Can Lots of Reprints Be Too Much of a Good Thing? Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom Back in Print

I find my attention torn lately. I want to explore exciting new comics being created by young creators, but so many past works can now be found so easily that it’s difficult to know where to spend my time. For instance, I got this press release from Titan Comics, announcing a reprint of The First Kingdom due at the end of the month.

The first in a series of Homeric, post-apocalyptic graphic novels, following the vein of a futuristic, post-civilization The Odyssey or The Iliad! Author Jack Katz began his illustrated magnum opus in 1974, creating an epic tale that still awaits its unbelievable conclusion — published exclusively by Titan!

After nuclear armageddon devastates the Earth, the survivors become playthings of resurgent ‘gods’. As civilisations rise and fall, as loves and lives are lost, the future of humanity will be won by uncovering the secrets of the past. The First Kingdom is presented here in a complete collectors’ library for the first time, replete with cleaned and restored art taken from high-resolution scans of the original art pages, and completely relettered throughout.

First Kingdom panel by Jack Katz

I went looking for some sample art and found this detailed writeup of an earlier reprint version. The dense style, particularly the narrative captions and Heavy Metal-style nudity, suggests it’s not for me. While I’m glad works from different eras, ones without the greater acceptance of the comic medium we have today, are becoming available again, I want to know that they’ve also aged well, that they are readable today for more than historical reasons. Although in this case, retlettering is mentioned, the allusion to still waiting for conclusion is off-putting.

It used to be that only the very best comic works were collected and kept in print, so a book spine was a sign of quality. Now, so much more is available that it’s not as easy to be selective. It requires more work from the reader to be sure that they’re buying works suited to their tastes, and sheer age isn’t the only determinant. We live in a golden age for comic reprints, but every silver lining has its cloud.

One Response to “Can Lots of Reprints Be Too Much of a Good Thing? Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom Back in Print”

  1. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    i ordered this first volume, but more because i remember as a kid seeing this advertised in the Bud Plant catalogs and in TBG and being intrigued by it. The earliest issues never seemed to be in print, and I wanted to start at the beginning, so this gives me that chance. I expect it to be decently drawn, but pretentiously overwritten – similar to Don McGregor’s work.




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