Friday, 31 July 2015


Image copyright DC COMICS

"KIRBY'S HERE!" screamed the cover blurb, but it was mainly
magazine, as their faces (and Superman's figure) were mostly redrawn
to render them more 'on-model' than JK had drawn them.  I sometimes
suspect that the only reason DC lured Jack away from 'The House Of
Ideas' was more to do with them thinking it would damage MARVEL in
some way, rather than because they really wanted him.  Why else would
they seemingly seek to sabotage his work by diluting the full 'Kosmic
Kirby' effect?  It's like hiring MICHELANGELO and then getting
him to creosote your garden fence.  Despite the interference, Jack
managed to shine during his tenure at DC, but nowhere near as
brightly as he had shone at Marvel, alas.    


Colin Jones said...

For me Jack Kirby will always be associated with Marvel - not just the FF, Thor etc but also the later stuff like The Eternals and Devil Dinosaur. I've never read any of his DC work and I'd never heard of The Forever People till now.

Kid said...

What? You mean you've never seen the cover gallery of all 11 issues elsewhere on this blog? You haven't been paying attention, CJ. Either that, or you've been spending too much time on other (lesser) blogs (he said, modestly).

B Smith said...

Mark Evanier's interview with the Comics Journal way back in the dark ages pretty much confirmed your suspicions about DC's reasons for wanting Kirby.

Graham said...

I actually came of age with comics while Kirby was at DC, through Kamandi, Mister Miracle, The Losers, and The Demon. The Forever People, New Gods, and his run with Jimmy Olson were pretty much over before I got into them. I later backtracked and found out about the FF, Thor, and the rest of the Marvel Universe. Though I prefer the Marvel work pre-DC, I enjoyed his DC work, too. I've picked up most of his Fourth World series since then and it's amazing how much of it is still in use now, even though TPTB had no use for it at the time.

Kid said...

Thanks, BS. I'm not sure that Mark Evanier has ever expressly stated that ('though I could be wrong), but his accounts of how Kirby was treated at DC certainly seem to suggest it.


I think the reason that Kirby's stuff is still being used at DC is for two reasons. First - it's Kirby, and people now accord it a lot of respect just for that (whether it's intrinsically good or not). And second - nostalgia! A lot of the writers who reintroduced Jack's characters back into the DCU had read the Fourth World stuff as kids or teenagers and wanted to relive their youth by reviving Kirby characters. The Forever People recently ended a 9 issue run (a premature ending) because it was underwhelming and not enough people bought it. It doesn't seem to matter how many times DC bring back the characters, they never really last for long in their own mags.

TC said...

Somehow, I just never could get interested in Kirby's Fourth World series. They all seemed to be trying too hard to be...whatever the term would have been circa 1970. Hip, hep, cool, groovy, with it, far out. Something along those lines.

I suspect that hiring Kirby was part of a conscious effort to emulate Marvel, and to appeal to older readers. (Charlton may have had a similar plan when they hired Ditko for Blue Beetle and the Question.) Probably not adults, but maybe teenagers. My impression has always been that, before 1968, DC was aiming at pre-adolescent kids (about 7-12 years old), and that Marvel was aiming at adolescents.

I think the New Gods and Forever People might have worked better as guest stars; they just didn't seem to be able to support their own series. And the "war of the gods" might have worked better as a serial or story arc in Justice League (like the Kree-Skrull war in The Avengers) or as a stand-alone mini-series, than as the premise for an ongoing series.

Kid said...

Yeah, I've always thought the New Gods and Forever People would've worked better as supporting characters, TC. Mister Miracle was really the only character potentially worthy of a mag of his own, if the Fourth World aspects had been played down - as happened later in the run.

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