Tuesday, 6 May 2014


It started with JACK KIRBY's 1976 treasury-sized illustrated
adaptation of STANLEY KUBRICK's movie, based on ARTHUR C.
CLARKE's novel, 2001:  A SPACE ODYSSEY.  It then continued in a
regular comicbook series which introduced MISTER MACHINE, who
later went on to star in his own magazine entitled MACHINE MAN.  At
least, that's the READERS' DIGEST version, but, strictly speaking it's
not entirely accurate.  Clarke and Kubrick worked on the novel together
(based on various short stories by Clarke) at the same time the movie
was being made, but wasn't published until shortly after its release
in 1968 - with Clarke named as sole author.

Kirby's adaptation incorporated elements from both the book
and the movie, so he'd obviously read the novel, but what you may
be wondering is - whose idea was the adaptation, Jack's or Marvel's?
After all, the movie was eight years old - not a recent blockbuster hit that
was likely to generate much interest in spin-off merchandise.  Was this yet
another sign of just how out-of-touch Jack was with reader's tastes?  Ten
issues - in which the last three completely changed direction - proves
conclusively that the mag failed to generate much of a following
amongst the assembled masses of Merry Marvel Madmen.

Or was it Marvel who had misjudged the potential?  Doubtful.
I'm led to believe that doing the adaptation was a condition that Jack
negotiated with Marvel, who agreed in order to get him to sign on the
dotted line.  Licence fees for movie adaptations aren't cheap, but Marvel
must have figured it was worth it to get him to rejoin the fold.  It was the
Bullpen equivalent of slaying the fatted calf upon the return of the
prodigal son.  The 'King' was back - but not for long, alas!

However, all that is now history - and what we're interested
in is what was then the future.  So let's all go on an odyssey of our
own, as we look at the covers and splash pages of one of Jack's
shortest-lived Marvel monthlies from the sizzlin' '70s.

Part Two coming soon!


joe bloke said...

I was a big fan of Jack's 2001, right up until Miracle Man, which just didn't interest me. I still think it's the best thing he did after he returned to Marvel.

Kid said...

One of the shortest, too - just pipping Devil Dinosaur by one issue. I'd have preferred to see another inker who covered some of Jack's weaknesses - and another scripter, come to that. Mike Royer's not to blame - he was only giving Kirby what he wanted - but at this stage in Jack's career, undiluted Kirby was perhaps just a bit too much.

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