Back in 2008, Kirby: King of Comics was released to much fanfare and it was warranted: featuring amazing presentation, old-school style paper stock, and all the Jack Kirby artwork your eyes could handle and presented in large format so you could enjoy all those Kirby dots for all-time. Now, as we celebrate Kirby’s centennial, Abrams has re-issued this amazing book in a more affordable, compact paperback edition.
Jack Kirby created or co-created some of comic books’ most popular super heroes, including Captain America, The X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Mighty Thor, Darkseid, and The New Gods. More significantly, he created much of the visual language for fantasy and adventure comics. There were comics before Kirby, but for the most part their page layout, graphics, and visual dynamic aped what was being done in syndicated newspaper strips. Almost everything that was different about comic books began in the 1940s on the drawing table of Jack Kirby. This is his story by one who knew him well—Mark Evanier. First issued in 2008, Kirby: King of Comics was the first overview of the legendary comic book creator’s career. It is now available in a smaller, more affordable package, revised and expanded for Kirby’s centennial.
While quite a bit of the content is just carried over from the original release, there is some new artwork on the inside, and an extra chapter that fills in the gap of time since first published in 2008, covering the lawsuits and everything that has transpired with his estate in the past 9 years.
Personally, my favorite parts of the book are the ones that cover his time at DC Comics and his work on Jimmy Olsen and the creation of the New Gods and in my opinion, his most creative period. I know he was miserable there, from many accounts and as covered by writer Mark Evanier here, but for me, Kamandi, The Demon, Mister Miracle, and anything Forth World stands up to everything the man ever did while at Marvel Comics. I also enjoy just flipping through the book and admiring the work, this silly little hobby of ours was built on this man’s back, the weight of all that history contained right here in the pages. Kudos to Abrams for keeping the old school paper stock so it feels like flipping through some old school books.
If you do not have this book on your shelf already, pick this up. While not ground-breaking as far as unknown information goes, this is a great resource for people just discovering Kirby’s work and a great portrait of the man and his creations. Heck, even if you have the hardcover, get this edition. It is more portable and compact and you can enjoy Kirby anywhere. You can pick up a copy right here.
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