I’m loving the writing so far. It cuts right to the chase without sacrificing any of its grandiosity.
Aye. I will admit to the writing plateaus, especially in the latter half of the tertiary titles, but Kirby gets the ball rolling immediately. I mean, The Forever People might be the least remembered of the Saga but the first few issues are easily the most iconic.
Kirby is at his best for me when it’s just raw imagination spilling out onto the page, so I don’t mind the writing being a little rough in places. I felt the same about Kamandi. You just have to go with it.
That’s the secret to enjoying and appreciating Jack Kirby. He was not a writer, but he had an extraordinary gift of creativity and imagination. He created/co-created a wealth of characters and ideas that are still popular today, and he was innovative in changing the comic book page from a static six-rectangle grid to splash pages and two-page splashes, using cropped photos to create montages that represented other dimensions or outer-space images, and other innovations that we take for granted now but that were mind-boggling when he introduced them in the 60s.
For anyone who hesitated over the Akira boxset due to its £100+ price, you can currently order it from Amazon US for around £75 including shipping to the UK (and you can either order through the Amazon UK product page or directly on Amazon.com).
The new Youngblood trade actually collects the entire arc despite reports of it only doing #1-5.
Alright, that’s a day one buy right after I get paid this weekend.
I reread Batman by Doug Moench & Kelley Jones Vol. 1 because I was so excited that Vol. 2 was just announced. Then I realized it isn’t coming out until August. But that just gives me an excuse to read Vol. 1 again next year. It’s one of my favorite runs. More than any other Batman comic, it gives me the feel of the 90s cartoon. The stories are simple, none more than 3-parts (with most being 2-parters), and Kelley Jones’s art is so expressive and cartoony without losing any of its noir and horror attributes.
I also read Deadman by Kelley Jones (written by Mike Baron), which was recently released. It collects Jones/Baron’s two Deadman mini-series and the Action Comics Weekly strip that began their collaboration. The middle story, Love After Death, is by far the best one, although Jones’s art is magnificent throughout. The opening strip is pretty weak, writing-wise, and has some pretty racist attempts at writing black dialogue. The last story also has a bizarre premise; it’s about Deadman using his powers to attack gay people because he has a repressed memory of molesting his twin brother as a kid. It’s a really stupid idea. I don’t know what Baron was thinking. Deadman doesn’t know he’s committing the hate crimes but the story is totally uncritical of how he links gay men with pedophilia. And with the pedophilia, it’s unclear what exactly Deadman did as a kid. It sounds from the dialogue that it might’ve been accidental but the story never says concretely what happened, which just adds to the confusion.
I don’t regret buying it because it has some of Jones’s best art, and Jones is one of my all-time favorites, but I doubt I’ll read the first and last stories again. The middle one, about Deadman falling in love with the ghost of an aerialist whose husband keeps her and the other members of the circus they ran together trapped on a farm, is pretty cool. It’s moody and tragic and just the right amount of silly.
I’ve got all my Moench and Jones batman issues in my mums loft - you’ve made me want to go over and clear it and take it all to my own house just to dig these out again.
I’ve fond memories, especially of Jones cape designs, he was a fantastic and utterly unique batman artist of that time - even though he’s clearly influenced by the likes of Wally Wood and those other EC and Creepy guys.
Love his art.
It’s about time, Chris; your mum has been waiting YEARS for you to finally clear your junk out of the loft!!
I’ve read all the Fourth World stuff in various formats over the eyars but I’m thrilled with this format and purchase. Well worth the money I spent.
I don’t want to get into a big thing here, but I strongly disagree with all those who label Kirby’s work as a writer primitive or subpar, somehow. There is so much careful, delicate character work and pathos in the pages. It is the complexity of these characters, and their relationships to each other and to themselves, that has made this an impossible sell to both audiences and to authors, as none of them have ever been able to capture that complexity (outside of Walter Simonson).
This was very much a precursor to Sandman, the real forerunner to that run in my mind.
I think in some respects it is very good (in terms of the concepts, the relationships, the names and so on). But from memory, the last time I read it (which was several years ago) I found that quite a lot of the text - captions and dialogue - was rather lumpen and clunky, and often superfluous given what was shown in the illustrations.
I’ll be interested to see whether my opinion has changed this time around.
Agreed. I’m not going to say that everyone has to love it, but there is an incredible amount of humanity and characterization in what would otherwise be just be grandiose filler that Kirby is able to work into it.
I mean, Orion and Lightray’s interactions are flowery…but it feels like a duet. And it’s something that recurs.
I dunno, I feel it has a lot of the poetry you see in Morrison’s work, and if soliloquies that externalize internal drama are by nature clumsy or off putting then surely Shakespeare is gutter trash.
I think modern readers are often conditioned into believing that one type of approach is the only kind of approach, that any deviation therefrom is a failure rather than a choice. Comics, though frequently adapted to it, was not built on modern melodrama. The New Gods is an expression of that older, universal Drama of Aeschylus and Euripides, those archetypal tendencies described in Aristotle’s Poetics. It’s the apoethesis of the whole Superheroic form I think, which has always tended towards mythology, with its endless characters, unconsumed by time or their own action, living in the never-ending-now.
Aye, I can’t really denote any one bit as being superfluous in terms of what is said or described. There are plots that I might rank lower, but not the internal content. As you put it - it’s very soliloquizing. Morrison tries to bring a melding of the two in his NG stuff, which I appreciate on re-reads but at times…I feel it clashes with the very modern stark style of dialogue as well that current characters are written in.
That’s why I loved this year’s Special so much. Felt more consistent.
Deniz, I cannot put this off any longer…
Will you marry me?
Before you ask, you should know I have baggage. 14 chicken children.
Just like in the old country.
I enjoy a fairly broad range of writing styles, and I’m a fan of Kirby’s work. But I don’t think that he’s beyond criticism, and - like a lot of writer-artists - I think his art is often stronger than his writing, and one can sometimes help to paper over the cracks of the other.
I’m not saying that any techniques are inherently bad or wrong, so hopefully you didn’t get that from what I posted. But just as Shakespeare proves that soliloquies that externalise internal drama can be wonderful, there are also writers who prove that writing soliloquies that externalise internal drama doesn’t automatically make you Shakespeare.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to rereading the Fourth World material again and seeing if I feel the same way about it this time as I did last time. Although it’s very good, and in some respects peerless, I don’t consider it as perfect a comics saga as some. But it may be that I revise my opinion upwards in the coming weeks.
I actually agree…I think if his writing was parsed down in the FW Saga then his art might feel mighty empty
I actually agree to an extent. The style of writing is partly what makes it what it is. I will enjoy rereading it with all this in mind.