Martin Pasko since he did the rewrites. Pasko wrote the rest of the series and a Batman vs. Kobra story that appeared in DC Special Series #1, which the GCD says was intended for the unpublished Kobra #8. Kobra next appeared during Pasko's run on Superman.

If you want to read the Englehart/Rogers Mister Miracle issues, Sensei, they're available on Comixology...and this week they're part of the Kirby sale. 

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

I wish they would do that as well as a reprint of the Mister Miracle continuation by Steve Engelhart and Marshall Rogers. Didn't OMAC continue on as well?

Come to think of it, wasn't there an OMAC book by John Byrne several years later?

Philip Portelli said:

They really need to reprint the rest of the series!

Here's another story, from Headline Comics v.2 #11 (23) (Prize, 1947). Simon and Kirby took the title over with this issue. With their arrival it became a crime comic. Kirby drew the whole issue. Scans from Comic Book Plus.

Some of the non-Kirby back-up features detailed by Luke above were reprinted in the OMAC Countdown Special in 2008 (plus some Kirby stories as well). These are no longer in "continuity" (whatever that is) anymore, but what is? They're worth a look to anyone interested in OMAC who has not read them.

I don't think I ever saw that one, Jeff! Thanks!

I loved the Ryan Sook covers on those specials.

Today's story is "A Phantom Pulls the Trigger" from Headline Comics v.2 #12 (24) (Prize, 1947).

I first learned about this story from a post at the Simon and Kirby Blog titled "A Story too Incredible to be Real". This has spoilers, and discusses the story's historicity: the covers promised "all true famous detective cases" and the story is badged as a "true comic novelette". Mr Mendryk found an earlier source in Howitt's Journal of Literature and Popular Progress, vol. 1, 1947, and provides a link to it in his post.

The volume is a collection of the instalments of Howitt's Journal from the first half of 1847. The story is titled "The Philanthropic Assassin" and appeared in two parts, in nos 8-9 (Feb. 20 and 27, 1847). It's written like a work of true crime, but it's actually a work of fiction. The author, R. H. Horne, was the writer Richard Henry Horne. After its appearance in Howitt's Journal it was published on its own under the title Murder-Heroes. A review in Bentley's Miscellany vol. 26 described the work as an "imaginary biography of a great heroic criminal" and interpreted Horne's purpose as satire of the public's response to sensational murder cases.

Simon and Kirby apparently didn't know the original setting of the story, as their host character refers to the events as having taken place "several years back" and one of the characters refers to "the Marne" (=the First or Second Battle of the Marne in WWI). Their account of the discovery of the murderer is quite different to Horne's. Mr Mendryk notes they only use one of murderer's pseudonyms.

In these respects their version corresponds to one from the Nebraska State Journal, Apr. 20, 1938 that Google found for me. (Scroll down in the article text to the heading "Footnotes".) The item gives the Milwaukee Journal as its source and implies the events occurred recently. The Nebraska State Journal item probably wasn't the direct source for the Simon and Kirby's story as it doesn't include an account of the murderer's death. But it suggests they got it from a 1930s newspaper or a true crime book dependent on one, and stuck closely to their source.

So rather than being a true crime story, the Simon and Kirby tale is an inadvertent Classics Illustrated. Here it is. Scans from Comic Book Plus.

My acknowledgements to Mr Mendryk for finding the original story, to the work Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century for informing me about the author and the story's alternative title, and to this index for directing me to the Bentley's Miscellany review, which I was able to read at Google Books. The story can be read at Google Books or Internet Archive in Howitt's Journal vol. 1 pp.103-05, 122-25.

The Boy Commandos had a recurring villain called Mr Peg, who had a peg-leg in which he stored things. His story in Boy Commandos #22 has captions that refer to a previous appearance, but I can't find evidence of an earlier one. Perhaps the tales were printed out of order. None of the three stories the GCD lists him as having appeared in had art it credits to Kirby, but Headline Comics #24 appeared two months before Boy Commandos #22, and it could be Simon or Kirby suggested the villain and the phantom killer story was the inspiration.

I found an article from an Australian paper that took the story as true too, from 1951. It locates the action in the 19th century and follows Horne's version of the tale.

The bit in the Simon and Kirby version about the wrong ammunition reflects the shift of the action to the 20th century. In Horne's version the gun is overcharged.

My earliest memory of Kirby art making an impression on my young mind were in-house ads featuring the covers to Avengers #23, "Once an Avenger" with Kang looming over the Kooky Quartet; and Thor #131, "They Strike from Space", with giant, alien weapons pointing at Thor who is inexplicably standing in space with Earth looming large behind him.  I can't remember in which comics I saw an ad featuring those covers, although I'm certain I saw them circa 1967, at least a couple of years after those issues were published but they really made me wish I could read the stories behind those magnificent covers. It just took a few years more before I got the Avengers tale in a MTA reprint but several more years before I got a copy of Thor #131 itself.  The earliest story drawn by Kirby I recall reading was Fantastic Four #84, the first chapter in a 4-parter featuring Dr. Doom, and the dramatic aspects of the story & art really drew me in.  

Luke:
Thanks for pointing out the digital archives. I wasn't aware of either of them. (Hermits can be ignant) Thanks for sharing the bits of history. Even with all the reading i've been doing lately, you still touched on things i didn't know.
And thanks SO much for posting old Kirby stories in this thread. Perfect choice! I had been digging through the piles here trying to find You Can't Lose A Faithful Dog. I should have taken an online break much sooner.

Phillip:
Kamandi was my favorite Kirby title during that period at DC. It gave Kirby so much freedom to just create, and his worked seemed to have that joy of creation buring bright in Kamandi. I'm re-reading massive amounts of Kirby this month, but Kamandi is in the best-for-last stack.

Sensei:
The OMAC mini-series from Byrne was a rather interesting take on the character. Also interesting visually, as it was done in black & white with either duo-shade board or zip-a-tone sheets. The story was a time-looped tale that brought everything around, and sorted out inconsistancies in different versions of Omac. (Buddy Blank OMAC, not Bruce Wayne OMAC) I rather enjoyed it, as i recall.
And i'll read pretty much anything Englehart & Rogers do together.

Luke:
Absolutely LOVE that 2-page splash for A Phantom Pulls The Trigger. I've been seeing a bunch of gorgeous old Simon & Kirby spreads lately and gaining a whole new appreciation for them.

Fred:

I remember those covers. Nobody seemed to convey BIG the way he could. I was lucky enough to have Kirby among the first comics that fell into my grasp. Now i wonder what it would have been like to have been tantalized by his covers like that and have to wait to discover him. I hope that wait made it even better for you. I'm currently re-reading the first 100 of the Fantastic Four and will probably his those four issues this weekend. I haven't read them in nearly half a century and have been rediscovering the fun of those magic years. The covers on that doom story and the Thing Enslaved tale about half a year later have me in great anticipation to get to them.

Here's one of my old favorite Kirby spreads, from Fantastic Four #62. For me, this collage worked better than any he created for comic book tales over the years simply for how well in integrated with the rest of the book. By making it that wall sized monitor, the black & white became very natural in those days when colour tv was so new the networks had to advertise the concept. Placing Reed in the collage in black & white while the others stand before it in normal color makes it work even better. And the weirdly different look of the collage contrasted to the typical art for the book made sense because it was being broadcast from a weirdly different reality in the Negative Zone. No matter how spectacular some of his later collage works might have been, this is the one that always blew me away and stuck with me over the years:

It's my pleasure, 3. Here's a story in the teen humour genre: "Toby and His Band" in "The Mystery Crooner!", from Punch and Judy Comics v.2 #12 (Hillman, 1947). It was the feature's only appearance. Scans from Comic Book Plus.

Kirby also did teen humour stories for Hillman's My Date Comics, which he and Simon created, and the "Pipsy" story in Archie's Laugh Comics #24 I mentioned.

I was watching a rerun of The Big Bang Theory on TV last night and spotted the four JK "Fourth World" HC collections on the shelf in Sheldon's bedroom. Kirby had hoped to see his work collected in such a format some day, but I'll bet he never expected it to be showninthe backgound of a top-rated TV show. Pretty cool.

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