- Posted by Johanna on January 13, 2006 at 9:13 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Jack Kirby and others
- PUBLISHER: Marvel; $29.99 US
This handsome, oversized hardcover claims that it “collects the highlights of Kirby’s distinguished Marvel career”. It certainly seems comprehensive, with the first Captain America story, some monster tales, mid-60s Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four and Thor stories, and later 70s pieces that Kirby both wrote and drew.
Unfortunately, the table of contents is missing two crucial types of information. It doesn’t have page numbers, making it difficult to find one of the 24 stories directly, and more importantly, it doesn’t tell the unfamiliar reader just why these particular stories were collected. There’s notes on five of the pieces on the front jacket flap, but aside from a one-page introduction by Greg Theakston, there’s no text material in the book proper, a noticeable lack.
The first story in the book (Kirby’s first work for Marvel) is an inspired combination also written by Kirby, blending fears of a Hitler-like dictator, the plans of the Roman gods, and a beautiful female spy. Ideas come fast and furious, with almost more than the pages can contain. The book also contains the origins of the Hulk and the Rawhide Kid, the story where the Avengers discover Captain America, four FF issues (beginning with the introduction of Galactus), a Sgt. Fury story, and a couple of in-jokes with Stan Lee and Kirby as comic characters.
Thankfully, the reproduction is much better than on some of Marvel’s other historical reprint projects. It’s a pleasure to see such a comprehensive gathering of Kirby’s work, much of it from before his art became a brand name style. This is a fascinating overview of one of the giants of 20th century comics.