Saturday, February 9, 2008

Episode #4: Honoring Jack Kirby

Note: Superman Fan Podcast is now on itunes, as well as Podcast Alley, Pod-Planet and Feedburner.

Thanks again to and also, Mark Evanier's website. He worked as an assistant for Jack Kirby during his years at DC Comics in the 1970's, which we will feature here. He is also the author of a brand new Kirby biography, Kirby: King of Comics, published by Abrams Books.

Jack Kirby was indeed the king of comic books. He was one of the most porlific artists in the industry. According to his website, Mark Evanier said that Kirby could draw five to six pages a day, because he was willing to put in long hours and work overnight.

This week marks another sad anniversary in comics history. Jack Kirby died on February 6, 1994 at his home in Thousand Oaks, California.

In this episode of Superman Fan Podcast, we will focus on Jack Kirby's work with DC Comics.

During the early 1940's Jack and his partner at the time, Joe Simon created the following characters for DC:
Boy Commandos: a group of war orphans, one each from the allied countries, led by a U. S. Army Captain.
Newsboy Legion: a band of Suicide Slum orphans who survived by selling newspapers on the streets. A police officer, Jim Harper, became their legal guardian as well as the super hero The Guardian.
The super hero Manhunter, as well as revising the character Sandman, changing his costume from a suit and gas mask to a conventional super hero costume, and a sidekick named Sandy.
In the late 1050's Jack returned to DC and created Challengers of the Unknown, a quartet of men who survive a traumatic event and band together to have adventures, a plot that Kirby would revisit with Stan Lee on Fantastic Four. Kirby also drew Green Arrow backup stories in World's Finest Comics and Adventure Comics.
In the 1970's Kirby returned to DC, creating his Fourth World mythology for comics. He developed this modern mythology in the pages of:
The Forever People: Feb./March 1971 - Oct./Nov. 1972 (11 issues). Issue #1 co-starred Superman. This story was reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told (1987)
New Gods: Feb./March 1971 - Oct./Nov.72, July 1977 - July/Aug. 1978 (19 issues) Note: Issues 12-18 were done by other artists. Jack Kirby was no longer working for DC by this time.
Mister Miracle: March/Apr. 1972 - Feb./March 1974 - Sept. 1977 - Sept. 1978 (25 issues) Note: Issues 19-25 were done by other artists, for the same reason noted for New Gods.
Elements of the Fourth World were introduced in the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, starting with issue #133. In that issue Kirby revived and revised the Newsboy Legion from the 1940's, adding a black character named Flip. The origingal newsboys were now adults working for a secret genetics project, and Jimmy met their sons, almost identical to their fathers.
Here is a list of Kirby's stories for Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen: (Jack Kirby wrote and pencilled all of the stories, and, except where otherwise noted, the inker for these stories was Vince Colletta)
#133: The Newsboy Legion, October 1970
Editor: Muarry Boltinoff
Cover: peciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Vince Colletta
#134: The Mountain of Judgement, December 1970
Editor: Muarry Boltinoff
Cover artist: Neal Adams
#135: Evil Factory, January 1971
Editor: Muarry Boltinoff
Cover artist: Neal Adams
#136: The Saga of the D. N. Aliens, March 1971
Editor: Jack Kirby (He is credited as editor on the rest of these issues.)
Cover: Neal Adams
Writer and Artist: Jack Kirby (no credit given to an inker)
#137: The Four Armed Terror, April 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
#138: The Big Boom, June 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
#139: The Guardian Fights Again, July 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Vince Colletta
(Issue #140 was a giant reprint issue, republishing the stories involving Superman and Jimmy as Nightwing and Flamebird, respectively, as heroes in the bottle city of Kandor, as well as the story that details how Jimmy became an honorary member of the Legion of super-Heroes.)
#141: Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?, Sept. 1971 (Yes, that really is the title.)
Cover: penicller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
As a backup feature, beginning with this issue, DC began reprinting the original Joe Simon / Jack Kirby Newsboy Legion stories, beginning with the first one titled The Guardian, first published in Star Spangled Comics #7, April 1942.
#142: The Man From Transylvane, and Haine's Secret Revealed, Oct. 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
The Newsboy Legion reprint: Last Mile Alley, from Star Spangled Comics #8, May 1942.
#143: Genocide Spray, and The Alien Thing, Nov. 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
The Newsboy Legion Reprint: The Rookie Takes the Rap, from Star Spangled Comics #9, June 1942.
#144: A Big Thing In A Scottish Lake, and The Torn Photograph, Dec. 1971
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
Newsboy Legion reprint: Kings For A Day, from Star Spangled Comics #10, July 1942.
#145: Bragadoom, Jan. 1972
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Neal Adams
Newsboy Legion reprint: Paradise Prison, from Star Spangled Comics #11, Aug. 1942.
#146: Homo Disastrous and Arin the Armored Man, Feb. 1972
Story inker: Mike W. Royer
Cover: penciller: Jack Kirby, inker: Mike W. Royer
Newsboy Legion reprint: Prevue of Peril, from Star Spangled Comics #12, Sept. 1942
#147: A Superman In Supertown, March 1972
Story inker: Mike W. Royer
Cover: Neal Adams
Newsboy Legion reprint: The Scoop of Suicide Slum, from Star Spangled Comics #13, Oct. 1942
#148: Monarch of All He Subdues and Genetic Criminal, April 1972
Genetic Criminal inker: Mike W. Royer
Cover: Neal Adams
Newsboy Legion reprint: The Meanest Man on Earth, from Star Spangled Comics #14, Nov. 1942
These stories have been reprinted in several volumes:
Jimmy Olsen: Adventures by Jack Kirby, vol's. I & II (2004)
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, vol's. I - III (2007) There is a fourth volume of the omnibus, but it does not have any stories from Jimmy Olsen's title.
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1 comment:

  1. The best Jack Kirby comics were the ones inked by a guy named Vincent Colletta.

    Paris, France


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