Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kirby: King of Comics

This is not a review but an unabashed plug. When Jack Kirby’s friend and former assistant Mark Evanier, the acknowledged expert on all things Kirby, writes a book about his mentor it is, for all intents and purposes, review-proof. If you’ve ever loved anything about comics and comic book art, just buy it now. The form as we have come to know it simply would not have existed without Kirby. I've just finished enjoying a loaner copy of the brand new book, KIRBY: KING OF COMICS. This impressive coffee table volume details the story of the tough street kid who quickly developed an innate sense of dynamic storytelling through art and whose imagination grew by leaps and bounds to the point where it literally had no end! Aliens, Gods, heroes, monsters and worlds beyond worlds!

Straightforward in spots and anecdotal in others, the text is all just a warm-up for Evanier’s still-upcoming in-depth biography of Kirby. What this book is really about is the artwork! Oversized, incredibly detailed reproduction lets you see all the pencil lines and white paint and paste-ups on both classic and previously unpublished illustrations. KIRBY: KING OF COMICS is a pure celebration of its subject and while long-time fans have seen and read some of this before, it’s great to see it done up so nicely in a mainstream book targeted not at the fan market but at "real" bookstores! So much of our pop culture today has been inspired by Kirby in one way or another, it's about time the general public got to know him! Bravo, Mark! Jack would be proud!

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