ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jack Kirby! Happy March!

Let me start off this entry by saying I think Jack Kirby is one of comics true greats. His work is powerful and epic, and he was sincerely one of the nicest and most humble giants on the comics planet.

I couldn't appreciate Jack's unique approach to anatomy and women when I was a kid-- despite the efforts of fellow cartoonist and good friend Dave Gordon to convince me otherwise (Dave did manage to introduce me to the equally genius work of Will Eisner though).

I did always like the look of Mr Miracle. I thought the character design was really interesting and the idea of the ultimate escape artist and with ties to one of my boyhood comic heroe's Jim Steranko how could I not like him?

I tried reading MM in his own comic, but it was tied in to Kirby's Fourth World Saga which looked too bizarre for me so I never really got into it. The closest I came was following Kirby's work on THE DEMON which was yet another interesting design, but he spoke in ryhm which can get REALLY annoying after a while.

Flash forward a few years and DC Releases a series of Fourth World Kirby books collected in various editions-- I'm excited and I buy them sight unseen only to find them horribly reproduced in Black and White with grey tones! Ugh!

I have no problem with black and white art- in fact I normally prefer it-- but Kirby's work was so energetic and bright I felt we were really being robbed of something important here.

Now DC Presents the FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS series-- printed on comic book like paper so the color is great-- just like you remember it-- and in a size that isn't so ridiculous (see the Spider Man omnibus) that you can't even read it! I love these, but what about the stories?

I'm less than six issues into volume one and I have to say, these are possibly some of the dumbest comics I've ever read. In fact I'd go so far as to say these are what gave comics a bad name in the first place. Take Flippa Dippa for instance-- he's a character in the Newsboy Legion in Jimmy Olsen's book-- and he dresses like a Frogman 'cause that's his specialty-- he also refers to himself in the third person, just like the movies Tarzan so when the group's in trouble Flippa goes charging (in his flippers mind you) yelling things like "Flippa Dippa loves a good fight!"

He remains in his full frogman gear throughout the day. (Flippa Dippa sure is hot in here! Flippa Dippa must smell like week old carp in here!)

And he's not even the dumbest character in the lot-- there's Scrappy-- who looks more like he should be chasing kids for their Lucky Charms than running with this lot-- and Superman himself who seems very confused by everything that's going on around him. It doesn't help that DC ordered Murphy Anderson to redraw all the Kirby faces on Superman and Jimmy Olsen to conform to DC Standards at the time, it just makes it all the more surreal.

I'm going to stick it out with these, in fact I just ordered Volume Three because I'm a glutten for punishment and these books have such a good reputation that they just have to get better.

Andy Fish will let you know if they do.