Tagged: Jack Kirby

Highlights

This is BAD. This is worse then the time I was kidnapped by Mermen and forced to fight in gladiatorial combat against swordfish, narwhals and squid. This is worse than the time I was freakishly teleported to outer space to take part in humiliating intergalactic Fraternity hazing rituals for posh alien jerks. Dare I say it, this is worse than every second of my birth. YES I remember it.

What has gotten me so irked? THIS ARTICLE I JUST WROTE! See if you can spot the mistake I made:

UNKIEDEV’S LIST OF MOST NEEDED REPRINTS:

Since that INCREDIBLE Flex Mentallo HC collection that you SIMPLY must own, it has occurred to this humble, charming, courageous, startlingly handsome, and above all humble author that there are certain books I intended to buy once they were collected which have never been collected. Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?

Here is a handy guide to stuff you can’t own, and a few recommendations to make you feel better about that.

4. Jason vs. Leatherface, Topps Comics, Nancy Collins (W)

In 1996, Freddy vs Jason was a pipe-dream smack-down that jaded fans figured would never happen. The very notion of Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash (from Wildstorm and Dynamite .. .DEFINITELY worth getting!) would have exploded a 90’s mullethead quicker than Coke and pop-rocks!

The best we could have hoped for was THIS Topps comic, Jason vs. Leatherface, in which Mr. Voorhees makes brief frienemies with The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s” Leatherface.

Is it good? No, not really…and it’s damn expensive! Single issues can go for as high as $20! Oh, won’t some white knight gallop in and buy up all the rights to these two comic book franchises and reprint this damn book so I can be disappointed all over again? Continue reading

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Watchmen 2: Watchpets

By Unkiedev

The internet, Comic Book’s hotter, younger brother, is flapping its gums all over the place about a reported (and only rumored) Watchmen prequel comic book series to be published at DC helmed by the steady hand of Darwyn Cooke.

There are as many questions to ask here as there are cyanide capsules in Adrian Veidt’s purple sports coat pocket…ya’ know, for tying up loose ends. CAN they do this, HOW will they do this, SHOULD they do this, and even HOW CAN they do this? What will Alan Moore say?

Don’t worry about Alan. Alan is comfortable, respected, wealthy, cynical, and will never, ever set his eyeballs on these pages. Worry about the guy in the hot seat here. Worry about Darwyn.

DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, Darwyn Cooke (W/A), DC

Darwyn Cooke is a great illustrator and writer who studied under Bruce Timm during the first Animated Batman show, though rose to prominence with his extremely readable graphic novel DC: The New Frontier. Set in post war America, New Frontier is essentially an Elseworld story to bridge the gap between the Golden and Silver age DC comic book worlds, though with more emphasis on drama, alienation, and historical context.

It looked great and it read great. DC ultimately loved it so much that they gave it the Absolute treatment: collecting it (as well as additional material) into a lovely, gigantic hard bound edition. DC then adapted it into the well received direct-to-DVD movie of the same name.

To say it stood on the shoulders of giants would be extremely kind. A more honest assesment would be to describe it as a pop culture mash-up of THE GOLDEN AGE; the dark but kick ass 1993 DC comic by James Robinson (W) and Paul Smith (A); and JLA: The Nail by Alan Davis. BOTH of these comics are SENSATIONAL, not to be missed comic books one should check out immediately! Continue reading

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Hurricane Reboot.

By Chris Troy

I like Jack Kirby as much as the next guy, but I really don’t feel the need for New York to be experiencing Kamandi: The Last Boy (available in an omnibus) -like conditions. The store will be closing at 2pm on Saturday, and chances are it won’t be open on Sunday because,  as you well know, a hurricane is going down.  With any luck it won’t be as bad as the media is making it out to be and all will be well come Monday sans some MTA nonsense. Just keep some important supplies on hand and make sure you keep your eyes and ears in tune to the news.

Anywho, enough of me repeating what’s probably been said on twitter, time to talk toys.

Flashpoint is concluding this week and apparently it’s a big thing, as it’s leading into a reboot which I’ve only mentioned half a dozen time on this blog ever since it’s been announced.  I’ve pretty much skipped buying/reading the entire mini-series because I don’t give a toss about Barry Allen or Geoff John’s obsession with the silver age meets “grim dark’, as well as the dozen various tie-in mini series (To be fair, I’ve heard from several trust-worthy sources that both the Batman and Frankenstein minis were solid). However the new Justice League also drops on the same day, which will be the first book set in the new DC Universe, and features Jim Lee on art duties. This is very much a big deal, as the 40 page book is the 1st time Lee’s done interior art since I believe “All Star Batman & Robin“, which if I remember correctly, took forever to come out and is currently on hiatus while Frank Miller continues to profit from his madness elsewhere. Either way, both book should be available come Wednesday at Midnight (That’s Tuesday night leading into Wednesday for those who always get that mixed up.) for about $4 a pop for all interested parties.

The thing that’s impressed me most about Flashpoint is that DC Direct managed to get the tie-in toy line out on shelves while the event was still going on (let alone on time!). This 4 figure set is based on the artwork of Flashpoint artist Andy Kubert, and continues the trend of having at least one Batman figure in it (Spoilers: To be fair it’s not Bruce this time around, but Thomas. Meaning once again DC has ignored the Dick Grayson Batman). Aside from Bat-Dad, there’s Barry Allen (I remain the jaded fan and refuse to refer to anyone other than Wally West as the Flash), a heavily armored  Wonder Woman with a sword, and Mega Man. Er, I mean Cyborg. All joking aside, Cyborg is probably the best figure in set, and the Kubert redesign is really good in my opinion, much better than that what he looks like pre or post reboot. You know the drill, $20 for each and I’m fairly certain most of them will be on the shelves when the store reopens. Be safe out there East Coast, and if you see any sharks swimming down your streets, assume the worse and that the Fantastic 4 will be by shortly to stop Namor.

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I Zombie Volume 1

I hope everyone is excited as I am about I Zombie volume 1 Dead To The World hitting shelves this Wednesday.

Ok, it’s about a zombie, so I obviously don’t have to sell you on it (face it kid we know you love dem zombies) but at least let me tell you a little about  the talent behind this comic.  It’s Written by Chris Roberson who’s Cinderella From Fabletown With Love was an instant hit, and illustrated by comic God,  Mike Allred!  Mike’s art is like a cross between the most psychedelic Jack Kirby stuff and the most beautiful classic Disney animation.  You might also be familiar with a little book he does called Madman! I’m saying it in print so it goes on record, I believe that his Superman Madman Hullabaloo is one of the best comics ever created, and I’m not even a big Superman fan.

So get yourself a copy of I Zombie, you will not be disappointed.

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What State Is The Comic Industry In?

Three things have happened, and where they intersect is a fascinating statement on our beloved institution, the comic book. The first is innocent enough:

1. FREE COMIC BOOK DAY COMICS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED.

Many titles have been announced for 2011’s Free Comic Book Day on May 7th, including a new revamp of Richie Rich, a Geronimo Stilton comic book, Kung Fu Panda, Avatar the Last Airbender and more. Two things to notice is: These are all licensed properties and these are all KIDS titles.

Comic books have slowly slipped from a creative, economic business to a low profit, marketing offshoot. If you have a TV show or videogame you let a company pay you money to make comic books about it. It widens your brand recognition, potentially brings in new audiences and hopefully brings you a cool profit you don’t have to work for.

Free Comic Book Day is always about the kids, as it’s the hope of Retailers that children will want to come back next week to read more of their favorite stories and become loyal customers. At the same time, the bulk of these comics are stories and characters kids are well familiar with. Continue reading

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How to Create Cool Comic Book Characters

Comic books are all the rage, and tomorrow’s star of the printed page will be the next big thing on the silver screen! Yep, Hollywood money is whipping up every able-bodied creator into a creative tizzy. WHO will create the next Iron Man, Batman and Jonah Hex so that they can be watered down into unrecognizable action figure grade silhouettes of themselves for a feckless public to mass consume?

Maybe YOU!

But classic comic book characters like Constantine, The Mystery Men and Tank Girl don’t just bubble up out of the ground like some sort of addictive, mind controlling white food substitute, they (unfortunately) have to be thought up in the minds of human beings, those rotten jerks.

“Ah dangit!” you weakly bleat. “I’m barely a human being as it is. How the heck am I supposed to come up with a new comic book character with warmth, foibles and features…especially when I only want to do so to enjoy the contemporary financial windfall that comic books are (supposedly) enjoying?”

Well, the real question, sir or madam is “Do you want a little cheese to go with that whine?”

Never fear, peasants. Unkiedev is here to tell you what to think. Follow these simple steps and you too can create legendary comic book characters! Continue reading

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Who are the X-Men?

Stan Lee had many astonishing insights as to what would sell comic books, not the least of which was to pander to his audience.

“If my merry band of Marvel marchers are nothing more than lily livered teenage freakazoids,” He must have thought, “Then I’ll make half the heroes in the pantheon of Marvel teenage milksops, too!”

This notion worked brilliantly with the bookish Peter Parker in the pages of Spider-Man, worked so-so with hot head roast-master Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four and slightly less brilliantly in the pages of The Hulk where the tremendous jade giant was shackled with annoying teen sidekick Rick Jones.

Nowhere was the “protagonist as teenage outcast” more successful than in the pages of the X-Men.

STRANGE TALES

The X-Men were intended as an antithesis to the handsome, muscle-bound heroes of the golden age. Just as Lee and Kirby had done on the Fantastic Four, the X-men were created with internal struggles, awkward family dynamics and the strangest gimmick of all: they were all (supposed to be) ugly, freakish mutants unable to fit into society.

To audiences used to Superman and Shazam the X-Men must have looked far out. Angel was a thin teen with a frail body to support his massive wings, not the oiled up Hawkman of DC’s Justice League. Cyclops was Jimmy Stewart with a weird, one-eyed visor. The Beast was an overdeveloped muscle-bound ape more akin to gorilla than man. Iceman at this time looked more like a snowman.

They looked different and so they were shunned. THIS comic book reading teenagers could get behind! Continue reading

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Jack Kirby’s Estate prepares to sue Disney/Marvel.

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Comics Rumormonger-In-Chief, Rich Johnston reports that holders of Jack Kirby’s Estate are preparing to sue Disney in reaction to the Mouse House’s acquisition of Marvel.

The legal action Kirby’s Estate has taken is serving notice that the blockbuster deal terminates copyright of all of Kirby’s creations with Marvel. Those creations being pretty obvious: the Fantastic Four, Captain America, The X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and, well, you get the idea.

The Estate is using the same group of lawyers as the Siegels, Toberoff & Associates, who I would say has been fairly successful.  Though Johnston, theorizes that if the lawsuit goes the family’s way the effects of it won’t be felt until 2014, when the Kirby’s could enter in negotiations to discuss the further use of the characters Jack worked on. Including all movie properties involving them.  Which always struck me whenever Stan Lee would get an executive producer credit for his movies and Kirby did not.

Kirby has fought for years over the rights for his original creations, which he signed away when he was younger. One of those battles, was co-creating a series with Steve Gerber called Destroyer Duck to benefit Gerber’s legal fight with Marvel with regards to Howard the Duck.

Currently, Dynamite is preparing to publish a series of “Kirbyverse” books that the Estate has okay’d, featuring characters that Mr. Kirby worked on independently from Marvel and DC.

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Call Me Stupid

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do.” -Elvis Costello

An anonymous email received in response to last week’s column- wherein I recalled the laughable early 90s art of Rob Liefeld with reverent regards to the schlocky comic stories purveyed at the time, that nevertheless entertained and titillated my imagination, called me out on my apparent disregard for the artists’ efforts. Also his dynamic influence, his success, and his congeniality (none of which did Icall into question , for the record). To paraphrase the gentleman’s missive, for space and language’s sake, “Who the hell do you think you are? What do you know about comics? Have you ever done one yourself? What did Liefeld ever do to you?”

Said email left me flummoxed, frankly. I felt I’d written nothing snarky or vile enough to warrant a disgruntled reader. Aside from pointing out a few gaffes, I was nothing but complimentary and affectionately nostalgic for those dopey books.

As to my credibility in writing about comics, awesome thing is I get paid for discussing them- I don’t even need to have a license to write about or sell this stuff! It puts food in my kitty-kats’ tummies, and rock and roll in my soul. You and I may not see eye to eye on some things, dear readers, but please keep in mind that most of what appears in these pages is largely informed OPINION, and rarely critique. And there’s very little on this sphere that’ll stop me from discussing this material with you kids. That being said, my email address will conclude this article if any of you punks out there would like to tussle. Or hug via words, whatever the case may be.

No one ever said I could even touch the rim, but that never stopped me from entering the dunk contest.  Let’s put on our Superman outfits and jump from the free-throw line, shall we?

Notable New Releases Week of 3/12/08

Jack Kirby King of the Comics HC- It’s finally here (so quit buggin’ me)! The long-delayed hardcover retrospective of Jack “King” Kirby’s artwork from publisher Abrams is in stock and EGADS is it an eyegasm! It’s 224pgs. of bodaciousness! If the over-used and abused term “Know Your Roots” should meaningfully be applied to anything in this jumbled up universe it should apply to this man’s integral contributions to the comics form. No. Integral is too small of a word in this instance, really. It is no stretch to state that without Mr. Kirby’s creations and talent, comics as we know them would not exist. You’d be pursuing your art and entertainments in some other medium, and I’d be writing about tires or gutting fish right now.

Serenity: Better Days #1- Not to diminish the show, nor the comics, nor anything else you like about Buffy, but you can keep it. My Joss Whedon fandom to this point has, for the most part, been Firefly exclusive. The erstwhile television show’s been off the airwaves for a few years now, and I felt its cinematic continuation, Serenity, left some to be desired. Happy happy joy joy, then, that Dark Horse Comics is publishing new adventures in Whedon’s SF/Western series, written by the creator himself!

Justice League International HC Volume 1- Were there a Holy Trinity of a comic book creative team in the 80s it would be Frank Miller, “Uncle” Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley on The Dark Knight Returns. If there were a second, it would be Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire’s classic run on Justice League. This book collects issues #1-7. Better tie your ass to your pelvis. Y’know, cuz you’re gonna laugh it off, n’stuff.

Barefoot Gen Vol. 5 TP- From the publisher… “Cartoonist Keiji Nakazawa was seven years-old and living in Hiroshima in the early days of August 1945 when the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Begun in the mid-70s, his Barefoot Gen series of comics is one of the most heavy-duty manga out there; revelatory, thought provoking, very deep, baby. Volume One begins shortly before the bomb was dropped, and ends on the day of the bombing itself. Volume Two, The Day After, tells the story of the day after the atomic bomb was dropped. Volume 3 picks up the story with Gen, his mother and his baby brother searching for a place to rest in the bomb’s aftermath. Volume Four resumes nine days after the bomb, as Gen and his mother continue to struggle for food, shelter, and water amid chaos and vast human suffering. In this new reprint, Gen becomes entangled with black market gangs and faces an internal struggle of honor, ethics, and duty to resolve his and his family’s problems.”

My mother used to tell me I’d never get by on my good looks.
Guess she was wrong.
JEFF
jeff(AT)fpnyc.com

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