Obviously Jack Kirby is the greatest comic book artist of all time, but most will agree he's also one of the medium's greatest writers. He wrote the way he drew: Big and loud and primal, but with a surprising amount of intricacy and nuance waiting to be discovered amid the crackling explosions. We've put together a list of the ten essential stories that you should read if you want to get more familiar with the King.
So far, DC's Kamandi Challenge --- a bizarre experiment in Exquisite Corpse storytelling about the Last Boy on Earth and his journey across Jack Kirby's map of a post-apocalyptic earth --- has been a hoot. The mix of high-concept action and the genuine uncertainty of having no idea where this story is going is something that you don't often get in comics, and as much as I thought it was a weird idea, it's always the first thing I read on the Wednesdays where it hits shelves.
But sadly, the third issue has dashed my hopes for Kamandi's trip to a post-apocalyptic San Diego Comic-Con. Instead, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Paul Mounts are going in a bit of a different direction. Check out a preview below!
I've always wondered what it would be like to, say, play a Fallout game that takes place in a city where you live. I imagine it would be pretty weird to see the local landmarks of the place you grew up rendered with the age and ruin of the Great Disaster upon them, but until someone decides to set their apocalyptic fantasy in rural South Carolina, I don't think I'll ever know. I mean, if nothing else, I'm not sure you'd be able to tell.
But this week, I did have something close to that experience while reading Kamandi Challenge #2, because Peter J. Tomasi and Neal Adams have presented me with the post-apocalyptic version of a building that I'm very familiar with. So in case you missed it, the San Diego Convention Center, the home of Comic-Con International, has canonically survived the Great Disaster and emerged into a post-apocalyptic wasteland that's only slightly less hellish than the one it turns into every July here in our time.
Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, is one of those Jack Kirby creations that DC has never known quite what to do with since Jack left him behind. So The Kamandi Challenge is taking the unique approach of letting different teams work on each issue, creating a patchwork story that takes Kamandi to every corner of his post-apocalyptic world. Check out a preview courtesy of DC.
A while back DC announced plans to revive Jack Kirby's Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth in January in a form that, to say the least, is a little unique. It's called The Kamandi Challenge, and the idea --- loosely inspired by 1985's DC Challenge and its game of storytelling hot potato --- is that the twelve-issue series will feature a new creative team, randomly paired together from a list of twelve writers and twelve artists for each issue, each picking up the story where the previous team leaves off.
It's an interesting way to mark the 100th anniversary of Kirby's birth in 2017. In advance of New York Comic-Con, DC has revealed a first look at some of the artwork from the series, plus new details of how the creative teams will approach the story.
In the early 1970s, DC Comics attempted to gain the rights to publish comics based on the popular Planet of the Apes franchise. When that effort failed, editor Carmine Infantino asked Jack Kirby to create a comic with similar themes and visuals. Kirby hadn't seen the movies, but he got the gist --- post-apocalyptic, talking animals, animalistic humans, the Statue of Liberty in disrepair. So on August 29 1972, the day after Kirby's 55th birthday, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #1 was published.
In the mid-eighties, DC Comics tried a bizarre experiment known as the DC Challenge, a story told by twelve different creative teams over twelve comics, with the catch being that each issue would end on a cliffhanger that the next team would have to get themselves out of. Announced at Emerald City Comic Con, DC is reviving the series in the form of Kamandi Challenge, thirteen creative teams over twelve issues telling one complete story with the classic Jack Kirby character, Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth.
The original DC Challenge featured the likes of Elliot S! Maggin, Mike W. Barr, Dave Gibbons, Gene Colan and so many more legendary creators. and featured the additional caveat that they could use any DC Comics characters, except ones they were currently working with elsewhere. The series culminated in a jam-packed final issue which was divided among six of the previous creative teams.
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.
One of the noticeable differences between DC and Marvel is the number of prominent superheroes that wear capes. Compare any group shot of any number of Marvel superheroes to any group shot of DC superheroes and chances are good that there will be more capes on the DC side. There's a litany of reasons why this could have taken root in the intrinsic creative works of both companies, but one of the strongest is the role of one artist and creator in the building and evolution of both publishers into what we know of them today: Jack Kirby.
Welcome to Recon:Vergence, a weekly look at what’s going on throughout DC’s new reality-smooshing event storyline, Convergence. This week: Chaos in the stadium as worlds collide and we head towards the final confrontation.