IDW have been producing their sumptuous oversized Artist Editions for some time now, but they can be a bit pricey for the average comic book reader. All I can do is look on, mouth agape, at these incredible tomes from afar. But, thanks to those pesky internet algorithms, I was given a recommendation based on my previous purchase that pleased me: an affordable Artist Edition, in the shape of IDW’s hardback faithful reproductions of The King’s pencils and accompanying inks (by Mike Royer, who also wrote the introduction for this book) from the first issues of Demon, Kamandi and OMAC from DC Comics.
And, while it’s been out for a while now, it may be something you haven’t heard of before. And, given it would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday this month, I thought it apt to shine a spotlight on this book.
Of course, what can I say that hasn’t been said about Kirby’s art and his impact on the world we love so much? So, rather than go over old ground, I thought I’d let some of the pages do the talking instead and add my own recollections of Kirby as an afterthought really.
He touched all of us in different ways, depending on your own point of entry into the man’s work.
For me, it was his later work, the work reproduced here. As a young child I didn’t know that Kirby (along with Stan Lee) created the Marvel Universe on on their own. But, what I did know was how his work on The New Gods, Jimmy Olsen, and the Super Powers storyline-supporting series–that was my entry point to his work– for DC (reproduced back in the 80’s by DC) stood out from the crowd. And, as I slowly learnt more of his influence on the superhero genre–and beyond–I felt that he was at his artistic zenith when he did come over to DC.
By then, he was being aped/appropriated/swiped by pop artists but also being discovered by a whole new generation of comic book readers such as myself. His style was emboldened and brash, jerky perspective and Kirby Crackling fizzing off the page. A page that could barely contain the creative energies Kirby was unleashing on such a frequent scale, even then.
For me then, this book is a treasure. A nostalgic, faithful reproduction of some of the King’s greatest artwork that also stands as an historical document of that era of comic book publishing. All thanks to the man himself having the foresight to be an early proponent of photocopying his pencils for posterity. I’m glad he did, aren’t you?
Jack Kirby Pencils and Inks is available now form IDW priced at $49.99. But, you can get if for a lot less, if you know where to look.