Talking Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics with Visionary Comic Book Creator Tom Scioli

Visionary comic book creator Tom Scioli discusses his new work, Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics, set to be released July 14, 2020 from Ten Speed Press.

Tom Scioli won a Xeric Grant in 1999 for his creator-owned comic book series, The Myth of 8-Opus, and gained further prominence as co-creator (with Joe Casey) of the Eisner-award nominated comic book series Gødland (2005-2012) published by Image Comics.  More recently, Scioli wrote and drew a five issue Go-Bots mini-series (2018) published by IDW Comics, as well as his (very awesome) “Super Powers” (2017) back-up feature for DC Comics' Young Animal imprint.  Scioli also drew and co-scripted (with IDW editor-in-chief John Barber) the critically acclaimed Transformers vs. G.I. JOE maxi-series (2014-2016) published by IDW.  In 2020 he wrote and drew Fantastic Four: Grand Design, published by Marvel Comics.

Jeffery Klaehn: How might you elevator pitch Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics to audiences, especially new readers who may not yet be familiar with Jack Kirby or your own comics work?

Tom Scioli: Everybody’s knows Marvel, everybody knows Stan Lee, but there’s another guy who is at least as important in the creation of the Marvel Universe. Jack Kirby has been a big part of comics history from the very beginning and is a real life hero in his own right. If you’ve never heard of Jack Kirby, or just know the name and not much more, prepare to get your mind blown. Read the rest

Fascinating video about comic book inker, Vince Colletta, the man some claim ruined Jack Kirby's art

Comic book nerds are likely familiar with the work and controversies surrounding artist and inker, Vince Colletta. He is best known as an inker on Jack Kirby's The Mighty Thor, other Kirby titles, and other books at Marvel and DC.

But Colletta is not best known for the quality of his work, but rather, how fast he was, how many corners he cut, and how he did a disservice to the artist's original work in the process. Kirby would submit pencil art with crowds in the background that Colletta would simple remove, or he'd greatly simplify the machinery and technical greeblies in the backgrounds that Kirby was known for. If an image had background characters that needed to be there, Colletta would render them in silhouette rather than ink in the details. Management loved him because he met deadlines. Co-workers liked him because he was pleasant. Artists and generations of fans disparage him, dubbing him "the inker who ruined Jack Kirby's art."

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Wizard Magazine issue 21, Cartoonist Kayfabe

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue to dissect the turbulent comic book speculator boom on the 1990s while looking through antique copies of Wizard Magazine.

Some of this issues contents:

• Jae Lee takes center stage and talks Youngblood: Strikefile, WildCATs Trilogy, Namor, John Byrne, and more! • Liefeld interview 2: Youngblood, Bloodstrike, Brigade, Prophet, Image, editors, publishers, and late books • Star Trek comics • Ray Bradbury comics at Topps and the all-star lineup of artists drawing them: Richard Corben, Al Williamson, Mike Mignola! • Topps' Kirbyverse comics: Steve Ditko draws the Secret City! • The Comics Code, Mike Allred in Palmer's Picks, and Wizard's editor vows to never read manga - a proclamation that upsets Jim and Ed so much that they make a new t-shirt in response:  • PLUS - the winners of the Cable cover contest in Brutes & Babes!

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Cartoonist Kayfabe on Wizard Magazine issue 19, March 1993

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue to dissect the turbulent comic book speculator boom on the 1990s while looking through antique copies of Wizard Magazine.

Some of this issues contents:

* Jack Kirby comes back to comics via his line of Topps Comics * Palmer's Picks. Rick Veitch *Jae Lee's Youngblood Strikefile is on the horizon! * Larry Hama's origin story * Mike Mignola talks about drawing the Topps adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula * Dave Sim writes an issue of Spawn

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Cartoonist Kayfabe Show and Tell: Yet Another Captain Marvel?

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg unpack the tale of Human Torch creator, Carl Burgos's, bitter attempt to agitate the mainstream comics publishers of the 1960s with his very own Captain Marvel character (and Plastic man, Dr Doom, Dr. Fate, and The Bat).

For further reading: Marvel, The Untold Story, By Sean Howe. 

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Cartoonist Kayfabe Show and Tell: Jack Kirby Original Art (Eternals issue 9, Page 17)!

The title says it all, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli got their grubby hands on some Jack Kirby artwork (inked by Mike Royer) from his 1970s period at Marvel. No ink-line or artistic decision goes unnoticed once this classic page gets put under the microscope.

--------------------- SUPPLEMENTAL LINKS:

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Jack Kirby Museum

Jack Kirby Collector

Jack Kirby Pencils and Inks (Note: any comic book store or book store can order this book for you)

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Get your Cartoonist Kayfabe merchandise at our Spreadshop storefront.  Read the rest

What Jack Kirby proposed for the plaques on the Pioneer space probes

By way of the Daily Grail comes this fascinating bit of Pioneer spacecraft history. Kirby was among the artist asked to submit ideas for the plaques to be flown on the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes, launched in the early 1970s. Kirby's submission was vastly different than the very literal pictogram designed by Frank Drake, Carl Sagan, and Linda Salzman-Sagan and flown on the missions. Jack was not comfortable with the idea of giving some future Galactus GPS directions to our house.

I would have included no further information than a rough image of the Earth and its one moon. I see no wisdom in the eagerness to be found and approached by any intelligence with the ability to accomplish it from any sector of space. In the meetings between ‘discoverers’ and ‘discoverees,’ history has always given the advantage to the finders. In the case of the Jupiter (Pioneer) plaque, I feel that a tremendous issue was thoughtlessly taken out of the world forum by a few individuals who have marked a clear trail to our door.

My point is, who will come a-knocking – the trader or the tiger?

In describing his approach to the art he submitted, he wrote:

It appears to me that man’s self image has always spoken far more about him than does his reality-figure. My vision of the plaque would have revealed the exuberant, self-confident super visions with which we’ve clothed ourselves since time immemorial. The comic strip super-heroes and heroines, in my belief, personify humanity’s innate idealism and drive

Personally, I don't think we want "underwear perverts" (as Warren Ellis has called spandex supers) representing us, but you've got to love the idea of communicating "exuberant, self-confident super visions" of ourselves. Read the rest

New edition of the Jack Kirby Fourth World Omnibus is coming and it is 1,536 pages long!

After being cheated for many years at Marvel (where he created and/or wrote and drew Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, Dr. Doom, and many other iconic characters) Jack Kirby went to DC in the early 1970s with more creative control and some of the wildest ideas in the history of comics. This Jack Kirby Fourth World Omnibus, coming out in December, has the complete run of his Fourth World series: Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, The New Gods, The Forever People, Mister Miracle, and the graphic novel, The Hunger Dogs.

It is 1,536 pages long!

In 2008, John Hodgman reviewed an earlier edition of Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus for the New York Times. Excerpt:

“KIRBY’S HERE!” shouted bold sunbursts on the cover of early Kirby issues. The Fourth World was to be his liberation — the place where he would at last get to do his own thing.

The results were startling. Kirby fans already knew that his art was muscular and kinetic, and in this collection, he’s at the height of his powers. His characters are always in motion, leaping and punching at impossible angles, straining at the panels that try to contain them. Kirby’s writing was the same way. His stories were linear — even primitive. But there is something powerful and melancholy and personal that weeps in Orion’s epic, city-smashing rages.

At other times, though, the pages cannot seem to keep up with Kirby’s astonishing imagination.

Read the rest

Jack Kirby's glorious comic book experiment

I recently re-stumbled across John Hodgman's fantastic review of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus from 2008, which appeared in the New York Times.

Kirby was known as the "King" of comics. He co-created Captain America in the 1940s, and went on to create or co-create the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, the original X-Men, Doctor Doom, Magneto, and Black Panther among others. Kirby and Stan Lee acrimoniously split up in 1970. Kirby went to Marvel's rival publisher, DC where he created another pantheon of less-well-known, but wonderfully odd characters.

From Hodgman:

Some of Kirby’s concepts were beguiling. Mister Miracle, a warrior of Apokolips who flees to Earth to become a “super escape artist,” keeps a “Mother Box” up his sleeve — a small, living computer that can enable its user to do almost anything, so long as it is sufficiently loved. In Kirby’s world, all machines are totems: weapons and strange vehicles fuse technology and magic, and the Mother Box in particular uncannily anticipates the gadget fetishism that infects our lives today. (The Bluetooth headset may as well be a Kirby creation.)

But sometimes, his inventions were merely bizarre, driven by some opaque, unknown part of his brain. At one point, one of the Forever People, Kirby’s band of dimension-hopping flower children, gives a small boy named Donnie one of his “cosmic cartridges” — a device at once resembling a bullet and a large, mysterious pill.

“I — it feels warm — like it was alive!” Donnie says as his features blur into the cosmos.

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Jack Kirby's long-lost, incomplete "The Prisoner" comic book

Forces of Geek has unearthed an amazing gem. To introduce it, they write:

In the March 21st, Entertainment Weekly ran an article called In Search of Pop Culture’s Holy Grails, listing, “some hallowed projects (that) evade(d) our grasp. A guide to our great white whales.” Over two dozen, “lost” projects are listed.

But in the FOG! world of pop culture, not everything is lost. So, in the coming weeks, we’re going to uncover a number of those projects, including our first, Jack Kirby’s The Prisoner, which EW describes as, “a comic based on the gonzo sci-fi show. Kirby never finished issue No. 1.”

Read the rest of the issue here. And, as FOG points out, it appears that the issue was actually complete, except for some final lettering and inking by Mike Royer.

[H/t Chris Burke] Read the rest

Jack Kirby's nightmarish double page spreads from The Demon (1972-73)

When Jack Kirby bailed from Marvel comics in 1970 and started working for DC, his work become psychedelic and spiritual. Here are some of his wild two-page spreads for The Demon, which ran for 16 issues from 1972-1973.

[via] Read the rest

People pay $20 to enter Rage Room and destroy things with a bat

In 2013 the Break Club opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, "where members (predominately women) go to break shit with a stick, shatter bottles against the wall, kick stuff, and all around have the best fifteen minutes of their day." Read the rest

Giant book of scanned art from Jack Kirby's best comic book series: Kamandi

Born in 1917 as Jacob Kurtzberg, Jack Kirby is recognized as the most important person in comic book history. One could make a good argument that the title belongs to Carl Barks, Robert Crumb, Stan Lee, or Wally Wood. They are all inarguably giants of the comic book world. But take a look at the characters Kirby created or co-created over a career that spanned nearly 50 years: Captain America, Sandman, The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, and the Silver Surfer. Who else can boast of such a star-studded stable of comic book characters, all of whom are global household names? Only Kirby!

My favorite Kirby character is one of his less well-known creations, at least among the non-comic-book-reading public. I was 12 years old when I discovered Kamandi in early 1973 at a friend’s house in Boulder, Colorado. He had the first three issues of the comic. The first issue’s cover showed Kamandi paddling a life raft through a flooded and abandoned New York, with the Statue of Liberty tilted like the tower of Pisa. It was a rip-off from the ending of Planet of the Apes, the 1968 movie that was (and still is) one of my favorite films. Nevertheless, the image was powerful and exciting. I opened the comic book and started reading.

I read all three issues twice that afternoon, sprawled on my friend’s living room floor. It was the greatest thing I’d ever read. Kamandi was a teenager, the last surviving human on a post apocalyptic Earth now under the control of different animal species that behaved, dressed, and walked like humans: dogs, tigers, wolves, rats, lions, and apes. Read the rest

The Silver Age of Comic Book Art manifests the magic and majesty of the Marvel and DC classics from 1956-1970

The Silver Age of Comic Book Art is a sparkly remastered new version of the long-out-of-print coffee table book that first came out ahead of its time in 2003, before all the beautiful Chip Kidd-designed superhero books, before many do-gooders depicted in these pages – Captain America, The Flash, Thor, Green Lantern, The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Green Arrow, Nick Fury and more – made it to the big & little screens. IMHO, more so than any other book on the subject, and more even than the bombastic blockbusters, this book manifests the magic and majesty of the Marvel and DC classic comics and characters from The Silver Age (1956-1970) and does so by focusing due attention on eight artists responsible for their creation: Carmine Infantino, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Gene Colan, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams.

By way of uberdynamic spreads chockfulla judiciously juxtoposed images, ouvre-compressing cosmic collages, and the hubris-if-it-wasn’t-done-right method of replacing words in original comic balloons with choice quotes from the artists themselves, Schumer achieves the fantastic feat of making the reader experience the awe a kid in 1964 must have felt upon first gazing upon an earth-shattering Jack Kirby spread in Fantastic Four, or having Neal Adams’ art in Green Lantern / Green Arrow punch you in the face with its wrenchingly emotional realism, or being thrown off-kilter by the angular other-dimensionality of Steve Ditko’s Dr. Strange.

Appropriately, two of comics’ most influential writers wax testimoniacal, in their signature styles, about this sublime celebration of super artists:

Alan Moore: “A lovingly crafted tribute to the superhero comic of the 1960s, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art recaptures the four-color visionary surge of the era, its jet-age psychedelic rush of imagination and the titanic, luminous figures, both real and imaginary, that glittered in its firmament. Read the rest

Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

The names Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are synony­mous with comic books, and their partnership ush­ered in the Golden Age of comics starting in the 1940s. Together they created memorable characters such as Captain America and Sandman, invented romance com­ics, and raised the standard for the genres of western, crime, and horror comic books.

Creepy old Simon and Kirby comic: Nasty Little Man

I read this Golden Age Simon and Kirby comic about a malevolent leprechaun when I was a kid. I think it was in a black and white paperback anthology; but I'm not sure. I do remember being thoroughly creeped out by it. "Nasty Little Man" is included in the newly issued Simon and Kirby Horror anthology, which is loaded with wonderfully bizarre stories. Enjoy the full story here on Boing Boing!

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 024: Bill Boichel, owner of Copacetic Comics

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Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is Boing Boing's podcast featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, and other creative people discussing their work, ideas, and the practical side of how they do what they do.

Bill Boichel is the owner and proprietor of Copacetic Comics, one of the greatest comic book stores ever. They are located in Pittsburgh, PA, and specialize in independent comics, music, film and literature. Bill has worked in comics retail for over 35 years, and has seen comic books go from disposable entertainment found on newsstands to an art form that is now accepted in galleries, museums and universities.

In this episode, Bill discusses the significance of Carl Barks and his impact on the American comics community. We talk about Barks' challenges with creator's rights, and similar struggles faced by artists like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Jack Kirby. Bill ponders today's comics landscape and history. We survey Copacetic Comics' extensive inventory of small press comics and find out how Bill manages to keep up with such a dynamic and diverse art form. You can experience an online version of his store at copaceticcomics.com, where Boichel posts extensive reviews and promotes the books he carries. But the best way to experience it, and it's worth the trip wherever you are, is to find your way to Pittsburgh and visit in person.

Also: We've got a T-shirt bearing TMSIDK's smart aleck logo! Challenge people with your shirt to tell you something you don't know. Read the rest

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