"Dean Haspiel pays homage to the King — and Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente scripted podcast King Kirby…"
Check out the new trailer for "King Kirby" (shot by Kenny Wong) and some heartfelt things I said about the late, great Jack Kirby at 13th Dimension!
Growing up in the upper west side of Manhattan reading comic books off newsstands in the 1970s, I found an off-beat Captain America and The Falcon by Jack Kirby. It was bizarre. Looked like Disco and Picasso and The 4:30 Movie stapled together. I soon discovered comic shops and came upon a treasure trove of prime Kirby comics from the 1960s. They melted my mind. It's sixty years later and nothing has come close to that era of ideas since.
As evidenced by our American mythology, Jack Kirby was a force of nature. Kirby's iconic characters, designs, and hyperbolic yet human stories raised the art of imagination to cosmic levels. I became an emotional student of Kirby's sensibilities which inspired my own work, especially The Red Hook. A deeper dive into Kirby's catalog made me conclude that a lot of his concepts were the fallout of World War 2 PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) coupled with the struggle for creator rights. In a weird way, Kirby's superheroes were semi-autobiographical.
Kirby's Nazi-punching, one-man army's were miracles of mankind but I believe his auteur-oriented gods, gangsters and misunderstood monsters were more heroic than his designated heroes. And, yet, I can't think of a more classic Kirby co-creation than Ben Grimm aka The Thing of The Fantastic Four. A jock/pilot transformed into a grotesque golem against his will. And he decides to clobber crime despite public humiliation. Jack Kirby's pop culture paradigm shifting Marvel collaborations with Stan Lee were probably my favorite comics.
Van Lente and Skillman's play beautifully crystallizes Jack Kirby's awesome yet heartbreaking career into a theatrical masterpiece that also serves as a cautious fable to all future story-makers.