This week, we're taking a look at Jack "King" Kirby, the greatest there ever was or ever will be. Arguably no single individual has contributed more to both the genre of superheroes and the medium of comics as a whole in terms of the creation of memorable and exciting characters, the development of the language and tools of the page, and pushing comics forward in terms of impact, power, and dynamism.
This video follows Kirby from his childhood in the Lower East Side to his time in the military, from his time at Marvel to his time at DC and back again and back again, as well as revealing his connection to Ben Affleck and his beef with Johnny Carson.
On this day in 1962, the world was asked the question “Is he man or monster or... both?” as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk has remained one of Marvel’s most reliable franchises throughout the decades due to his relatability and perhaps above all else, his adaptability.
Since the beginning, The Hulk has been a character in flux. Originally The Incredible Hulk was colored grey, but printing logistics forced the change to the classic green. Bruce Banner’s transformation was originally triggered when day transitioned to night, and Hulk was much more verbose in his early incarnations and spoke in the flowery and dramatic tone typical of Stan Lee.
With the Deadpool movie arriving in cinemas this week, media attention has turned to the character's co-creator Rob Liefeld, and it’s already caused a fair share of controversy. As part of an interview with the New York Times, Liefeld stated that he did “all the heavy lifting” in the creation of Deadpool, and even more bluntly, “I chose Fabian [Nicieza], and he got the benefit of the Rob Liefeld lottery ticket. Those are good coattails to ride.” Liefeld has called the article a "hit piece," but has made similar assertions on Twitter.
Liefeld’s words raise interesting questions about who gets to call themself the true creator of a character. Is it just the initial concept, idea, or design that warrants a creator credit, and does time spent defining a character count for anything?
Q: What are the best Die Hard tributes or knockoffs in comics? -- @chudleycannons
A: Considering how common it is for action movies to try to re-create the feeling of Die Hard, you'd probably be surprised at how little that actually happens in comics. I mean, it makes sense that it would be that way --- despite starting out life as a novel with the amazing title of Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard is pretty inextricably tied to being an action movie, and it's difficult to recreate what makes it work so well in another medium. The closest thing we'd have to that in comics is the massive number of characters that were created as homages or knockoffs of Superman.
But if you're looking for a story that operates on those same principles --- a single hero trapped in a confined space, dealing with limited resources and overwhelming odds --- then there are definitely a few stories that fit the bill.
Q: Which Christmas song would make the best Kirby comic? -- @hazbaz
A: Okay, first of all? This is literally the best Ask Chris question in the five-year history of this column.
I mean, there are very few questions I've ever gotten that hit the exact bullseye of my interests quite as well as that one. If I somehow manage to come up with an answer that involves a Christmas song about Bulbasaur - something that actually does exist thanks to the charmingly bizarre cash-in abum The Pokémon Christmas Bash - then I think I will have covered everything. But even more than that, it's an opportunity to fix one of the greatest tragedies in comics history: The fact that there just aren't a whole lot of Jack Kirby Christmas comics.
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we’re returning to Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World, for a movie based on one of the King's most successful DC Comics creations, Mister Miracle.
Like pretty much everyone else who's really, really into the Fallout video games, I've been pretty solidly in the mood for some post-apocalyptic entertainment over the past week. It's a genre that has a plethora of options, but really, why even bother with anything else when Jack Kirby's Kamandi is just sitting right there on the bookshelf waiting to be read again?
And fortunately, it's got exactly the kind of post-apocalyptic story that I like, the kind where there's a remnant of the present that the people of the future don't quite understand because their society has become so far removed from what we would consider to be basic knowledge, where the ordinary things of our day become the mystical past of these post-apocalyptic survivors. And it's also a story where there's a giant catapult that shoots gorillas over a mountain. That's pretty rad, too.
It’s been said that Doctor Doom is not just one of the greatest supervillains of all time but rather that he’s the supervillain, the one that defines them all.
Whenever Doom appears, he's always a huge threat. That’s evident from his very first appearance in Fantastic Four #5 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, when he kidnaps Sue Storm and forces the rest of the FF to travel back in time to steal Blackbeard’s treasure to help him conquer the world. He later teamed up with Namor the Sub-Mariner to send the team into space --- by literally magnetizing the Baxter Building and attaching it to a rocket ship. Of course, he double crosses Namor and the FF. But Namor gets the upper hand and gets the FF back to Earth, leaving Doom on an asteroid careening out into space. But do you think that stopped him?
Captain America: Sam Wilson #1, by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna, has caused a stir since its release last week. The second launch for former Falcon Sam Wilson in his role as the current thrower of the mighty shield sees him taking on the Sons of the Serpent, who are abducting Mexicans attempting to cross the border into the US. The same issue also sees Cap making a public call for national unity, which gets him branded as a partisan, anti-American, and a socialist.
Conservatives on social media are riled up, with some petitioning for writer Nick Spencer's 'resignation'. Political advocacy group The MacIver Insitute was apparently the first to claim the Sons of the Serpent as its ideological peers in a YouTube video objecting to the storyline, while Saturday morning's Fox And Friends TV talk show saw co-host Clayton Henry pine for for the days when Cap was "punching Hitler" and fighting typical Captain America villains, rather than "going up against conservatives."
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we're taking on a classic, Jack Kirby's New Gods, the cornerstone of his Fourth World meta-saga from DC Comics.
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