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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.

One must appreciate his sense of self-worth.

§ March 11th, 2024 § Filed under jack kirby, low content mode § 11 Comments

“Hmmm, what does he love? Fishing? Scrapbooking? Who can say?”

Anyway, that’s how you introduce a character. Well played, Jack Kirby or whoever it was that blurbed this on the cover of Forever People #4 (1971).

Content may be a little short on this site over the next week or two, but I’ll check in when I can. Thanks for reading, pals, and we’ll be back to normal service soon.

And his chair…is it a recliner?

§ April 29th, 2022 § Filed under jack kirby, Uncategorized § 5 Comments

So here’s a thing that bugs me way out of proportion to its importance (I know, I know, “welcome to comics fandom”): the whole “Is Metron a New God or not?” thing.

Here’s a pic of Metron, in case you need reminding:

For those unfamiliar, Metron is a character in Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” line of books for DC Comics, comprised of several titles and headed by the series New Gods. It tells the tale of the denizens of the peaceful world New Genesis, their conflicts with the endlessly aggressive world of Apokolips, and how Earth, wouldn’t you know it, is stuck in the middle.

More or less, the “good guys” are on New Genesis, the “bad guys” control Apokolips, and yes, there’s a bit of business where the leaders of the two worlds, Highfather and Darkseid, trade their sons (Mister Miracle and Orion, respectively) to each other as part of a peace pact.

Aaaand that’s all well and good, but then here’s Metron, a dude with a flying chair who travels the universe seeking knowledge, occasionally siding with either New Genesis or Apokolips as it suits his purpose. And his creator, Jack Kirby, went out of way to establish that Metron is his own guy, with no specific affiliation to either side:

So it does sometimes bother me a bit when he’s just casually referred to as “one of the New Gods.” Because, he, as written by Kirby, has specifically said he’s not.

When I semi-facetiously griped about this on Twitter the other day, I got several responses which you can see there (though a couple have since gone AWOL, or at least I can’t find them now). Mostly they were from folks trying to explain why this isn’t The World’s Worst Disaster as I’ve been trying to make it out to be.

One response I liked, and I feel makes the most “in-story” sense, was that Metron is totally part of the New Gods, but likes to talk himself up like he’s, you know, “better” than that. I realize a comic where the leader of the good guys is named “Highfather,” and the chief bad guy is “Darkseid,” doesn’t sound like one overrun with subtlety, but there are subtleties to the actions and personalities present in the series, beneath all the POW! panels. It wouldn’t be a surprise to discover that Metron was “putting on airs,” trying to place himself above the petty squabbles during his pursuit of knowledge.

Especially given, as was pointed out to me, in Swamp Thing #62 Metron relates a vision of the final battle of the Old Gods, which includes his father:

…and as the person on Twitter put it, he was at least “of the same stock” as the rest of the New Gods if this were the case. This story, however, was by Rick Veitch, not by Metron’s creator Kirby, so its canonicity re: Kirby’s intentions are not established.

And as others have put said, lumping in Metron with the rest of the New Gods could very well be just convenient, and certainly easier than having to explain “well, here are the New Gods, here’s all of Darkseid’s crew, and then here’s this dude who just kinda hangs around” every time. Which is also fine, but other writers having Metron refer to himself as a New God feels a little suspect to me. But perhaps that can also be explained away by Metron telling bit of a fib to get something he wants, which probably isn’t beneath him.

If you go to issue #15 of Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (from which that image at the top of this post came), the entry describes Metron as

“…The leading scientist, explorer, and inventor among the New Gods of New Genesis.”

…and also notes his group affiliation as being with “The New Gods” so that’s pretty much that, I guess.

So…is he or isn’t he? I still think the answer is that yeah, he’s a New God, but acts like he’s better than that. And while he’s had his share of dealing with Darkseid, by and large he’s sided with the New Gods. It does still seem weird to have the character outright say “I’m a New God,” when Kirby established early on that he probably wouldn’t say that, however.

Anyway, speaking of Kirby, did we ever nail down whether Klarion’s familiar Teekl is a girl cat or a boy cat? I feel like that’s still up in the air. But at least we know s/he isn’t a New God.

Special thanks to Bully the Little Stuffed God and his Moobius Chair for production assistance

Oh nothing, just an amazing splash page penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Steve Ditko.

§ August 1st, 2018 § Filed under jack kirby § 8 Comments


From Tales to Astonish #13 (November 1960), reprinted in Chamber of Darkness #7 (October 1970)

49 (and change).

§ March 16th, 2018 § Filed under jack kirby, obituary, old, smallville, superman, television § 13 Comments

So one of the victims of my part-week blogging break was no birthday post. Yes, that’s right, your pal Mike just began his last year of his forties this past Tuesday…the warranty’s long expired, the creaking frame continues to bow, and the decay continues apace. I did mention the occasion on the Twitters, however, and received some very kind response there (as well as wishing birthday-and-blogging-brother Andrew a happy day).

The Bullest with the Mostest, Bully the Little Birthday Bull, worked up a bit of magic:

You can find the original image he used on this page of nightmare fuel. Oh, and by the way, now that I can make GIFs I may need to revisit that last pic.

Oh, and Tom Spurgeon over at Ye Olde Comics Reporter also noted the occasion, as he does every year. Thanks, Tom!

Another reason I kinda skipped out on the birthday post this time around is that I had my heart set on a particular panel, but could not find the thing, which has me wondering if I’m remembering the right comic, or if my age-addled brain has it confused with another comic, or if I didn’t just make up the whole thing out of thin air. Anyway, I’ll mention it here in case it rings a bell with any of you fine folks:

What I’m remembering is a panel from a Star Trek comic, maybe in the first DC series, or possibly the second run, where mention is made of Captain Kirk’s 49th birthday. However, and the reason this has stuck with me all this time (assuming I’m remembering it correctly at all) is that the “49th” in the comic had very obviously been relettered just prior to going to print, and almost certainly read “50th” originally. I mean, that was my presumption, in that they probably wouldn’t be making any kind of big deal out of a 49th birthday for story purposes. I remember guessing they were likely saving a 50th birthday story for some bigger event, or someone at the main Trek headquarters decided that they didn’t want Kirk to be that old, or some darned thing.

I hunted through my Trek comics for the scene, and couldn’t find it…I still have full runs of both series (didn’t give ’em up to my store!) plus all the specials and minis and whatnot, so if it actually exists, it’s in there somewhere. But, like I said, at this point I’m even sure it was in a Trek comic and involving Kirk. If you know, please share your knowledge!

• • •

So this week, DC released a freebie funnybook tying into the imminent Superman-prequel Krypton series appearing on the SyFy cable channel:

My immediate reaction to seeing that cover is “…Tom? Tom Welling?” but that’s likely because I watched all ten seasons of Smallville and I’m still recovering. But it didn’t help when I looked inside the comic at the “meet the characters” section and Superman’s grandfather is dressed like this:

…which all the world looks like the get-up Clark was wearing in the latter seasons of Smallville:

I mean, that has to be deliberate, right? Aside from all that…despite my initial skepticism regarding the show (“It’s about Superman’s grandpa?”) I’m actually intrigued, particularly now that I know about the time travel element and the inclusion of DC’s classic space hero Adam Strange. I may be one of those “wait to binge it on streaming” guys, since I’m way behind on everything as it is, but I’ll at least try to catch the first episode. …There better be at least one Thought-Beast on the show, that’s all I’m saying.

This tweet from Twitter pal Joe sort of got me thinking about that Smallville-esque comparison, though Joe’s point of contention/admiration was more for the “Fight Like El” tagline, which is admittedly both amazing and appalling. And if you’re wondering, yes, the entry for the Zod family character has a reference to kneeling, because that’s just a Zod thing now and you better be used to it. (“Fight Like El” reminded me of these somewhat confrontational DC bookmarks from a while back.)

Oh, that World of Krypton comic, by the way, is a reprint of the first issue of the mini-series of the same name from the mid-ish 1980s by John Byrne and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. If you’ve never read it, it’s not bad…and if you like it, the entire series has been very conveniently reprinted in a World of Krypton trade paperback released just a week or two ago (along with other Krypton-based stories).

• • •

Oh, and there’s going to be a live-action New Gods movie…you know, no big deal. That of course means…LIVE ACTION SLEEZ:

Well, okay, maybe not. But the director of A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay, is signed on to direct, and given what I’ve seen of the visuals for that film (which I haven’t had a chance to see yet, despite really, really wanting to) gives me a good feeling about her take on Kirby’s Fourth World. Also, to quote my hopes for this film from Twitter, only with the stupid typo in the original corrected:

“I want this New Gods movie to be the Kirby-est thing that’s ever Kirbied. I want to SEE the quotation marks around assorted words in actors’ dialogue.”

I mean…right? Yes, yes, I know Thor: Ragnarok was very Kirby-ish, but New Gods was straight out of Kirby’s head, no Stan Lee required. I want everyone in their original costumes (yes, even…especially…Black Racer), I want dialogue quoted from the comics, I want that opening bit preserved in its entirety (“THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS DIED!”), everything. I don’t care if movie audiences are ready for it. Let the studio paraphrase Jack himself on the movie posters: “DON’T ASK, JUST WATCH IT!”

Alas, it comes too late for the Don Rickles cameo:

…though it was suggested having one of his old movies/TV appearances on a television screen might be a good reference for those in the know.

But…c’mon, a New Gods movie. I can’t wait.

• • •

Mark Evanier reports that comics writer Michael Fleisher passed away last month at the age of 75. He was probably most famous for his Spectre and his Jonah Hex (and, ’round these here parts, the amazing Hex), but this is what I’ll remember him for the most:

I wrote a bit about that book a couple of years back…man, I spent I don’t know how many hours perusing that tome. And there it still sits on my bookshelf today, nearly forty years after I first acquired it. Thanks, Michael, for all that entertaining information you provided a young me, just beginning to learn about Superman’s history.

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.

• • •

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.

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