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Patrick A. Reed

Jack Kirby: A ‘King-Sized’ 97th Birthday Tribute Spectacular, Part One!

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Jack Kirby is very arguably the single most influential figure in the history of American comics. He produced countless stories in a career that spanned seven decades, inventing and re-inventing genres and styles every step of the way. He inspired generations of artists and writers; created and co-created thousands of characters; defined the visual vocabulary of superheroes; and believed in the potential of comics to be both entertainment and art, long before most people imagined these stories would be remembered past the four weeks that they sat on newsstands.

Today would have been Kirby’s 97th birthday, and to mark the occasion we’ve assembled a series of posts commemorating the life and work of the man known to American comics fans as “The King.” For this piece, we asked some of our favorite creators and other comics pros to celebrate Jack Kirby with their impressions of his characters, life, and legacy – and we got so many responses, we'll have another installment of all-star tributes tomorrow!

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SEE IT – TO BELIEVE IT: Jack Kirby’s Wildest DC Comics Covers In Honor Of The King’s 97th Birthday

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Jack Kirby is arguably the single most influential figure in the history of American comics. He produced countless stories in a career that spanned seven decades, inventing and re-inventing genres and styles every step of the way. He inspired generations of artists and writers; created and co-created thousands of characters; defined the visual vocabulary of superheroes; and believed in the potential of comics to be both entertainment and art, long before most people imagined these stories would be remembered past the four weeks that they sat on newsstands.

This Thursday would have been Kirby's 97th birthday. We've assembled some pieces to celebrating the life and work of the man American comics also knows as "the King." This one focuses on Kirby's strength as a cover illustrator.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: Art, Culture, Opinion

Storytelling, Comedy, Comics, And Film: A Career-Spanning Conversation With Berkeley Breathed

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Ever since Bloom County became a sensation in the early '80s, Berkeley Breathed has had an incredibly varied career. He followed Bloom County's initial success with two more popular comic strips, Outland and Opus; he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning; he wrote and illustrated best-selling children's books; he adapted his own stories into a pair of animated TV specials, and he provided art for various environmental and animal-wellfare charities.

In recent years he's shifted his primary focus to film (production art and original projects), while also overseeing IDW's comprehensive collected editions of his strips. He recently teamed with IDW again for Berkeleyworks, a retrospective volume collecting a number of his paintings, sketches, and illustrations – and last month, he made a rare convention appearance, playing to a packed room at San Diego Comic-Con. ComicsAlliance spoke with Breathed about his career in cartooning, his work in other media, and his upcoming projects.

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The Pen Is Truly Mightier Than The Sword: Screenwriter Sam Hamm Talks Batman ’89 [Interview]

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Twenty five years ago, in 1989, there was nothing bigger than Tim Burton's Batman. The movie was a box-office smash, and was accompanied by an unprecedented merchandising blitz. Bat-trading cards, Bat-shirts, Bat-soundtracks, Bat-toys, Bat-meals, Bat-hats, Bat-candy, Bat-books – the logo and likenesses were everywhere you looked. And the film's impact is still being felt today. It was a big-budget production with proper movie stars that changed the way the world thought about comic book movies evermore.

Earlier this summer, ComicsAlliance published a series of pieces reflecting on the importance of Batman '89 – and now, as the summer of 2014 winds to a close, we spoke to screenwriter Sam Hamm about his work on the landmark film and his thoughts on its legacy as a perfect postscript to our 25th anniversary Bat-celebration.

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Category: News

Valiant’s First Non-Revival Release To Be ‘Punk Mambo’ One-Shot From Peter Milligan [Interview]

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It's a very interesting time to be a Valiant comics fan. While the company's roster is made up of titles that revive the classic Valiant properties of the 1990s, they've proving to be anything but predictable in terms of content and presentation. Over the last six months alone, they've launched insane promotional campaigns, kicked off major crossover events, brought back long-time favorite creative teams, announced new projects from major creators, and gained acclaim for a publishing approach that seems more or less like "bring in topnotch talent, let them work their magic, and have fun".

Later this year, the company will release its first book named for an character that didn't have a counterpart in the '90s Valiant line: Punk Mambo #0, a special one-shot issue written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Robert Gill focusing on the mohawked voodoo priestess first introduced in the pages of Shadowman. Described by Valiant as the story of how Punk Mambo migrated from crusty British high society to the dark world of American voodoo, and how she returns to her origins to discover "the punks and the voodoo priests she used to know have cleaned themselves up, and she’s a loud, belching ghost from their past, come to break in the new furniture…and break some faces!"

ComicsAlliance readers are getting the first look at three different covers to issue #0, and an exclusive conversation with writer/creator Peter Milligan about his plans for the character and her

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Battles, Ballads, And Comics As Music: A Conversation With Paul Pope [Interview]

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Paul Pope is one of comics' most respected and versatile talents. Over the past three decades, he's produced an amazing body of work, from his breakthrough self-published THB series to a number of acclaimed projects for DC/Vertigo. Last October, he unleashed his long-awaited Battling Boy graphic novel, which became a bestseller and won "Best Publication For Teens" at the Eisners last month. This coming September, First Second will publish the first of three tie-in volumes, The Rise Of Aurora West, written by Pope and J.T Petty, with art by David Rubin.

We sat down with Pope at the First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con, the morning after the Eisners ceremony, and had a wide-ranging conversation about his creative inspirations, the changing face of the comics market, and his new and upcoming projects.

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Timeless Fantasy And Indie Innovation: Wendy & Richard Pini On 36 Years Of ‘Elfquest’ [Interview]

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When Wendy and Richard Pini released the first issue of Elfquest in 1978, the landscape of the comic industry was wildly different. The "direct market" model of retailing was still in its infancy, with a loose network of regional companies distributing titles to comic shops around the country, and there was a sharp divide (in both content and style) between the mainstream superhero titles of Marvel and DC, and the adult-themed "comix" from underground publishers. Star Wars was a pop culture sensation, and the public was hungry for more adventure, seeking out all manner of sci-fi and fantasy in theaters and bookstores.

It was the perfect moment for Elfquest to appear, and almost immediately, the Pinis had a best-selling comic on their hands. Within a few years, they sparked a second revolution, collecting Elfquest in a series of full-color paperbacks that pioneered the influx of comics into mainstream bookstores, and effectively laid the groundwork for the graphic novel market.

Now, 36 years later, they're still working on their signature creations, and have partnered with Dark Horse to publish a new series, Elfquest: The Final Quest, as well as new collections of the original series and a special "Gallery Edition," shot from the original artwork. ComicsAlliance got the chance to catch up with them at the Dark Horse booth at San Diego Comic-Con, and discuss how Elfquest has impacted the world of comics, both creatively and business-wise.

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Pushing The Future Forward: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel Talk Batman Beyond 2.0 [Interview]

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Of all the titles in DC Comics' "Digital-First" initiative, Batman Beyond 2.0 has been possibly the biggest surprise. Kyle Higgins and artist Thony Silas launched a series that expands the beloved Batman Beyond animated series storyline from the 1990s in exciting and unexpected ways, without losing the elements that made the Warner Bros. Animation original so popular, and fans have noticed and responded. The story of young Batman Terry McGuinness and his mentor Bruce Wayne and their adventures in Neo-Gotham, DC recently upgraded the Batman Beyond 2.0 from bi-weekly to weekly, and as of Chapter #25, Higgins brought his C.O.W.L. collaborator Alec Siegel and venerable comics veterans Phil Hester and Craig Rousseau onboard the series for what the team has promised to be a particularly dramatic new movement in the young series, one that includes a return of the Phantasm, one of Batman: The Animated Series' most rarely scene yet fan-favorite foes.

During a few spare minutes as San Diego Comic-Con, we stopped by the DC booth to chat with the Higgins and Siegel about their love for the Batman Beyond characters, their collaborative process, "Mark of the Phantasm", and their further plans for the book's future.

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Chip Kidd: Remixing Batman And Designing Super-Solutions [Interview]

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Chip Kidd is a one of American publishing's foremost graphic designers, a respected novelist and author in his own right, and a life-long comic book fan. He's worked with DC Comics on a number of different projects over the years, writing histories, creating logos, designing books, and even authoring stories like 2012's Batman: Death By Design graphic novel with Dave Taylor. Recently, he produced a "remix" of the first-ever Batman story (which was originally slated to be published in DC's "Detective Comics #27 Special Edition" giveaway, but ended up as a feature in the deluxe hardcover Batman: A Celebration Of 75 Years instead).

While at San Diego Comic-Con last month, we got a few minutes to drop by DC's booth and talk with Kidd about Batman, his design work, and his current (and upcoming) projects.

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Cartoonist Lucy Knisley Talks Marriage, Food, And Artistic Inspiration [Interview]

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Lucy Knisley is a long-time favorite of ours here at ComicsAlliance – she's produced an astoundingly diverse body of work that includes travelogue comics, pop-culture commentaries, NSFW sex-positive prints, Harry Potter fan art, Adventure Time stories, and is probably best-known for Relish, her acclaimed "cooking memoir" graphic novel from First Second books.

Last month, First Second announced her next original graphic novel, an autobiographical wedding planning story entitled Something New. While at San Diego Comic-Con last month, we got the chance to sit down with Kinsley and talk about her artistic inspirations, her thoughts on attending the convention, and her recent and upcoming works.

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