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Reading List: The Ten Essential Jack Kirby Stories

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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.

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Rogues’ Gallery: The Top Ten ‘Fourth World’ Underlings

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A hero is defined by their villains, and comic books are filled with some of the scariest and silliest bad guys around. Rogues’ Gallery aims to settle the score and determine who is the true arch-nemesis for some of our favorite heroes, and we need your help to do it!

You voted to see who the ultimate Fourth World villain was, and we’ve tabulated the results and assembled a video counting down the definitive top 10. Did your favorite make this list? There’s only one way to find out!

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Ask Chris #326: Solaris The Tyrant Sun

Ask Chris #326, background art by Val Semeiks

Q: I’m going to fall for it: Why would Solaris make a much better movie villain than Darkseid? — @robotfrom1984

A: In case anyone out there missed it, I made an off-hand reference in last week's column to my feeling that Solaris the Tyrant Sun would be a better villain for a Justice League movie than Darkseid, and as is usually the case, readers picked up on the fact that I'm obviously fishing --- er, seeding future columns, I mean --- and decided to follow up. Honestly, though, it's not really that complicated.

It basically just comes down to the fact that Solaris is a giant evil bad guy from space that you can beat by punching.

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This Magazine Kills Fascists: Life vs Anti-Life In Jack Kirby’s ‘Fourth World’

Jack Kirby / DC Comics
Jack Kirby / DC Comics

This week, we’re journeying to the Fourth World to talk about Jack Kirby’s The Forever People #3, which sees radical extremist Glorious Godfrey preaching the good word of Anti-Life, and helping the brainwashed masses justify their hatred, all in service of Darkseid.

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When You Cry Out In Your Dreams, It Is Darkseid That You See

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When Jack Kirby came to DC Comics, darkness followed after him. He arrived ready to build his own mythology, the interlocking Fourth World, a saga of gods locked in an eternal interplanetary war, with Earth caught in the middle.

And Kirby wasted no time introducing the villain of that saga, a gray-skinned god of evil named Darkseid. What Kirby didn't see coming was that he'd created such a great villain that he would grow larger than Kirby's saga and become perhaps the most important villain of the DC Universe.

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Waiting To Relaunch: Five DC Properties In Need Of A New Comic

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It seems that at least once a year the Big Two superhero publishers push for a major relaunch of their titles with a wave of new number ones that often feature characters that haven’t had an ongoing series in a long while. The choices are sometimes baffling, but the relaunches usually result in at least a few surprise hits, like Omega Men and Superwoman.

DC Rebirth seems to be going well for the publisher, but in most regards it was a very safe relaunch, with many core properties bumped up to twice-monthly schedules, and only a few real risks being taken. We’ve put together a list of five ideal candidates for the next big relaunch, which might seem a little riskier than another new Batman comic, but could lead to some great new stories.

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Cast Party: Who Should Star in a ‘Mister Miracle’ Movie?

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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.

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Kyle Latino Reimagines Jack Kirby’s New Gods As A Western, And It’s Awesome

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Sometimes, amazing things can come out of casual conversations. That's what happened this weekend when Luke Herr was plotting out an RPG campaign based around the idea of retelling Jack Kirby's classic Fourth World saga as a western, full of gun-slinging cowboys and steam-powered parademons battling it out in a town called Hope, and artist Kyle Latino stepped up to do some redesigns for what they began calling "The 4th West."

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Ask Chris #238: Why You Should Probably Pick Up Walter Simonson’s ‘Orion’

Ask Chris #238 - Walter Simonson's Orion

Q: How immediately should we should we all be buying the new Orion by Walt Simonson omnibus? -- @atnorwood

A: Every now and then I like to take a swing at a softball question, but this one is just gently wafting over the plate, taking a moment to stop offer me an engraved invitation. So here's the quick answer: Ideally, you should be buying that Orion omnibus right now, if not sooner, maybe going as far as buying it in back issues too so you have something to read while you wait for it to be delivered. As a general rule of thumb, pretty much anything with the words "WALT SIMONSON" written on the cover is something that's going to be worth having on your bookshelf.

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