August 28th, 2014
Do you think that he’d even know? I’m not sure. He’s always so busy, isn’t he? The character and the book he starred in are a perfect match that way.
I’ve been spending a lot of time round at Kirby’s recently, and my favourite Kirby is the chatty, energetic old guy who’s perpetually setting up a big picture with the intention of hinting at an even bigger one. I’m talking about the Kirby who’s always happy to sit you down, offer you a drink and ask how you’re doing before the trip so nighttown begins. You’ll find this Kirby in The Eternals, of course, as well as in his Fourth World stories, and it’s hard not to love the guy.
The Jack Kirby you meet in OMAC is every bit as sharp as that other Jack, but he’s forever on the move. You head round to his place only to find him halfway out the door. This situation poses no problem for Kirby: ‘Of course you can come along!’ he barks. ‘I’m about to grab a taxi down to the “Brother” Eye if you’re willing to take a detour?’
Before you even have a chance to say yes you’re jumping out of the taxi and into the “Brother” Eye, a dingy old man’s pub untouched by the smoking ban, the sort of place that’s packed full of cigar smoke and shifty characters. And talking about characters, did Kirby really just tell you that that girl over there is a robot? And what’s that he’s saying about a man so rich he can afford to rent out whole cities for his private parties? You’re sure that he just said that the most recent party had a more sinister purpose, but somehow Kirby’s over at the other side of the bar now, stopping a nasty brawl before it can properly get going. One minute he’s holding a man ten years his junior by the throat, the next they’re heading towards you, talking quite intently with each other about the “Sickies”.
Kirby slaps you on the arm, buys you a drink and introduces you to his new friend Bucky… no, wait, it’s Buck, sorry. Kirby starts to settle down; he stretches his back out, and it looks like he’s about to chat to you when he suddenly decides to throw a nearby chair through the closest window. You’re about to tell the old guy to chill the fuck out, but then he leaps clean through the window and chases a mugger off down the street.
A brief ‘Good to see ya kid!’ and a hastily written check to the bar owner later and Kirby’s off into the night, shouting ‘OMAC lives so that man may live!!’ as he goes. Shit, that was exhausting, you think. But hell, when was the last time you had that much fun with a comic book superhero?
Does OMAC know what’s best in life? I’m not sure, but the man who created him certainly did! Happy birthday, then, to Jack Kirby – still missed, still the only king I will ever bow to.
August 7th, 2014
A funny thing happened after I read Jeet Heer’s twitter essay on the debt popular culture owes to Jack Kirby: I found myself wanting to get some Kirby in front of my eyes again for the first time in a couple of months.
Remembering The Beast Must Die’s classic (#classic) post on The Demon, I decided to start there and I was impressed by the supremely elegant hackwork I found within:
This might sound dismissive, but it’s not meant to be. Mark Evanier’s introduction frames these stories as an attempt to horror comic on demand – “Carmine [Infantino] wants a comic about a demon? Fine. I’ll give him one. I’ll even call it THE DEMON!“ - and compared to Kirby’s Fourth World books or his work on The Eternals, there’s a lack of grandiose philosophical ambition coded into this particular eruption of granite-faced monsters and face-splitting energy blasts.
The Demon is a formula book through and through, with Kirby sweating away to recapture (& literalise) the magic of The Hulk: Jason Blood socialises in glorious Gotham city until an occult menace emerges, prompting the titular Demon into action; after spending a few pages getting kicked around by this month’s threat while his friends trail or pine after him in a state of groovy bewilderment, Etrigan will best his opponent through sheer energy and force of will; eventually, Jason Blood returns to his wonderful social life with a slightly more sombre look on his face:
November 14th, 2011
Darkseid Is… Honestly, pretty fucking dull in this incarnation.
August 16th, 2011
So, it kind of started like this between he and me, yr ever-lovin’ Botswana Beast, the O-rriginal Eyeball, and there’s more but I’m fuctifano how to get all these trackbacks on the twtr, so look for yourselves, if you really want. Joel (that’s his tumblr) is a pwopa Marxist on the speed-dial and who knows; maybe he can diagnose and cure comics’ endemic corporate thievery better than a ragtag bunch of libertarians? My inclination’s to think this eminently likely.
March 23rd, 2009
Jack Kirby’s much lauded return to DC comics is best remembered now for his monumental 4th World proto-epic. Its fate and subsequent rescue as a lost classic are now extremely well documented, and Grant Morrison’s recent Final Crisis was pretty much a love letter to Kirby’s grandiose and complex vision. But Kirby’s other later works often get lost in the mix, viewed by many as lacklustre work for hire; contract-fulfilment by a man crushed by the general apathy that greeted his masterwork. Simply not true. Whilst they may have not stemmed from the same visionary core that Darkseid and Co sprung from, it was virtually impossible for Kirby not to infuse even his most meagre creations with a manic, creative energy that still read like nothing else.
February 6th, 2009
December 13th, 2008
I feel like the Mindless Ones have been in on a secret. Since its inception, both beasts, Lord Nuneaton Savage, Bobsy and I have all been whispering amongst ourselves about how Final Crisis is actually good.
A few thoughts from Zom:
“I noticed that Brian Hibbs, amongst others, recently commented that Final Crisis lacks weight because of the way it seems divorced from continuity. That’s a criticism that I have some sympathy with – as a reader of ongoing comics how could I not? – but it is rooted in an understanding of the DCU that differs significantly from my own. Brian is positioning continuity as central to our relationship with the fictional space, whereas I tend to approach things from another angle. It seems to me that as fans we all have a much deeper connection with the DCU. I’m talking about our relationship with our private, idealized DCUs. We all know where Gotham and Metropolis are and what’s important about them, we’ve all been to Oa, we care about our favorite superheroes even when their continuities have taken a turn down shit alley. Especially then, perhaps.
Final Crisis is threatening those DCUs. Give a fuck about the one where “superpants punched bumhead so that couldn’t happen!”. Yeah, yeah none of it’s entirely separable- obviously! – but I tend to think that the world is best approached as an analogue rather than a binary experience. It’s not either/or, it’s just about turning down the continuity volume, and trust me it is possible – I do it all the time – and so do you, it’s just that you might not notice.
I’ll be giving you an example in my next post: FUCK YEAH!
Kick it out the door, Poodle!”
Back to me. Welcome.
Stop reading the interviews, ignore the hype, immerse yourself in some Kirby, trust the creative team, stick on some apocalyptic music and you’re ready to begin.
Just a little aside before we get into this. There’s plenty of sites out there featuring balanced reviews, there’s plenty of sites out there featuring scathing reviews, and there’s plenty of sites out there drooling like a muthafucker. This site, however, is all about celebrating what we like about the comic, with a healthy wodge of gushing, but hopefully in an intelligent, infectious way.
I could write the negative review. I could write the balanced review. I could go ‘I MARRY GRANT MORRISON LOVE WEDDING!!!!11123!YOU R BASE BELONG GRANT MORRISON!’
All this would bore the shit out of me. It’s like I’ve just heard a brilliant new tune and I want to enthuse about it, regardless if it’s a bit tatty round the edges and the breakdown’s a bit overlong.
August 21st, 2008
Welcome weary travellers. Come rest yourselves a while in the basement. Mind that mildewed copy of Razzle and that box of broken Transformers. Sit yourselves down between that crate of warped vinyl (can I interest anyone in some vintage James Galway? Or maybe a copy of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’?), and that decomposing Garfield, and I’ll delight you with some recent treasures from the Beast’s Bargain Basement…
In order to overcome the trauma of shelling out £2/$3 for a new comic (but wow, ain’t it just worth it with all the time and money they’ve put into that turd-polishing computer colour!?!), I have recently returned to the blessed womb of cheap-as-fuck back issues, and it’s got to be said, found some true gems. And some shite. But it’s cheap shite, and that’s what counts.
April 17th, 2008
She’s dressed in straps which she removes and whips sailors with. It’s all very high fashion but I can’t really see it filtering down into the high street – but what do I know?