What Youngblood and Devil Dinosaur have in common.

§ November 15th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

So I lied…instead of posting it in the comments section, I’ll tell you right here that of the quotes I posted yesterday, the one Kid Chris dared utter in my presence was “Jack Kirby was the Rob Liefeld of the ’70s.”

That punk kid was just saying that to get a rise out of me, but let’s think about it for a second.

Now I was too young to be involved in comics fandom through the early and mid-’70s. Most of my knowledge of fandom of the time comes from my extensive collection of comics fanzines from that period. But my general feeling was that, as Kirby’s ’70s work was actually coming out, that there was some portion of fandom that wasn’t terribly impressed with his output. They looked at stuff like Devil Dinosaur and 2001: A Space Odyssey and wondered “what the hell is Kirby doing?” In particular, it seems to me that Devil Dinosaur was something of an industry joke for a while.

Okay, we look back on that stuff now and we can appreciate it for what it was. I don’t know if it took us 30 years to catch up to what Kirby was doing, or if it’s just nostalgic fondness for the comics of yore, or if it’s “ironic” appreciation, or just admiration for Kirby’s energy in producing just pure “comic-booky”-type comics with no pretense at being anything other than what they were: escapist entertainment for kids. And I’m sure part of it is an unwillingness to take any portion of Kirby’s output for granted, since, obviously, there ain’t no more comin’.

In the ’70s, however, it seemed that criticism of Kirby came a little more freely and easily…mockery of his unnatural dialogue (with “extensive” use of “quotation marks”), his distorted anatomy, oddball plots, etc. You know, some of the criticisms leveled at Liefeld’s work today.

The comparison to Liefeld is obviously not exact, since Kirby was doing good work through the ’70s, work that stands up even without the help of nostalgic fog or ironic distance. Material that, even with Kirby’s particular quirks, still holds together, like his Fourth World material or The Demon. And folks today can find value even in the comics that fandom mostly rejected at the time, for the reasons I stated above. Basically, Kirby’s work still maintained a level of creativity, talent, and professionalism, as opposed to Liefeld’s material: I can’t think of anything Liefeld wrote or drew that, 30 years from now, anyone’s going to look back on and think anything aside from “well, if they hadn’t printed 500,000 copies of Youngblood #1, maybe we’d still have trees today.”

If any of you folks with a few more annular rings than I have happen to have first hand memories of that period, maybe you can set me straight on just how Kirby was perceived at the time. Did ’70s fans think Kirby was past his prime, cranking out uninteresting, subpar work? Did they think he still had his moments, but some serious clunkers, too? Or was he still “The King,” presenting brilliance on the printed page?

I’m sure the answer is “all three, and more besides” but still, please share your own perspective in the comments section.

We received on Wednesday boxes of the newest Star Trek card set (“The Complete Star Trek Movie Cards”) along with a Trek Movies card album (which was a customer’s special order). I don’t know how familiar you all are with the modern series-specific non-sport card albums, but a lot of times the binders come with bonus cards. Sometimes just promo cards, sometimes exclusive autograph cards. This particular album came with both, and featured on the autograph card?


I totally did not realize that Ferrer was even in Star Trek III (as a member of the Excelsior’s bridge crew). I didn’t get a chance to scan the card, but that still I just grabbed from my DVD approximates the card’s image.

So anyway, it was indeed a Miguel Ferrer autograph card. How cool is that? Wait, I’ll tell you…very, very cool indeed. Don’t deny it.

On a related note, we were discussing the casting of Simon Pegg as “Scotty” in this forthcoming Star Trek movie, and I mentioned that it seemed like a waste to use Pegg for the whole 10 minutes of screentime Scotty is probably going to get. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but not a whole lot.

But then I figured…look, you got a Simon Pegg in your film, you might as well take full advantage of him. So I think the film should be retooled so that it’s all about Scotty, and how he has to put up with the new, untested captain and the other shipboard newbies. “My poor bairns, they canna take much more…what is that damn fool captain up to?” Just let Pegg go crazy for an hour and a half.

…Okay, maybe not. But you’d watch it.

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