Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby

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.

Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby cover
Marvel Visionaries
Jack Kirby
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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.


4 Responses to “Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby”

  1. Scott Hassler Says:

    unfortunately, i have a hard time allowing myself to purchase marvel kirby reprints since they treated jack like shit at the end of his life and still refuse to give his estate a penny.

    at least stans getting his name back and a few million deserved dollars. but with jack gone there is no recompense for the man who virtually singlehandedly created 80% of the marvel universe.

  2. Wolf Trubshaw Says:

    WHAT ABOUT JACK?

    I got a seizure when I heard this book be announced. Far as I’m concerned even the last miserable shadow of a former true MARVEL COMICS died over ten years ago. How this company can still be the strongest player on the market will forever be beyond me.
    Anyone who buys this should buy a second copy to repeatedly whack against his forehead, while the first stays mint in a polybag.

  3. hostile17 Says:

    It’s true, Jack Kirby co-created some of the greatest Marvel properties but was treated horribly by them. Still, I would be remiss if I did not allow myself to read his wonderful, groundbreaking work, which is still being paid homage to by modern books like “Godland” God bless the king.

  4. Lew Newmark Says:

    Scott, Jack wasn’t the only artist that has gotten the short end of Marvel…Dave Cockrum was never given the credit he deserved for X-Men and was not even given a nod for any of the three X-Men movies. So, buy this edition for Kirby Work, and ignor the fact that Marvel just is not a class act.

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