HEY! KIDS! COMICS! : Jack Kirby’s 2001: A Space Oddysey : February 13th, 2008



I’ve been on a Jack Kirby kick lately. I just wrote a Kirby homage my friend Danno is going to illustrate for the Minicomics Dumptruck project (to be called Phenomenal Tangents), and it got me rereading some of the Kirby comics I had in the basement.

A lot of people love Jack Kirby the artist… a smaller group love Jack Kirby the writer. I like Kirby’s writing as much as his art… he is endlessly inventive and bizarre, if often more than a little incoherent. In addition to all his other numerous achievements, he made some of the most dreamlike comics of all time.

Much of his writing seems almost like he is doing a jam comic with himself… rather than seeing a clear big picture, he constantly changes direction, introducing whatever new idea or plot element catches his fancy to talk about and to draw. He writes like a cross of Ed Wood and Phillip K. Dick… inventiveness and surrealism drips from every page of his best work.

One of his best and least-recognized accomplishments I’ve seen is his interpretation of Arthur C. Clarke/Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddysey for Marvel Comics in the 70’s. Divorced from having a single protagonist or defining concept beyond the mysterious obelisk through the series, Kirby just goes nuts. I’ve only read random issues of it… however, I’m going to download it and read the whole thing because both The Cross-Eyed Cyclops just posted it (here and here). This is highly unlikely to get reprinted, I think, since it is tied to the 2001 franchise. Don’t miss it.

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