OMAC, What Is Best In Life?

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.

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:

And yet, there’s an admirable thematic consistency to these adventures…

Enter the Multiversity

July 29th, 2014

A brief thought on Grant Morrison’s work that I might disown in the morning…

While hyping his upcoming Multiversity mini series for DC (at least half a decade in the making, and from the sound of it pages are still being done), Morrison has made reference to the Stan Lee method, in which the comic makes the reader an accomplice in the story.

Here’s the man himself, making some typically bold claims for his adoption of this technique in Multiversity #7, Ultra Comics:

I’ve used a lot of hypnotic induction. There’s an old trick that Stan Lee used to do — it was quite popular at Marvel — of the comic talking to you. I took that and this thing, and I think we’ve actually created the world’s first actual superhuman being, which you’ll see how it works when you read this comic. Then the world’s first super human being on this earth has to fight the most malignant entity. So the bad guys in Multiversity who are attacking the entire multiversal structure are also attacking the real world, and this comic is their only way through right now. So it becomes the reader versus the bad guy on the page. I think it’s actually quite scary, this thing. It scared me!

Read the rest of this entry »

At this point we’re all getting a bit drunk and we all like comics. This is the best time to get excited about The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe and Who’s Who in the DC Universe. Listen now as grown men turn into children before your very ears!

Click to download

Click here to see some images relevant to the conversation

PREPARING REACTIONS TO THE NEWLY REDESIGNED DARKSEID DOT DOT DOT

Darkseid Is… An inaction figure/A “21st Century big bad”/A redesign of a redesign of a real design/A quaint plastic monster farting out an unclean sun.

Darkseid Is… Straining for relevance/A big Depeche Mode fan/Dangerously indebted to the robust sartorial choices of a certain Lex Luthor.

Darkseid Is… A dullard’s idea of raw spectacle/Actually quite ripped underneath that hard shell/Pretending to be a pint man now, probably.

Darkseid Is… Representative of nothing/Reflective of nothing/Currently unable to smuggle meaning under his dainty little skirt.

Darkseid Is… Singing the Arkham City blues/A capitalist realist’s dream/Safe now for renewed consumption.

Darkseid Is… Honestly, pretty fucking dull in this incarnation.

Rogue’s Review: Darkseid

October 1st, 2011

I don’t usually deal in the sort of criticism that tries to find the spirit of our time in this or that piece of pop culture detritus, but for the past few years I’ve felt smothered by four little words – THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE! – and every time I see or hear a variation on that theme, there’s only one face I see.

No point in trying to keep the bastard stuck in a corner anymore.  You can only fight him off for so long, you know?

It’s time to let Darkseid out of the box:

This is the way, step inside.

Aww, fuck. Might as well start off with a quote from Millar, the Instigator:

“But I love that Kapow! is sold out. I want people to turn up, find that out and think: ‘Damn, I’m definitely going to get my ticket next year.’ There is something cool about that.”

(Kapow! Superheroes come to Britian – man, this even willingly leans in to those Zap! Pow! punches, eh?)

Ok so one of the weird things about Mark Millar, as a figure in popular culture, is that I’m predisposed to disbelieve almost everything he says in interviews. He’s like Tony Blair that way for me, only, you know, Millar’s not actually irredeemably evil.

He is the king of the obvious idea, apparently, and as such the first person to write a comic where a supervillain is the main character. The book in question? Nemesis (Icon Comics, 2010), except… that’s not quite right.  You see, the weird thing about this particular boast is that Millar actually beat himself to the punch on this one, with Wanted (Top Cow, 2003). Or maybe the pluralisation invalidates that example, in which case all I have to say is: Zodiac (Marvel, 2009). Or maybe: Irredeemable (Boom Studios, 2009). If plural supervillains count then maybe I’d be saying Empire (Gorilla Comics, 2000)  instead, but the point is that it’s a silly boast, one that’s easily proved to be untrue.

Still, at least it’s still a relatively new idea, eh?

Well... there were probably no gay incestous womb-bombs in this comic, but maybe that's because it's a shit idea?

Oh. Okay. Maybe not. Well… there probably weren’t any gay incestuous womb-bombs in those old Joker comics, but maybe that’s just because it’s a shit idea?

More fear and self loathing at the comics convention after the cut!!

prism

UPDATE: PLOK’S ESSAY IS NOW FIXED!

Finally, here it is. The Prism is the first and possibly the last (but by no means the least) Mindless Zine, beautifully designed by our Dan White.

We have:

Sean Witzke on Casanova
Amypoodle, Bobsy and Zom on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century
Go Robo 4, a new strip by Dan White
David Allison on Brian Chppendale’s Ninja and Maggots
Andrew Hickey on comics and Christmas (that’s how late this little project is)
Plok on Kirby’s celestial dreams
The Satrap rogue reviews Kang

It’s a big file, 19 megabytes of non-stop, comics oriented, PDF action, but it’s worth it, because you’re worth it. Download from Mediafire here.

If you have any problems getting hold of the file let us know!

Gary Lactus’ Vault of Tymbus#12

September 21st, 2009

vot12

Wowzers!  We sure had a lot to talk about last time I visited Tymbus in my vault.  I’ve decided to give it to you in seven handy-dandy sections in the vain hope that it might make the whole experience less tedious.

vault-of-tymbus-12-1 (Fantastic Four # 570)

vault-of-tymbus-12-02 (Archie Comics # 600)

vault-of-tymbus-12-03 (Jack Kirby’s Captain Victory)

vault-of-tymbus-12-04 (Lion)

vault-of-tymbus-12-05 (Asterios Polyp)

vault-of-tymbus-12-06 (Blackest Night)

vault-of-tymbus-12-07 (2000AD # 1650)

LOOK AND LEARN! Click here for images relevant to the above audio…

losers4

Everyone loves Jack Kirby, right?  Come listen now as I, Gary Lactus discuss with that corpulent comic critic, Tymbus, The Losers from DC Comics.  Originally published in Our Fighting Forces, this podcast deals with the recently collected hardback.  We also try an experiment in which I use the sound effects from the book to generate some Dadaist sound poetry.

Click to download Vault of Tymbus #7

losers1

There it is! Let’s look inside!