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.


Chris Tolworthy said...

How did I miss this gem? I just posted a discussion of how every one of Kirby's last Fantastic Four stories was about him leaving, but I started at 98 because I missed this one. Superb work as usual.

Actually, as a fellow Kirby fan you might be interested in my new page: how all of Kirby's work form a single story:

This led me to my current obsession: trying to rescue Captain Victory from obscurity. If there as ever an under-appreciated Kirby book, Cap Vic is it. Here is my volumnous review thread, still work in progress:

Shar said...

Thanks, Chris! I'll take at the Kirbyverse and the Captain Victory links; I'm sure the commentary is fascinating (as usual).
And as I'm sure you're aware, next year, 2017, will be the 100th anniversary of the King's birth. It will be interesting to see what the comics world does.

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