At the recent Wonder Con event, long time collaborator of Jack Kirby’s, Mark Evanier, unleashed his newest dedication to his dear departed friend, ‘Kirby: King of Comics.’
One of the most important figures in the comic book industry, Jack ‘King’ Kirby was involved in the Gold, Silver and Bronze age of comics. A co-inventor of Captain America and almost the entire Marvel Universe, he is an icon to the comics world. Aside from his achievements and skill as a storyteller, he touched many a comic book fan and professional with his warmth and optimism in the future. A true visionary and dreamer of the upmost, Kirby is without a doubt, comic book royalty.
The book is a jocular and free-wheeling biography of Jack Kirby along with some stellar prints from Jack’s archives. Evanier used the book’s release as an excuse to form a Kirby panel at the Convention, citing that they’d just talk about Kirby throughout the other panels anyway.
It did not take long for the panelists going in telling their ‘Kirby tales.’
Kurt Busiek got the ball rolling: “I didn’t read comics as a kid; I started at fourteen when everyone else was getting out. I started reading “Fantastic Four,” the version by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, and “Marvel’s Greatest Comics,” which at the time was printing the “Him saga (from “Fantastic Four” #s 66 and 67). I didn’t think there were writers and artists; I thought there were just stories and characters. I thought the people were up in Marvel’s offices saving the very best stories for “Marvel’s Greatest Comics;” it wasn’t that they were doing that; it was just that they were reprinting Kirby stories.
His favorite story? “The Glory Boat” (from “New Gods” #6) or “Mother Delilah” from “Boy’s Ranch” #3. Busiek also threw in some support for Evanier’s airline, having had “a great experience. But I also eat cole slaw and candy corn.”
Darwyn Cooke began… “I read comics as a kid and picked them up again at thirteen. The first Kirby I was aware of was (‘Fantastic Four’ #s 62 and 63) the two-parter, ‘Blastaar the Living Bomb-Burst.’ Being a Neal Adams fan, I thought I wasn’t supposed to like this art, because the draftsmanship wasn’t as sharp. It took me a while until I realized that what it was that I liked was the energy that radiated from the drawings. There was one shot of the police running down the street to trap the Sandman, and then firing a cement cannon at him, so that all was left was a few pebbles tumbling and the top of his head. His favorite story, though, was “Flower,” from “Kamandi” #6.
(Paul) Dini said that “The first time I was exposed to Kirby, it was a negative experience. I would read the comic books down at the barber shop and the first one I remember was an issue where the Thing had just saved the world, and there he was on Yancy Street, and they were egging him. And I thought, ‘That’s a heckuva way to treat a guy who just saved the universe. It’s back to Uncle Scrooge for me!’ When I was in college, there was a used book store that had a stack of ‘Fantastic Fours,’ especially the ones with the story where the Silver Surfer fought Dr. Doom (FF #s 57-59), and I thought, ‘These are great!,’ and I bought as many as I could and took them back to my dorm to read. Later in Boston, I roomed with Richard Howell, who had a bunch of stuff, especially Kirby’s romance comics from the 50s, and those had killer splash panels.” His favorite is also “Mother Delilah.”
What’s your favorite Jack Kirby story?