Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From the blueprint of the weird

This might be the best thing ever.

I have almost no tolerance for Kirby pastiche. Whenever I see people refer to GØDLAND as "Kirbyesque" I wince inwardly, even though the artist is an old chum from the Jack Kirby mailing list. The very word "Kirbyesque" or the term "Kirby as a genre" employed in the pages of The Jack Kirby Collector causes me pain. Even Rick Veitch doing his best Kirby just makes me shrug and go "yeah, cute, whatever" and put up with it. The only Kirby homage I've genuinely enjoyed is Doris Danger by the thoroughly wonderful Chris Wisnia. And now this.

Unlike the equally good Crime and Punishment by Dick Sprang pastiche by R. Sikoryak, this isn't a mashup intended to produce irony via the juxtaposition of incongruous source materials. At least, I don't think it is. These guys seem to get that Kirby's Fourth World genuinely is about personifying these inner drives and primal urges...and that Freud really does present psychoanalysis as a heroic struggle against vast power principles locked in Cyclopean conflict. Kirby and Freud were already speaking the same language anyway; Ryu and Hans Rickheit just pointed it out to the rest of us.

(Thanks to Matthew Brady for the link.)

Update: Among previous Kirby tributes, I forgot to mention I also liked the charming Donatello TMNT one-shot from 1986 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the entirety of which is available online.


  1. That was a very Kiryesque comment.

  2. I feel your pain. And whatever the irony, I always liked David Laskey's Boom Boom story of James Joyce's life as depicted by the King. Brendan McCarthy always worked well, too.

  3. Thanks, Joe, I really -- hey, wait a minute!

    Hey, Garrie! I've heard of the David Laskey story but have never seen it. Brendan McCarthy may use the occasional visual quotation from Kirby, but there's just as much Ditko and quite a bit of Carmine Infantino. Where a McCarthy or a Darwyn Cooke show the influence of Kirby is in saying "Hey, this comics page should have vitality! And energy! A comics page can show you something you've never seen before and would never see anywhere else!" Which turns out to be the exact opposite of trying to copy his style.

    I don't know if Rickheit was deliberately making a comment on slavish Kirby imitation by making every panel an obvious swipe...but even there, his artistic eye impresses me because the specific panels he chooses are pretty astute picks. But it was the writing that impressed me much more.

  4. NO matter what I still dig blogs like this. Anyone who apprectiates the comic art masters is OK in my book.In fact if you are freezing Yankees, y'all come down to Orlando FL and warm up!

  5. i do think that htere is a great deal of, and comment on, kirby here by way irony. Most of the time, people focus only on the easy to mimic part of Kirby, the foreshortening, and anatomy, the bombast in the writing, but truly getting to heart of Kirby is a lot harder. Those that get the art right are the creative ones, like Rude, who can get the right amount of goofiness when necesary, and the right amount of emotional weight to compliment the light stuff.


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