Or a version by John Byrne, that would be hilarious.

§ April 1st, 2024 § Filed under jack kirby, wolverine § 16 Comments

More movie comic talk! Here comes JohnJ with

“Plus comic adaptations of movies also bear the occasional mistake by the artist. Kirby putting a helmet on Bowman in ‘2001’ before the explosive bolts scene still rankles me. Not as much because he did it but for the fact that God knows how many people saw the art before publication and nobody caught it? I have to believe Kirby would have appreciated the opportunity to fix that but if nobody told him, how could he?”

Ah, yes, the famous Jack Kirby adaptation of Kubrick’s film:

If you haven’t had a chance to check out this treasury edition, do yourself a favor and track down a copy. It may be the Kirbiest thing that’s ever Kirbied. Giant pages filled with King Jack doing cosmic space stuff as only he could. I had a copy of this myself for many years, though I gave it up to a customer whose need was greater than mine for the book and…yes, I occasionally regret it. But passing along the Kirby love to another person is, I think, a worthy sacrifice.

Plus I’m hoping for a reprint of this comic at some point, even possibly from DC Comics due to various rights shenanigans that I mentioned in this post here. Getting it all on nice paper under a hardcover with a fresh recoloring…ah, that would be nice.

JohnJ brings up the storytelling error in the comic, which, well, What Can You Do™? Bobody’s nerfect, not even the King, but at the very least we can take solace in the fact that it was a brilliantly illustrated error.

The Wikipedia section on this adaptation brings up a few other issues/differences worth noting:

“…differs in the fact that Kirby incorporated additional dialog from two other sources: the Clarke/Kubrick novel and a copy of an earlier draft script of the film that included the more colloquial-sounding version of HAL 9000, as originally voiced by actor Martin Balsam before Douglas Rain took over. In addition, the comic narrative captions describe the characters’ thoughts and feelings, a significantly different approach from that taken by the film.”

First, I wish I had a copy of this comic still, so I could go through and pick out some samples of HAL’s dialogue, because that would probably be amusing. And I’ve said before that the comic’s captions go out of the way to explain to you exactly what’s happening in the story:

It’s the same story, told with almost the exact opposite tone of the film. Which is great, of course. I love the movie, and I loved this adaptation. I can’t imagine anyone else taking on the task of squeezing this movie into a comic book, but that may very well be just because this is the version that’s been with us for decades. Who else at the time could do it justice? Al Williamson? Steranko? Okay, Jim Starlin just came to mind and I would pay real gosh-danged American money to see what he’d do with it.

Or Steve Ditko. A Steve Ditko adaptation of 2001. Just wrap your mind around that, effendi.

• • •

Okay, that went a little longer than planned. So more movie comic discussion soon, but in the meantime, a statement: Len Wein, Herb Trimpe, and John Romita Sr. created Wolverine. An editor trying to horn in as a “co-creator” for some larger paydays for himself is a load of crap. That’s not how it works, Roy.

And that’s this site’s official position on the topic.

16 Responses to “Or a version by John Byrne, that would be hilarious.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    A Steve Ditko adaptation of “2001: A Space Odyssey” would have been very interesting–although he would have probably rather adapted “The Fountainhead.” That could have been odd…to see Ditko drawing Gary Cooper looking full of existential angst.

    Since that Marvel Treasury Edition came out in 1976, here are a few other era-specific comics luminaries that could have done an interesting job on a “2001: A Space Odyssey” adaptation: Steve Gerber and Gene Colan; Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner; Archie Goodwin & Walt Simonson; Bruce Jones and Richard Corben; or Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum.

  • JohnJ says:

    Thanks for replying to my mention of “2001”. I also sold my copy years ago and now wish I could re-read it to check on some of the things you mentioned. I’ve long considered it my all-time favorite movie and remember being put-out when we watched it during a college film-studies course I took and some of the students whined about it being boring.
    I read the Clarke novel back then as well and mostly remember it for the orbiting atomic weapons that I believe the Star-Child was responsible for destroying in the final chapter.
    Rifftrax has also mentioned the movie as being “unriffable” mostly because of the vast amounts of dialog-free time they would have to fill with something. At least it had an intermission if you needed to visit the restroom, something these current 3-hour movies could take a lesson from.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Yeah, Roy swooping in after most of the creators are dead is….as others have said, he really was Stan Lee’s apprentice.

  • stavner says:

    A later Kirby 2001 comic was the first comic I ever remember reading!

  • Thom H. says:

    I think a real strength of the movie is that the visuals are so interesting that it’s difficult to get bored while watching it.

    I imagine the John Byrne version of 2001 would focus on retconning the book, the movie, and Kirby’s comic into one coherent but unnecessarily complicated story. I’m sure it would look beautiful, though.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    It is truly a thing of beauty.

    One of my favorite films adapted by my favorite artist – tough to beat! So good to get 70’s Kirby (the best kirby?) at such a huge size.

    I got this about 15 years ago. An older friend brought a stack of comics* from his youth to a party and asked if anybody wanted them. I leapt across the room to claim the 2001 Treasury.

    While Starlin’s version would look good, it’d only be a matter of time before he brought in pseudo cosmic religious parables and reduced the grandeur and mystery of the Monolith.

    @ThomH: Actually I do find it kinda boring at times, but that’s something that I like about it, it’s almost like a meditation, so calm and soothing, even when things are turning to sh!t.

    And you totally nailed what a Byrne version would be.

    *It was a small stack, but the best “score” I’ve ever had. I got Both Rook magazines from Warren that had Toth’s “Bravo for Adventure” stories in them, Marvel Treasury #2 with the FF, a Tarzan treasury (with beautiful Kubert artwork), and a stack of Kubert’s Tarzan.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Just saw a video on YouTube of a guy trying to find the “most worthless comic” (which he then got slabbed by CGC at 0.5).

    A large part of his process was actively damaging the comic to put it into a condition where nobody would actually want it, so it was worthless! But he also discussed his process for trying to find a comic with little value to begin with.

    He choose Superman: the Man of Steel #29 and like…a Superman comic written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove? Even if it was “overprinted” it would still have _some_ value.

    So my question is, ignoring condition, what is the “least valuable” comic? Or, since that question is more or less unanswerable, what would the criteria be that you could use to narrow down this search?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @Matthew Murray

    Where to start! Most modern comics…most “New 52” comics, most “All-New, All Different” Marvel comics, most Marvel “New Universe” 1980s comics…U.S. 1, all Jack Chick tracts…

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Jack Chick’s “Dark Dungeons” (the D&D one) is definitely sought after and has value.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @Matthew Murray

    Some people might collect them, but to my mind they are worthless propaganda…

  • Oliver says:

    I’d no sooner pay for a Chick tract than for a copy of The Turner Diaries or a proselytising manga by the Aum Shinrikyo cult — people have died as a result of these works.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    @Matthew Murray: to me, the least valuable comic would be overprinted, poorly-produced, have no traction with fans… I submit Brigade (v1), a Liefeld comic drawn by a Liefeld-imitator that was released early in Image’s history when every release sold big. Issue 1 probably has the biggest print run, making it the easiest to find.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Right, it would have to be something with a far higher print run than demand called for. That almost automatically rules out anything since about 2000, with the low modern print runs.

    So, probably anything that was faddishly hot by one of the big companies from the 1990s that was basically wallpaper two weeks after it was printed.

    Another option might be 70s Gold Key comics that were put in those 3-packs for properties which now have no following or interest–Woody Woodpecker, Porky Pig, or even lower-tier characters than that.

  • Thom H. says:

    I don’t know — someone somewhere will pay money for any first issue. What about Brigade #9? What makes that issue special? Absolutely nothing.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I would guess that somewhere out there some collectors want the Gold Key ’70s three-pack comics–especially if the bags were never opened and the comics still look as if they are in VF or higher condition. Just like there are some people who collect Whitman variants of Bronze Age DC Comics. I think most Bronze Age books that are 40+ years old will appreciate in value over time…even Porky Pig and Woody Woodpecker.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Len Wein, Herb Trimpe, and John Romita Sr. created Wolverine. An editor trying to horn in as a “co-creator” for some larger paydays for himself is a load of crap. That’s not how it works, Roy.”


    ““most worthless comic””

    How about the most USELESS? 1963 because the never finished the damn thing!

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