Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love
Unpublished ‘70s Stories by the King of Comics!
Review by KC Carlson
Somehow this amazing book from TwoMorrows managed to literally slip through the cracks between what’s laughably known as my desk and a wall — until I was reminded that I hadn’t read or reviewed it yet. After finding it, I was ashamed that I had misplaced this incredible (and fun!) look at Kirby’s odds and ends from DC Comics that hadn’t been collected yet. I appreciated seeing a side of Kirby that we didn’t often see.
Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love is broken into three main sections:
True-Life Divorce — An abandoned newsstand magazine that was “too hot for its time!”, reproduced here from Kirby’s original pencil art. As a treat, long-time Kirby Kollaborator Mike Royer was commissioned to ink one of the stories! Don’t miss out reading Mark Evanier’s humorous (but ultimately sad) tale of how this potentially interesting “sophisticated” romance title unraveled before Kirby (and Evanier’s) eyes.
Dingbats of Danger Street — Kirby’s final “kid gang” team, the Dingbats of Danger Street originally appeared in DC Comics’ 1st Issue Special #6 by Kirby, inked by Mike Royer. Little did most of us know that Kirby also completed two additional issues of the series that were left unpublished by DC. Guess what! They’re both here! One was also inked by Royer, and another was inked by D. Bruce Berry to give Royer a much-needed break. Rumors persist in editor John Morrow’s text piece that work for issue #4 and #5 may exist. If true, that would be totally Dingbat!
Soul Love! —- This is the longest section of the book, which focuses on the unseen ‘70s romance comic. A 32-page glossy section (presumably) presents what the first issue may have actually looked like -— including mock-ads for KOOP cigarettes, a reminder to register to vote, and an ad (with a clip-out coupon) to order the other Kirby mags from the era: In the Days of the Mob and Spirit World.
The actual comics stories in the color section are “Fears of a Go-Go Girl Can Come True!”, “Diary of the Disappointed Doll!”, “Dedicated Nurse!”, and “Old Fires!” Another story (presented in black & white, presumably intended for a subsequent issue) is “The Teacher” with inks by Vince Colletta and Tony DeZuniga.
Also included in this hardcover are editor John Morrow’s in-depth thoughts on why these projects were never published (until now), Jerry Boyd’s examination of Soul Love (with “surprise artistic guest” Alex Ross), Dingbats concept art and un-inked pencils, and introductions and an afterword by Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman, Kirby’s assistants in the 1970s.
Of course, the comic stories included in jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love are fascinating, but what kept me glued to the book were the stories about the history of these unique projects. Many of comics’ best historians (storytellers of a different kind) contributed to this book, one way or another, making this book even more appreciated, at least by me. Excellent work, everybody!
(The publisher provided a review copy.)