Captain America #203, 1976 “Alamo II”

Another day, another post! And another great one from the ‘King’! No matter how many times I see an image of Captain America drawn by Jack Kirby, it still gets me pumped up about the star-spangled Avenger! It’s true, and in this adventure, Cap is searching for Falcon and Leila Taylor. He finds them, but they don’t recognize him. We then get a brawl between Cap and Falcon, and the following pages are some more Kirby magic! One splash page in particular sticks in my head, never to leave! It shows a scene of enthralled people (including Leila and Falcon), some of them sitting on a stone wall. Just the atmosphere alone is incredible!

Throw in a cowboy (Texas Jack), a fire-breathing rock monster, and the machinations of the Inquisitor, top it all off with some Kirby crackle,¬† and you get more awesomeness from Kirby! This second coming for him on this title was quite refreshing, and it seems as though Kirby was really letting his creative freedoms flow right out on to the pages. Just look at these pages/panels, and I doubt you’ll disagree!

 

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Captain America #195, 1975 “It’s 1984”

Any time I get the chance to grab some of the work of Jack ‘King’ Kirby at a discount, I do not hesitate. After his departure from DC, Kirby returned to Marvel, and did some great work. He wrote and drew Captain America, Black Panther, The Eternals, and more. I recently bought two issues of his Captain America run from this era (1975-1977), and can honestly say that this is trippy, but great work. It’s not that the story is something never written before (it’s basically a social commentary on racism), but the way Kirby writes and draws it, is absolutely endearing. Of all the qualities I believe Kirby had as not only an artist, but as a man, this is why I love his work so much. A man who took himself from very little and used his God-given talents to become a giant of the industry (maybe only second to Will Eisner?), and through comic book art/stories gives someone like me hope that maybe someday, I can meet such apotheosis. Thank you, ‘King’ Kirby, for being an inspiration to me and scores across this planet! Image Image (28) Image (29) Image (30) Image (31)

Marvel’s Greatest Comics #49, 1974

You know, the early days of the Fantastic Four, showed that readers were yearning for a comic book with a familial aspect to it, as opposed to the regular superhero books. The great reprint series, “Marvel’s Greatest Comics“, is an incredible way to check out these classic stories individually, and not in trade. This specific issue, is a build up of sorts for the wackiness to really get into high gear in #50.

In this issue (#49, but originally presented in FF #66)) we get to see the cabal of scientists known as “The Enclave’, and we find out that they’ve kidnapped (sort of), Alicia Masters. The conversation between the characters in this issue is outrageous to say the least. Ben “clobbering” Reed, and knocking him unconscious over basically nothing other than Ben’s wallowing in self-pity…again. Sue still being treated like a second class citizen, and so on, is really crazy, and makes this book a funny read.

The artwork of course, was from Jack Kirby. And along for the ride was his trusted confidant, Joe Sinnott, the artwork just absolutely pops off of the pages. That’s why they call him the ‘King’ of comics! OK, let’s get down to business and enjoy some comic panels. Enjoy!

 

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Comics: The 1970’s Horror Explosion! Pt. 1

After those dreadful government hearings in the 1950’s about the comic book industry, the publishers decided to create an organization (The Comics Code Authority) that would oversee and approve of everything published. This stranglehold lasted until Lee, Kane, and Romita gave us “Green Goblin Reborn”, in 1971. This fantastic arc showed us the Osborn family, and their decent into madness. It also was a request from the government to show readers the dangers of drug use that prompted this story to be published. This helped relax the Comics Code Authority’s grip on what could and could not be shown in comics (from 1954 until that point- no Vampires, Werewolves, axe-wielding maniacs, drug use, etc., were allowed in comics, but Lee and Marvel decided to print the issues without the seal of approval).

People’s opinions vary, but it seems as if the Authority was created to more or less put EC Comics out of business. Why? Because they were the dominating force in horror/sci-fi comics, and nobody else could come close to doing what they were accomplishing. I haven’t personally read much of their content, simply because it’s very expensive, but from what I have seen (and heard from many people more knowledgeable than I), they were the best.

Marvel had given up doing horror books but did do a ton of stories that revolved around giant monsters and otherworldly beings from outer-space. These stories were created by giants like Jack ‘King’ Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. Some of them were reprinted in books like Chamber of Chills, Monsters on the Prowl, and Where Monsters Dwell, just to name a few. There was the arrival of other titles that contained some new material as well (Chamber of Darkness), and were not hardcore horror, but “sophisticated suspense”, as DC Comics would call such material.

So, without further delay, let me present some of the reprint work, along with some new material from Marvel Comics, from the late 1960’s and the 1970’s! Enjoy!

 

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The Invaders- My Jack Kirby Finale!

Instead of the usual one issue spotlight, I’ve decided to send off February and Jack Kirby with a bang! Here are four awesome covers by the ‘King’, on one of my favorite series, The Invaders! He did some splendid covers for this book, and with Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins on story and interiors, respectively, you couldn’t ask for a better team effort! So, thank you, Jack Kirby, for your monumental contributions to the comic book industry! Enjoy!

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Invaders#14

Invaders#15

Marvel Double Feature #21, 1977 (Originally Tales of Suspense #98 & 99, 1968)

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In this, the penultimate post of February, and of my month-long Jack Kirby tribute, I give you a gem of a story! Captain America versus the Black Panther! You’ve got to love superhero fights, as they are almost as cool as super villain fights! In these two reprints, Cap heads to Wakanda at the behest of the Black Panther, but when he arrives, he’s attacked by that very same hero! Moments later, T’Challa tells Cap that he attacked him to make sure he was the real deal, and not an impostor. Both men know there are some shenanigans going on in the jungle, so they leave to investigate. They find some crazy device, but it’s very heavily guarded. They manage to subdue just about everybody, but then a beautiful spy knocks them both unconscious with some energy weapon!

After Cap and Panther have been revived slightly, they are being held against their will, but by whom? It doesn’t take long for their tormentor to make his presence known. It’s the nefarious Baron Zemo, and he’s out for revenge against Cap, and also wants to take over the world or some nonsense. Can Cap and the Panther get loose in time to stop him? Who is this mysterious blonde super-spy that seems to be helping Zemo? You must read this story to find out!

This issue is one of those rare instances where you get such a variety of work from Kirby. The jungles of Wakanda, outer space, the Panther’s lair, and everything in-between! Yes, you really get to see Kirby at the height of his powers in this one, and as usual, you wont be disappointed! Enjoy!

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Marvel Spectacular #15, 1975 (originally Thor #144, 1967)

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With only a few more posts left in the month of February, I really want to go out with a bang! What better way to showcase the talents of Jack Kirby, then to show some classic Thor! Lets be honest, nobody was better at drawing Thor. John Buscema did a fantastic job, and probably is the only artist to come close or equal Kirby’s greatness on this character (Pollard, Coipel, & Frenz were also quite good).

In this great issue, Thor and the rest of the Asgardians are besieged by someone called “The Living Talisman”. This entity has a tremendous amount of magical powers, so much power, that he even has the audacity to face the mighty Odin himself! In the end, we see an all out brawl between the emissaries of The Living Talisman, Thor, Odin, Balder, and every other Asgardian that can fight! A backup story starring Thor and the Warriors Three¬† finishes off this fantastic issue!

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Marvel’s Greatest Comics #64, 1976 (originally FF #82, 1969 )

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So, here’s more greatness from the mind of Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Stan Lee. You can never get enough stories about the mighty Inhumans! In this crazy tale, Maximus the Mad, has gone off the deep end again, and he captures the Inhumans, and it’s up to the Fantastic Four to stop him, and rescue the Inhumans! These issues are really excellent, and Kirby does some of his best work in them! The inks of Joe Sinnott are good as well, and he definitely should get some love for his work on the FF as well! Take a look at some of the awesome pages! Enjoy!

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As you can see, the characters are looking great as usual, but look at Lockjaw, and the prison holding the Inhumans! Only ‘King’ Kirby could make something mundane like a cage look so fantastic and incredible. Of course, you can say that about almost everything he did, but for me, the Fantastic Four issues really stand out above everything else. The Eternals are a close second, but his Fourth World, and The Demon (Etrigan) are also quite good. Not to mention his X-Men, Avengers, monsters, Captain America…oh, you get the point!

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The Eternals #1, 1976

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You know something, Jack Kirby’s return to Marvel yielded some comics that most think are slightly odd, but if you look closely, you’ll find a real gem in The Eternals! This fantastic book only lasted nineteen issues (plus one annual), but it really set a tone for things to come in the Marvel Universe. My favorite story of all time, is one that involves the Eternals. The story is called “Thor: The Eternals Saga”, and it’s an incredible journey through the history of not just Thor, but the Eternals, and the Asgardians as well!

In this first issue, we see Ikaris, as he’s befriended two humans. The humans are researchers that are looking through ancient ruins for proof of life beyond the stars. With the help of “Ike Harris”, they find more than they bargained for, and might not survive to tell the story!

Checkout these awesome pages drawn by Kirby (inked by John Verpoorten). You really see his unique style on full display! Enjoy!

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Fantastic Four Annual #5, 1967

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In this fantastic story, you get to see the incredible Silver Surfer, the way only Jack Kirby could draw him! As the Surfer is flying around, taking in Earth’s beauty, he’s nearly shot by some duck hunters. He gives them a warning shot, and continues on his way. He then stumbles upon a computer, inside an abandoned laboratory, formerly a hideout for the Mad Thinker! Inside this normal looking computer lies a secret, and its name is Quasimodo! This creature was created with the sole purpose of destroying the enemies of the Mad Thinker. The Fantastic Four thwarted his plans, and the evil villain left the computer to rot. It’s kind of sentient though, and mentally cried out to someone. The Silver Surfer was passing by, and heard the cries for help.

Well, I wont spoil it, but needless to say that an evil genius conceived this computer, so when the Surfer helps it escape its prison, it’s not as grateful as one would hope. A battle at the rooftops of New York City, between the cosmic powered Silver Surfer, and Quasimodo, the living computer! My copy is from an issue of Marvel Milestones that includes one of the best Dr. Strange stories ever told as well! Enjoy!

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