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A little more Kirby-type stuff.

§ August 30th, 2017 § Filed under jack kirby § 2 Comments

The New York Times has a list of charitable organizations that can use your donations, if you are able, for victims of the Harvey storm. Best wishes to everyone affected, and here’s hoping they get the help they need.

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Get more of your Kirby on:

You can download a nice Jack Kirby booklet in PDF format here.

Pal Andrew reminded us of this old post of his where he dives deep into the misty origins of one of Kirby’s more inexplicable characters: Flippa Dippa.

Bully, the King of Bulls, hasn’t put up a Kirby tribute post specifically for the Big Guy’s birthday, but what else is Bully’s “365 Days of Ben Grimm” but a tribute to the character that, as far as I’m concerned, is Jack’s greatest creation. (And speaking of the Thing, just look at this Mike Deodato drawing. JUST LOOK AT IT.)

And here’s Tom Spurgeon’s Kirby tribute…God help you if you’re still on dial-up!

It’s Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday.

§ August 28th, 2017 § Filed under jack kirby § 1 Comment


I note Jack Kirby’s 88th birthday by mentioning my brief meeting with him at an early 1990s comics convention.

A jam drawing by Jack Kirby and a couple of other cartoonists of note.

Kirby’s immortality would have been assured even if he’d only invented this.

Black Racer – still awesome.

The fighting philosophy of the Black Panther (parts one and two).


I mark Kirby’s 92nd birthday with this cover to The Comic Reader #100.

The office adventures of Darkseid.

A hard to find display piece for one of Kirby’s projects.

Klarion the Witch Boy and his gender-switching cat.

Never, ever fails to make me laugh.

My pal Cully meets Jack and gets a Captain America sketch.

There were a handful of Swamp Thing/Jack Kirby tie-ins, of course, but this is my favorite one, and the creepiest!

Another Kirby birthday post, featuring Destroyer Duck!

Probably my favorite Jack Kirby creation that I’ve only heard about and never have actually seen.

…And, the pièce de résistanceevery appearance of the sound effect “POW!” in Kirby’s New Gods.

image from 2001: A Space Odyssey #6 (May 1977) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer

Y’all probably need something good to read right about now…

§ August 9th, 2017 § Filed under jack kirby, this week's comics § 4 Comments

…so may I recommend the first issue of Mister Miracle, on the shelves of funnybook stores today?

I’m finally catching on to Tom King’s work…I’ve been reading Batman of late, I’ve been picking up those Vision “director’s cut” comics (collecting his 12-issue run two at a time), I finally got around to reading Omega Men, and they’ve all impressed me with their originality, their cleverness, their maturity and their entertainment value. King and artist Mitch Gerads continue these books’ commitment to the nine-panel grid in Mister Miracle, where it is almost like the ticking of a clock, each panel the same size and representing the same amount of story time, pushing the reader inexorably forward. This is a weird, almost nightmarish, but compelling take on the characters, where the inherent weirdness of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is approached from an askew angle. Some familiarity with the concepts are required, but 1) most superhero comic readers have at least a slight knowledge of the New Gods; 2) the stuff you need to know is brought up in dialogue, and 3) c’mon, anyone picking this up is going to know Mister Miracle’s deal anyway.

There are some storytelling techniques that underscore the disquiet present throughout the narrative, but I don’t want to say more and spoil the surprises. Suffice to say this is a new take on Kirby’s creations here, replacing the standard (and usually great, don’t get me wrong) bombast with an unsettling tension.

Oh, and the cover stock is nice, too. Good ‘n’ sturdy. Would make a good coaster!

All in all, a nice way to honor Mr. Kirby’s memory, just in time for his 100th birthday.

Let me tell you a story about Willie.

§ February 16th, 2017 § Filed under jack kirby, retailing § 8 Comments

So this is going back well over a quarter of a century, pretty near 30 years now, when your pal Mike was still but a comics retail neophyte, learning the ropes about slingin’ the funnybooks. We had a customer, Willie, who would come in his old van to the shop once or twice a month, popping in to ask if the latest issue of “the Rabbit” (AKA Usagi Yojimbo) had come in.

Another thing he would ask about is if we had any back issues of The Bug in stock.

Took us a bit to figure out who and what he was talking about. Turns out he was thinking of the character Forager, alternatively known as the Bug, who was a supporting character in Jack Kirby’s New Gods. “Willie,” we would say to him, “do you mean issues of New Gods in which the Bug appeared? Is that what you mean?” And Willie would reply, nope, while that was the character he was definitely thinking of, he specifically remembered the Bug starring in his own solo comic book series, separate from New Gods.

Now, we eventually convinced Willie that he was almost certainly misremembering the comic (in fact, I’d bet money he was thinking of this issue), but he would still bring it up once in a while, as a running joke. My then-coworker Rob and I even toyed with the idea of writing and drawing a short Bug comic to give to him as a gag, but alas, we never did do that.

I haven’t seen Willie in a very long time. I think I last saw him sometime in the early ’90s, and I have only the vaguest memory that he had either moved out of the area or he no longer had the disposable income for even his limited comic book habit…or perhaps both. Whatever the reason, Willie and his van became a nearly forgotten memory of my early comics retailing days.

Nearly forgotten, because just the other day this happened:

…and that memory of Willie and his insistence that a Bug solo comic existed all came back to me. And let me tell you, I had the weirdest combination of bemusement and frustration come over me when I heard about this. I’d actually missed the announcement of this comic, but my longtime customer Brook told me about it and my immediate reaction was an outraged “WHAT!?” Not outraged at the comic itself, mind you, but outrage at my inability to inform Willie that he would finally be getting what he wanted all those years ago.

All I wanted to do was send a message back in time to Willie, telling him to eat right, exercise, cut the cigarettes, and just hang in there ’til 2017 because HERE IT COMES:

Ah, Willie. I hope you’re still out there, and somehow, someway, you know this is happening.

Not having a lot of blogging time, as you might imagine…

§ December 14th, 2016 § Filed under jack kirby § 3 Comments

…so let me present this pic I’d put up on the Twitter the other day, after finding it in a comic I was pricing at the shop:

…that comic being New Gods #13 (1977), where Gerry Conway, Don Newton and Dan Adkins tried to continue from where Jack Kirby left off. As was pointed out by other Twittering folks, those are quite the choices for representative disco performers. KC and the Sunshine Band, sure; Rick Dees and “Disco Duck,” well…I mean, why not, that’s as much of the era as anything else.

I’ve never really had much exposure to these post-Kirby New Gods comics…it’s a weird alternate universe divergence from Kirby’s particular and peculiar vision, but still it’s hard to complain about some nice Don Newton art. Even if everything is just slightly off-model from what we know, which is easy to forgive as, at the time, the Fourth World stuff was only a few years old, not having the decades to burrow into fandom’s collective heads like it’s had now.

Cartoon Network probably would have been all over this.

§ August 28th, 2015 § Filed under jack kirby § 1 Comment

Let us all hail reader Chris K, for ’twas he who came to the rescue and revealed the secret hidden name of Jack Kirby’s most forgotten character, the one I could not recover on my own (as detailed in yesterday’s post). And thus, now shall we never forget the second-most* powerful, yet most enigmatic, creation of Jack “The King” Kirby:


Chris K informed me that I was right about originally encountering this in a Jim Woodring interview, but not in The Comics Journal, as I believed, but in Peter Bagge’s comics ‘zine I Love Comics from 1993:

In the interview, Woodring mentions this was just one of many, many ideas Kirby was bringing into the animation studio, and, as Woodring says, “after having drawn 3,000 of these big crescent board pictures he was running out of legitimate ideas, but he was being paid to bring this stuff in.”

Now, in fairness, Woodring only says the character’s name is “Heidi Hogan,” but he did describe her as a lumberjack in a dress, and, well, cartoonist Pat Moriarty provided an illustration based on Woodring’s description of the picture he saw:

I have no idea if the original Kirby drawing still exists but hopefully it’s simply hidden away in storage somewhere, waiting to be unearthed.

Anyway, a big thanks to Chris K for helping out.

Happy Jack Kirby’s Birthday, everyone.


* First-most.

(updated 8/2017)

Bet I don’t put the magazine back this time, either.

§ August 27th, 2015 § Filed under jack kirby § 2 Comments

So I was talking with customer Brook on Wednesday about one of Jack Kirby’s unused creations that I remember reading about, but couldn’t come up with the name. I Googled terrible, terrible things trying to find the character, but nothin’ doin’. My memory was that it was brought up in an interview with cartoonist Jim Woodring, who had been employed by the same animation studio where Kirby was working at the time, and that the character was (I think) one of Jack’s many proposed but unused cartoon concepts.

I went directly to the issue of The Comics Journal where I thought this information was located — well, semi-directly, as I’d pulled that issue out a while back to research something else then threw it into the sort-stack instead of putting it back where it belonged — and, lo, that information wasn’t there.

The character was this, assuming I didn’t imagine it: a somewhat burly-ish woman, almost lumberjack-ian in appearance, wearing a helmet with a giant propeller attached. It seems to me that the mention of this character was accompanied by an illustration, either by Kirby or a recreation by the person discussing it (maybe Woodring, perhaps someone else). I also feel like there was a gallery of interpretations of this character by several cartoonists, either in the same publication or sometime later.

Anyway, the Googlings, they did nothing, so if any of you out there can point me in the right direction, or at least remind me of the character’s name, I would greatly appreciate it. The first person to come up with good info will win the very first Progressive Ruin Nope-Prize! (“Do I get a prize?” “NOPE.”)

At the very least, I’d like to tell customer Brook that this was a real thing, and that I’m not crazy. At least about this.

Swampy P. Smythe.

§ July 10th, 2014 § Filed under jack kirby, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot, swamp thing § 2 Comments


  • Siskoid presents his last, best hope for sci-fi TV blogging: “Your Daily Dose of Babylon 5,” where he plans to discuss every episode. The introduction is here, and as I write this the entries for the first two episodes are up, and you can keep up by following this convenient category.

    I enjoyed Babylon 5, though I haven’t rewatched the series since giving the DVD sets (and associated spin-offs) a once-through as I acquired them. It was an interesting experiment in long-form storytelling with the constraints of the vagaries of television production, it gave us the fascinating crisscrossing story arcs of Londo and G’Kar, and it brought us Walter Koenig in a great role that made most folks come to say “Chekov who?” It wasn’t perfect, but what in this fallen world is; I probably never need to hear the phrase “with all due respect” ever again, for example. But there was certainly more to enjoy than to not enjoy, and the occasional (“occasional?”) bit of labored dialogue and rough-edged acting isn’t that difficult to endure given the overall success of the venture.

    Hey, I liked it, and I look forward to enjoying Siskoid’s review of the series.

  • Here’s an article giving an overview of the Kirby family’s side of the battle against Marvel/Disney over the ultimate ownership of Jack’s creations. At the bottom of the article, under “Amicus Curiae Briefs,” are links to PDFs of the actual filings, each with plenty of historical and legal details that comic fans may find of interest. (Thanks to pal Jason for the link!)
  • In the latest Pal Andrew news, his latest “Nobody’s Favorite” is a comic I remember receiving at the shop, and I remember selling for the few months it was around, but couldn’t tell you anything else about it. Luckily, Andrew has stepped in and refreshed those memories for me.

    Andrew is also relaunching his Ultimate Powers Jam, in which he rolls up characters using the Marvel Super Heroes role playing game, and passes along the results to you to flesh out the character and do with what you will. A sample, if you will.

  • Best wishes to Swamp Thing’s cocreator Bernie Wrightson, who is currently dealing with some health issues but is reportedly doing well. Please keep yourself updated at his official Facebook page.
  • Speaking of Swamp Thing, old pal Batfatty has sent along this back cover by Bill Wray from Cracked Monster Party #7 (1989), featuring Cracked’s mascot Sylvester P. Smythe following the tragic explosion of his bio-restorative formula experiment:

    Hey, it’s purt’near the 25th anniversary of that drawing! EVERYONE CELEBRATE

“I’m anti-dragon!!”

§ October 2nd, 2013 § Filed under jack kirby, swamp thing § 7 Comments

1. Yes, it says “ret” in the first panel. Was that typo fixed in the recent Demon hardcover?

2. This little monkey-fella makes a reappearance in Saga of the Swamp Thing #25, #26 and #27 (1984):

I remember finding out at the time that Kamara (that monkey creature) had appeared in The Demon a decade before, and thinking “boy, there’s no way it can be as creepy as it was in Swamp Thing,” but I was wrong. So very wrong.



images from The Demon #4 (December 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer; Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 (June 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben

(updated 8/2017)

Happy birthday, Jack Kirby.

§ August 28th, 2013 § Filed under jack kirby Comments Off on Happy birthday, Jack Kirby.


from Destroyer Duck #1 (1982) by Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby and Alfredo Alcala

(updated 8/2017)

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