Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Jack Kirby's Birthday!

As has been reported extensively all over the blogosphere--today would have been Jack Kirby's 92nd birthday. He's been gone for like 15 years now, so the number of working cartoonists that ever had the good fortune to meet Jack gets smaller as more and more cartoonists arrive on the scene and, alas, more and more leave it.

Although I met Jack a handful of times and was able to ask him about my crackpot theories regarding his work--see "How Jack Kirby Introduced Me To The Hopi Indians Without Meaning To" (or something like that) printed in a Tales of the Beanworld lettercol and in the text pages of Phantom Force #2.
(If some has a scan of PH #2 can you send it along? I'd like to update that essay and print it here. )

Enough of that...needless to say Jack Kirby was a huge influence on me.
I always have some Kirby around to study.

The stuff show above was scanned out of the Image Comics Silver Star hardcover, one of Erik Larsen's labors of love. Silver Star was hardly one of Jack's most famous efforts. It definitely has a few moments where all of Kirby's powers are on display and all his creative energy is bound to a sheet of paper.
I'm pretty sure I didn't read Silver Star when it was originally published in the '80s. A lot of Kirby's later work I definitely glossed over when it was first published. I now find those stories to be quite interesting.
Kirby was always aiming at younger readers and I, like many others, didn't appreciate that.
I wanted Jack's stories to grow up right along with me like so much of Marvel and DC Comics seemed to be doing at the time.

The panels above speak to me in a way I am not capable of articulating very well.
I love the organic designs.
The flatness.
The primal ooziness.
The flailing tentacles.
It's a short hop from some of these elements into a buch of my characters and the so-called Beanworld aesthetic.
These Kirby panels are some peculiar stuff and it seems appropriate to sit back and admire these drawings when I'm taking a momentary breather while pulling long hours.
Long live The King!


Anonymous said...

i find the made-up word of "ooziness" perfect for kirby.

bob said...

I've posted scan's of the PHANTOM FORCE text pages on this old post about it, which also has links to a few other interesting Kirby tribute pieces you did.

Page 1
Page 2

Larry Marder said...

Thanks a gazilion, Bob.
I would've looked for weeks and still never found it.