By the end of the 1960s, Jack Kirby had had enough of Marvel. He felt that the company had not treated him well enough for him to justify introducing the new characters and concepts he’d been toying with. When he got the chance to try out the concepts at DC Comics instead, he jumped at the chance.
Thus, we have the Fourth World saga. After reviewing the Tom Scioli bio of Kirby, Tim and Emmet decided to read the Fourth World for the first time. So this episode, we begin with the early issues of Kirby’s run on Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: issues 133-139 and 141. The issues show us how Kirby was digesting what was going on around him in the late “hippie” era. But wait a minute — what’s Don Rickles doing here???
Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics is a bio in comics form and written in the first person, from Kirby’s perspective. Why did Scioli handle it that way, and does it work? Why does Kirby look like a Tezuka character surrounded by normal humans? Was the tension between Lee and Kirby a case of Stan messing up Jack’s story, or modifying it to better connect with the reader? Tim and Emmet discuss those questions, some of the many revelations this book brought us, and more.
Stan Lee, Marvel Comics writer, art director, publisher, promoter, and icon, died November 12 at age 95. While he is loved by many, and undoubtedly had a hand in some of the greatest stories of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and more, he was also known to aggravate disputes over story credit and art ownership with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. In this episode, Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon wrestle with the legacy of Stan the Man.
DC recently launched a new Mister Miracle series, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. Well and good, thought Emmet, but then he saw a certain CBR headline that set him off. “King and Gerads have redefined comics”? Hyperbolic much?
So Emmet recruited Kumar to review both Mister Miracle #1 and the hype surrounding it. Is the use of suicide in the story meaningful? Hackneyed? How accessible is this comic to readers who don’t know the character? And, why does everything in comics have to be super-hyped nowadays?
When Kumar was in Toronto in May and met up with Koom, one topic that came up was a 2000 anthology book called Streetwise, featuring autobiographical stories by a number of well-known comics artists (including Jack Kirby, Sergio Aragones, Paul Chadwick, Joe Kubert, John Severin & Roy Thomas, Walter Simonson, Rick Veitch, and Barry Windsor-Smith). This week, with Kumar back in Australia, they chat via Skype/phone about an overlooked book that’s worth a look.
If you’re into American comics at all, you undoubtedly know how Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others changed the industry with their work in the 1960s, and set the template for kinds of stories Marvel still publishes today.
That’s just part of the story that Sean Howe researched for his 2012 book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Through interviews, research of media reports, and of course tons of comics reading, Howe uncovered the backgrounds of many comics stories and rumors that longtime readers may have wondered about. There’s plenty of intra-creator acrimony to be found in its pages, yet Howe found that the book helped some of those involved to move on from decades-old wounds.
This week Tim talks to Sean Howe about the research, the reaction, and what this book has to say to aspiring creators.
(This review originally appeared at Weird Crime Theater.)
By pure coincidence, I found this comic at the Camberwell Collector’s Fair the very same week that I was reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel version.
A cursory glance at the cover will tell you that Marvel’s approach to this property was so divorced from that of Stanley Kubrick or Clarke as to make it effectively unrecognizable. I mean, just look the price box alone!