Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jack Kirby's 97th Birthday

In honor of what would have been Jack Kirby's 97th birthday, let's take a look at--ahem-- Fantastic Four #97 (1970), one of the later Lee-Kirby collaborations from that comic's historic run. 

FF #97's  "The Creature From the Lost Lagoon!" features a sympathetic alien "monster" who adopts a human guise for much of the story.  To illustrate the obvious, check out these panels (l. and r.) of that human form:

FantasticFour97-LostLagoonFantasticFour97-MonsterFromLostLagoonJack King Kirby-MarvelComics

But check out these pages from Fantastic Four #97, Kirby-Giacoia art: 

To achieve freedom, he busts loose in true Kirby style.  

Was  #97 Kirby's way of expressing his dissatisfaction and frustration with the House of Ideas? As we know, less than 6 months later and as officially announced in Fantastic Four #102, the King left Marvel (though he'd return in 1975). Why was the alien silent in his human form? Did Stan notice the resemblance? 
Jack "King" Kirby  
August 28 1917- February 6 1994

If you'd like to read more of FF #97, you can purchase it from an online vendor or check your LCS, they may have this classic issue. Plus the story's been reprinted in Essential Fantastic Four Volume 5 and Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 10. 

By the way, when this same alien creature made another appearance a few years later in Fantastic Four #124-5, in the flashback scenes John Buscema drew the creature's human identity with a longer, ess stocky body instead of the more compact Kirby physique shown in #97.

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