Tuesday, 6 May 2014


So far, my previous post on 2001:  A SPACE ODYSSEY
has generated the same level of interest as the comicbook - not
very much.  I assume that sales of the Treasury Edition adaptation
were okay, otherwise it's highly unlikely that MARVEL would've
green-lit the monthly mag, but the series itself seems to have
seriously under-performed to last only ten issues.

Sadly, JACK KIRBY's name no longer had the same kind
of pulling-power' it once did.  True, the die-hard Kirby fans were
as rabid as ever, but the wider comics-reading public remained less
than impressed by Jack's later output.  He was like an old-time ball-
room dancer at a disco, in that he seemed curiously out of  step with
what the comics-buying public preferred.  That's not to say that his
mags were without any kind of merit, only that Kirby was now
a sideline squatter rather than a mainstream maestro.

However, don't let that deter you from enjoying these 'last
gasp' gyrations of a giant of the industry.  He may have been fast
falling out of favour and fashion, but remember the old saying -
"You can get many a nasty sting from a dying bee!"

And below is the front and back cover of the Marvel Treasury
Edition movie adaptation that started the ball rolling.


joe bloke said...

I long ago shifted the comics ( long story ), but I still have the Treasury Edition, which I sometimes drag out for a flip through ( in them moments when, you know, only a quick burst of Kirby goodness will do. . . ). I might give the Eternals another spin, now, I think.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, your previous post might not have got much attention because you create new posts so fast sometimes that it's hard to keep up - I've only just turned on and seen it. This whole adaptation of 2001 and the comic completely passed me by at the time but I loved Kirby's work - you are about seven years older than me and maybe that affected how you saw Kirby as opposed to us younger readers ? I admit all that Captain Victory stuff was rather ropey but that wasn't Marvel so I don't care. I was listening to "The Sentinel" recently on the radio which was the original short story which led to 2001. In the year 2001 Radio 4 had the novel as Book At Bedtime and in that the crew travelled to Saturn, not Jupiter like in the film. My father died in 1999 and about two months before he died we were watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on Channel 4 - my dad was so bored he said furiously "I'm never watching this again !!" - well, he got that right !

Kid said...

I mean to re-read The Eternals myself, Joe. Recently re-read the Annual, but it was a bit of a chore, to be honest. I'll give 2001 another go too, when I get the time.


I suppose it's hard to make an interesting adaptation out of a boring movie, CJ - even for Jack Kirby. I bought a cassette tape of the soundtrack back in the '70s (which I still have) and enjoyed that. I don't think it's because I'm older than you that I'm not so keen on '70s Kirby, I think it's just that he wasn't as good then as he'd been in the '50s and '60s. See how fair I am? I'm comparing him with himself, nobody else.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Never liked "2001" but did pick up quite a few issues - it was always one of the books left on the spinner racks back in the day so I eventually ended up picking them up waiting for the next batch of new US comics to arrive - however I do think it contained some of Kirbys better art from this period - As you may recall I was a fan of his Eternals comics at the time (along with Black Panther - so underrated imho)so enjoy (saying that not re read Kirbys Eternals since I was a teenager so it cold be nostalgia|) Sad to read about Dick Ayres one of the Marvel "originals" not many of the artists and writers of the 60s early 70s left now - time moves on and all that

Kid said...

McScotty, I have the first two or three issues of Black Panther, so may do a short post on them one fine day. As alluded to above, my problem with Kirby's art is that I preferred Wally Wood, Vince Colletta, Joe Sinnott, or Dick Ayers inking him. Out of his later inkers, Mike Royer was certainly the best, but he was instructed to be as faithful to Jack's pencils as possible, which at that stage in his career, didn't always do him any favours. Interestingly 'though, as I was scanning these pages, it did strike me that they looked not too bad at all. (Just not as good as earlier in his career 'though.) Incidentally, there was an Eternals Omnibus issued a few years ago, if you no longer have the original issues and would like to re-read the series.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, one thing I think is quite strange is how different Kirby's art looked at different times - in the early Marvel days his figures all looked quite thin for example but by the mid-sixties they were all muscle-bound, even Reed Richards. And in the mid-Seventies they looked different again with that shiny sci-fi look to everything. It all seems quite a big change over a short period of time - well, it seems like a big change to me anyway.

Kid said...

At some stage in the mid-to-late '60s, the size of original pages was reduced, meaning that Jack had to draw smaller than previously. Some people tend to think that was the start of the deterioration in the quality of Jack's work, and it may well be true. Over time, his figures became more 'blocky' and less graceful, which was probably also as a result of him having to produce a certain amount of pages per month. Another important factor is the inkers that were assigned to Jack's pages; some disguised and diluted some of the more idiosyncratic qualities of his art, later ones inked it as it was on Jack's instructions. Alas, it seems that he wasn't always the best judge when it came to deciding what best-suited his artwork and scripting.

Andrew kerr said...

I remember seeing the splash page in the issue of FOOM that announced 'Jack' s Back!'. It looked incredible then but I never got the treasury edition until much later due to the usual distribution issues. I did find #1 of the regular mag and it was really disappointing. Have a fair few of them now as I've a bit of a late era Kirby fascination. A bit like those people 2 who stop and stare at car crashes. ..

Kid said...

Kirby's art is always interesting to look at, Andrew, but not always for the right reasons. (Ever seen his Prisoner splash page?) I didn't realise I had all ten issues of 2001 'til I started to write the first post. That's to say, I knew I had ten issues, but I didn't know they were the complete run.

John Pitt said...

I didn't bother with this comic, even though I loved the covers, because the movie had left me completely bewildered. But now, after reading the splash pages on these 2 posts, I regretnot buying them.

Kid said...

I don't think it'd be too expensive to acquire reading copies on eBay, JP. Might be worth a look.

vwstieber said...

The 2001 Treasury is one of the best things Kirby did when he returned to Marvel, IMHO. I find the artwork visually stunning and the large format does wonders to let his epic splashes breathe.

The series is (I think) fascinating, with its self-contained stories thinly linked by a common thread. In some ways, it feels like a continuation of his OMAC in structure. It grapples with psychological issues such as isolation, love, loneliness, belonging, anger, fear, self-realization, etc. I don't know how much that reflects Kirby's emotional state of mind at the time (I hesitate to make inferences), but for all their cosmicity* these stories feel humanier* than some of his other contemporaneous work.

*yeah, I made those words up. Sorry :)

Kid said...

If making up words was good enough for Lewis Carroll, WS, then it's good enough for us, too.

joe bloke said...

I am SO going to be using "cosmicity!"

Kid said...

Careful, Joe - it may be copyrighted. Personally, I think it should be 'cosmicisity'.

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