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Jack Kirby’s Heroes in Waiting
April 13, 2010 9:35 AM   Subscribe

During the 80s comics king Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men and Captain America, became disillusioned with the industry and left to work for animation company , sketching out dozens of characters, work that has been largely unseen... until now.
posted by Artw (43 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
How did I know without even peeking that this was a post by Artw?
posted by jquinby at 9:36 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aw, come on, it could have easily been Alvy Ampersand or Kittens for Breakfast... I just happened to stumble on to it first.
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Gargoids look like they'd be right at home punching it up with The Goon.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on April 13, 2010


Jack Kirby! I remember... Ha! Here it is, Internet!

The Origin of King Kirby from FOOM! #11.

This amused me greatly as a tot. It still amuses me, a bit.

Oh, FOOM!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:47 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was hoping FOOM! was an abbreviation of Fing Fang Foom. Alas, no.

The real back-story of Kirby/ Curtiss/ Kurtzberg is amusing, as he started with single-panel advice cartoons such as Your Health Comes First!!!, which sounds like a thrilling adventure of good advice, ending with the title being shouted by someone of importance. I'm picturing it now: Young Employee comes sniffling into work, thinking he won't get paid if he doesn't work. The Boss clarifies he has plenty of sick days, and Your Health Comes First!!!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: now is the time to make the dreams of The Golden Sheild a reality (the premise: an "ancient Mayan hero seeking to save earth in the apocalyptic year 2012.")
posted by filthy light thief at 9:56 AM on April 13, 2010


Oh, hey, look who's representing Ruby-Spears and the Kroffts. That's like having Darkseid in your corner.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:16 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]




Tis 'ever the way with estates and the fucked up zone of contract ambiguity that is eary comics. Good luck to 'em, I say.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on April 13, 2010


Fing Fang Foom. Alas, no.

Where did he find purple trunks in his size? Just another mystery of the Kirbyverse.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2010


Same place the Hulk gets his.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The hulk just has the strange power to mutate Bruce Banner's pants when he changes. I think poor FFF has to find a "Really Big and Tall... um... Man-Like Reptiliod's Shop."
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:54 AM on April 13, 2010


The hulk just has the strange power to mutate Bruce Banner's pants when he changes. I think poor FFF has to find a "Really Big and Tall... um... Man-Like Reptiliod's Shop."

Have you seen The Incredibles? There is special material for super hero / villain / mutant clothing. I image they have their own clothing catalog or something.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on April 13, 2010


Have you seen The Incredibles?

Only two and a half times THIS week... parental sigh...
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I too would love to see The Golden Shield. And The Bad Guys too, for that matter. The last hooded cartoon character I can think of was Cobra Commander back in the 80s (and even he didn't always wear one).

Bring back hoods!
posted by stinkycheese at 11:11 AM on April 13, 2010


So, my dad used to be into comics in the 1970's, when he was in college. But, at some point before I learned how to read, he sold his collection, so it was only ever a vague reminiscence.

I got into comics when I was in college, about thirty years after he did. My girlfriend Amy (at the time and to this day) is also really into them.

So, the first time Amy sits down to dinner with me and my family, my dad strikes up this conversation.

"So, Amy, I hear you're one of those comic book people."

We laugh pretty hard. Yes, in fact, she is.

"I used to have a lot of comics, back in the day. Fantastic Four. Yeah. You ever read that?"

We agree. (Actually Amy's a big Green Lantern person, but that's another story.)

My dad nods and goes, "Yeah. Hmm. That Jack Kirby--he was all right."

And that's when Amy chokes on her mashed potatoes. My dad is king of the understatement. So while she's coughing and my mom is looking confused, my dad starts to talk about how guy who *really* knew how to draw back then was Jim Steranko. I can't really argue with my dad's taste--Steranko was in fact the fucking man. I guess it's hard to convey how hilarious this was to us at the time.

But. Now whenever I think of Jack Kirby, I think of this.
posted by Tesseractive at 11:12 AM on April 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Man... what would Dragonspies be about?
posted by codacorolla at 12:00 PM on April 13, 2010


I guess that's the sort of question that answers itself.
posted by codacorolla at 12:00 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Kirby estate is suing Marvel, btw.

Heh, heh, heh. The copyright extension forces have always argued that what they were doing was to "benefit the families of the authors," but that makes no sense if they authors sold their copyright in perpetuity, and wouldn't benefit families at all. So they changed the law to say that after the copyright would have expired, they go back to the families.

Pretty funny to see Disney screwed by it's own laws.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on April 13, 2010


Ha! I'm taking an English class on "graphic storytelling" at the moment (quotes because it's actually all comics, all the time). Not three hours ago we finished our class on... the Fantastic Four! My professor will love this stuff, if he hasn't seen it already.
posted by MadamM at 12:25 PM on April 13, 2010


The Kirby estate is suing Marvel, btw.

I have to say, Marvel/Disney might have a point about "frivolous": "Mr. Kirby’s children accuse the company of depriving the Kirby estate of credit — and thus profits — from movies like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which took in $373 million at the global box office. Mr. Quinn dismissed this claim as frivolous."

What possible Kirby connection is there to a Wolverine movie? I can't think of a single character in there that Kirby had a hand in creating.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:15 PM on April 13, 2010


What possible Kirby connection is there to a Wolverine movie?

Cyclops, off the top of my head.
posted by empath at 1:30 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, he co-created the X-Men which is right there in the first word of the title, and according to IMDB, it includes Scott Summers and the Blob, whom Kirby co-created. But, yeah, going after Wolverine movie profits seems like weak sauce.
posted by Zed at 1:36 PM on April 13, 2010


I've got a DVD somewhere I got from DragonCon a couple years ago that's a long interview with Kirby done shortly before his death. It is awesome and amazing and unfortunately I seem to have misplaced it.

But that's a good thing, because if I could lay my hands on it right now it would never leave the player.
posted by JHarris at 2:23 PM on April 13, 2010


I was really pleased to stumble across this yesterday evening... I was curious about how much the writer of the article really means that the work has "never seen the light of day." Has this work never been published in Jack Kirby Collector magazine? (Yes, that's a real magazine)

In any case, the images were terrific. I find it interesting that the Golden Shield seems to have caught a few people's attention - that was the one I most wished would be real, too.
posted by Slothrop at 2:24 PM on April 13, 2010




Cyclops, off the top of my head.

Well, he co-created the X-Men which is right there in the first word of the title, and according to IMDB, it includes Scott Summers and the Blob, whom Kirby co-created.


Yes, yes, okay -- I'd like to throw myself on the mercy of the courts, on the grounds that that movie effing sucked and I completely forgot that there was that whole slew of gratuitous, terrible cameos.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:59 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dragonspies!
posted by Sparx at 3:05 PM on April 13, 2010


It's hard to believe that anything could be worse than the last two Fantastic Four movies, TBH.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on April 13, 2010


How about The Fantastic Four, artw?
posted by Gary at 3:19 PM on April 13, 2010


Even that. It's actually kind of entertaining in it's own way, for one thing. And given that they buried it as deep as they could it's not like theres any problem of setting expectations too high.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on April 13, 2010


Dragons who are also spies. Why didn't I think of that?

Also, BATTLE WHALE.
posted by Tesseractive at 5:45 PM on April 13, 2010


That saying, "A good artist sells their early work, a great artist burns it"?

That applies here. Regardless of when this stuff was produced.

Now I will have to figure out some way to forget I ever saw it.
posted by humannaire at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2010


Also, Ruby-Spears? Marty-Krofft [no official website]? Ouch.
posted by humannaire at 8:11 AM on April 14, 2010


Artw, Thanks for the follow-up to the Comics Alliance read, as well!
posted by Slothrop at 9:37 AM on April 14, 2010


Hmm. You could maybe make an argument that Kirby's 80s work, including The Hunger Dogs, lacks a little of the exuberance of his work prior to that, on the other hand as a Heretic you must die.
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on April 14, 2010


Heh. Guess it's a good thing I nixed that comment I started writing last night linking to the Secret City Saga and asserting that it wasn't necessarily a tragedy that not every Jack Kirby character design came to fruition.
posted by Zed at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2010


It's kind of funny, the Warriors of Illusion and Dragonspies almost look like Frank Quitely's work.
posted by the biscuit man at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2010


Reminds me of a scene in Alan Moore's Supreme in which he meets the Creator of his universe, which is a disembodied head that is pretty much Kirby. It's an amazing scene. Seriously, anyone who likes Moore who hasn't picked up his two Supreme graphic novels is missing out on Moore's absolute best work ever.
posted by WCityMike at 3:25 PM on April 15, 2010


In a parallel universe, which sadly only exists inside my brain, the American auto industry tried to turn their declining fortunes around by having Jack Kirby design all the new models. It didn't work, as a vehicle the size of a house, made entirely out of polished steel and powered by a nuclear reactor turned out to be difficult to park anywhere convenient.
posted by Grangousier at 3:47 PM on April 15, 2010


The Mountain of Judgment!
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on April 15, 2010


Jack Kirby and the Radium-Age
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on April 20, 2010




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