Saturday, January 05, 2013

Kirby, Kirby, and Kirby.

Soon, I'm going to write about the comic whose cover is pictured here. It was the final chapter of a four-part series in FANTASTIC FOUR. It was all Kirby. It was classic Kirby. Everything that Kirby was about is tied up in this neat and fantastic story.

However, I'm not going to write about the books and story arc in any detail, because I still need to add some of the issues in that arc to my collection. To do the essay now I'd be going on pure recollection, and I want to read it all fresh, in the original format that Kirby intended it to be read.

Give me a few weeks.

FANTASTIC FOUR #93. The last part of the "Slave" story arc that Kirby plotted, wrote, and illustrated. It's without doubt my absolute favorite Jack Kirby story. I loved everything about it when I was a kid, and it holds up today and is as powerful as it was when first published. Kirby all the way. No co-creator. Just Jack Kirby writing and penciling, Frank Giacoia inking, Artie Simek lettering, and the publisher's nephew editing.


Kirk G said...

I remember this arc (#90-93) well. It's the last gasp of creativity on Kirby's part, as there's a mandate against continued stories that "hits" next issue. It starts off rather unusually in #90, as we aren't sure why someone is luring Ben away from the others, and the first issue gives no indication of the circumstances of the arena nor the gangsters, nor anything else. But I agree that Kirby had fun with this arc, as if he's "going home" and the last big group hug is somewhat symbolic as well. Not what you would expect from Ben Grim.

James Robert Smith said...

Yeah, the way the story begins is unique in Kirby's work. At first, the rest of the group don't even know that Ben is gone or is in danger. And the fact that someone like Grimm could even BE in danger was amazing to me.

He played the story brilliantly. I've never forgotten it.

From what I've read, the problems began for Kirby with the HIM story arc that he did back in FF 66-67. Lee rewrote the dialog and totally fucked it up, ignoring Kirby's notes and the direction of the story.

The fact that Kirby could still have something like the Slaver arc in him and was willing to do it for Lee/Goodman is amazing. It was his last big shout-out for his time at Marvel.

Kirk G said...

I recall a comment or two that Kirby had two TV influenced arcs in the FF. First came the Prisoner inspired Latvaria adventure (#84-87) and then the Skrul Slaver arc (#90-93) heavily influenced by "A Piece of the Action" from Star Trek. Except for Agatha Harkness's debut in #94, this was the last original creation by Kirby in the FF run. Just as an asside, I have always felt the two part Mole Man house story in #88-89 was absysmal. Poor art, bizare shapes for a "house" and a story that really didn't "go" anywhere. Why did Moley build a "house" in central park anyway? Just a stinker, IMHO.

James Robert Smith said...

Kirby had to write and illustrate several titles per month. Think about it. I wouldn't even want to TRY doing that. He had a family to support and worked his ass off for them, and created more pleasure for kids than any of us could dare to hope to create.

So, yes, not everything he wrote and created was worth our time.