Crackle

vol 97

Today comic enthusiasts celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the medium’s most prolific and creative contributor: Jack Kirby.
Born as Jakob Kurtzberg to a couple of austrian refugees he lived a life that demanded a certain hardening; from the regular fights in his neighborhood, the people who took offense with his jewish heritage to the events he witnessed as a reconnaissance officer in World War II. But all those things it seems have been repurposed into fuel for his creativity. You have to really work on yourself if you probably propose[1] this as a depiction of mankind after you took a trip through the madhouse of war:

The first time i heard about the King of Comics was in the editorial of a german Spider-Man comic; it was his obituary. And to my discredit i admit that i quickly read over the text, stuttered a short “I’m sorry for the loss.” and continued to read the next installment of Maximum Carnage.
Over the coming years i continued stumbling over Jack Kirby’s legacy but it took me a while to finally look up the man’s body of work; which made me realize why he was called “The King” by his peers (after the title publisher Martin Goodman gave himself, and got mocked for behind his back): his work ethic and creativity made him produce a massive amount of pages, he had his hands in the creation of romance comics and helped invent the visual language of modern superhero comics. Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Darkseid as well as the rest of the Fourth World pantheon, Etrigan, Kamandi, the Challengers of the Unknown, OMAC, Machine Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Avengers, the mighty Thor, the Eternals, Uatu the Watcher and Captain America are only a few of the figures that are still in use to this day; all of them played a role in my path through the world of visual storytelling.

But like many of the people who paved the way for modern comics his name isn’t the one on everyone’s lips. “Comics will break your heart.”[2] is a sentence of his that is uttered amongst the enthusiasts and pros alike. I hope it wasn’t the medium but the industry that caused his heartache[3], because i imagine this man sitting before his drafting table drawing and creating page after page, creating his legacy with a twinkle in his eye instead of constant resentment of his profession; because it would make feel the readers enthusiasm for his work like the crack of a whip.

[1] The Kirbymuseum website has a short article about it. [link]
[2] James Romberger was told by Kirby to put his art in galleries because the industry didn’t treat him very well. [link]
[3] One of the many articles on the web telling the troubled story of royalties and acknowledgement of their work. [link]
Further reading: a short story about the relationship between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; Citizen Conn by Michael Chabon

Thank You for Your time!
Stay Cosmic!

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[review] Mister Miracle no.1

“Of course this title was going to be his pick of the week no matter if it turns out to be a turd sandwich served with a glass of warm Natursekt.” is probably the first thought when i declare that Mister Miracle no.1 is my comic of the week. And that is true because i already enjoyed last weeks New Gods Special more than is warranted.

Jack Kirby’s creations, and the figures from his Fourth World in particular, all have an aura around them; an honesty that has become a mainstay in contemporary comics but even years after their first publication feels like nothing else.
And in the centennial of the King Of Comics DC-Comics publishes a continuation of one of the most beloved figures and the Fourth World he inhabits that evokes an almost equal buzz as when i read Mister Miracle’s premiere issue.

Of course, DC made sure this book would cause a wave by giving writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerards the keys to the Hot Rod that Grandpa built back in the day but Dad put a blanket upon because he did not get the time to continue the work (which is an elaborate metaphor for Grant Morisson’s work on the characters).

The comic opens with a facette that always was there in the beginning of Scott Free’s existence as the greatest escape artist there is, but twists it to the ultimate conclusion: only the best escape artist can built the ultimate trap for himself. But not only does the contraption put Mister Miracle in chains; the whole pantheon of the New Gods is trapped with him.
And as if that isn't enough to push against; Darkseid is.

But the story of this escape act would not work as well as it wasn’t for Mitch Gerards. He makes the characters stand out of their surroundings; gives them the boldness that is associated with New Gods and Forever People. But while Kirby gave us figures that feel like springs under permanent tension declaring their readiness to expand any moment by emanating the famous Kirby crackle, Gerards relies on their presence to instill the awesomeness of the figures.
He deepens the unrealiable nature of what we see on the page by working with distortions and in one instance even by placing pieces of adehsive tape on the page.

A downside to this issue is that a person that reads this issue without prior knowledge of the characters and their relations to each other and the larger DC-Universe could put it away with the thought of it being nothing more than DC trying to copy the “artsy fartsy” approach Tom King brought to the Vision or the Omega Men. But like with the two mentioned series, he examines an aspect of the character in his way, or in this case rather focuses on an ignored one: Scott Free was sent to a life of torture at the hands of Darkseid and Granny Goodness to secure a peace treaty that only was honored until it afforded Darkseid to further his power.

While i am counting the days until the second issue is officially released (September 13th) the sentence above presents the biggest stone in the way of this title to become more than just a Kirby acolyte’s favourite contemporary comic. But the events unfold in the broader continuity of the DC Universe, and when Darkseid is mentioned there is more at stake than just the city a hero is located at.

Mister Miracle no.1
published by DC-Comics
written by Tom King
art by Mitch Gerards
lettered by Clayton Clowes

[read] The Omega Men tpb (2017)

With the Tom King train on full speed, i decided to check out Omega Men, which i ignored during it’s publication in single issues.
That title left me devastated, like any other King title, but the path to that final punch in the nuts is a fascinating one. The lines that are usuaally drawn in heavily pigmented black ink isn’t clearly defined, and in the middle of the fog of war is Kyle Raynor; trying to navigate the grey zone as well as possible.
The artwork further drives the point across that no one in this comic is acting out of true altruism. Everything seems to have taken a short bath in a black wash that won’t come off.

[read] Kamandi challenge No.1 (2017)

Kamandi_Challenge_no1_2017

Great idea: twelve different artists/writer teams write an installment each month, leaving the cliffhanger to be solved by the next team. In the next issue the team from the preceding issue will write their idea of the conclusion for their cliffhanger in the letters section.
I don’t buy the paragraph about DC not being able to settle on a team for an ongoing.
That aside, i dug the issue. Picks up a lot from the classic first issue, Giffen and Eaglesham are doing their best to honor the King while retaining their styles while the story moves at a rather fast pce for our decompressed age.

linked up vol.5

Friday, time to share some links. Some i do comment, some not. Some lead to german internet presences.

# 15-Second Reviews of All the Movies We Saw at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

# 2 New Uchu Sentai KyuRanger Promo Videos Online!
Oh, it’s that time of the year again. I get so used to the current Super Sentai or Kamen Rider show that i forgot that they only run for a year. As much as i dig the current show, Zuohger, those promo clips are looking good.

# Meet Saccorhytus, bloblike human ancestor that shat through its mouth

# Ben Affleck Steps Down as Director of ‘The Batman’!

# Bernie Wrightson Retires Due To Health

# DC Comics Recreating Snagglepuss As A Gay Man Brought Before The House Committee On Un-American Activities!

# It’s Official: The Dune Reboot Has Found Its Director

# PETA Complains About Plastic Figurines Wearing Fur While The Rest Of The World Laughs At The Irony

# Dave Gibbons To Teach You “How Comics Work” In A New Book

# Playmobil Hits Us In The Feels With Their New Ghostbusters Line
Seems like Playmobil is making a big push. First the six-inch collaboration figures with Funko (fourth Doctor!!) and now these. And they look eat too. For me the Playmobil aesthetic lacks something that puts Lego in favor.

acquisitions [4/17]

Let’s take a look at the stuff that will cover my corpse someday.

Lando Calrissian (3,75″ Black Series)

Another blind spot in my collection is filled! Lando’s cloak is one of the nicer ones, somehow i also dig the elastic band, but i deceided to take it off and keep him in his rebelion uniform look. While the face scuplt does not entierly resemble Billy Dee Williams i’m happy that he has his wrist communicator.



Tony Stark
(S.H. Figuarts)

Bandai is taking their game further with their face printing technology. This time with Robert Downey Jr.. The license costs are probably the reason why he doesn’t get any alternate faces but the look he comes with is a good all purpose expression. And there are three alternate hands for each arm as well as two armor lower arms and armor boots as well as a display stand resembling Tony Stark’s hall of armors.



Gardens Of Glass – Lando

It was receommended to me to help with my uneasiness with Moebius’s work.



At The Shore – Jim Campbell

Another recommendation. Jim Campbell adapted Over The Garden Wall for the comics page which i ennjoyed. So i decided to take a look at his work without being restraint by the rules of a franchise.

linked up vol.3

Friday 00:05 MET, time to share some links. Some i do comment, some not. Some lead to german internet presences.

# BBC Reports Disney Negotiating With Carrie Fisher Estate On Future CGI Carrie Fisher Appearances In Star Wars
Hmm, i heard from more people than anticipated that they did not find CGI Tarkin that bad, so perhaps CGI Leia will work as well. I’d rather see an actress in the role.
And here’s the follow up:
# Lucasfilm Addresses Using CGI To Recreate Carrie Fisher In Future Star Wars Films
I guess they will do so in Episode IX.

# Brian Blessed warned Geroge Lucas about Jar Jar Binks.

# Gravity Daze trailer via Okamidensetsu Isn’t that the cutest kitty WOAH, SHIT WHAT US HAPPENING! Here’s a making of-video.

# Der Raum-Ausstatter (german)
German comedian/voice artist Monty Arnold lays down a short but poignant bouquet of flowers to the King Of Comics: Jack Kirby.

# A Myth of Love and Metals: Gem Fusion in Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe
Steven Universe is an amazing show about acceptance and change and i’m always rambling about how beautiful the concept of fusion is to educate kids on human interaction, but this article does it waaaaay better than i ever could.

# Brigham Young University Researches The Negative Effects Of Superheroes On Pre-Schoolers
# Reconsidering Rogue One
It burns under my nails to talk about this movie, but i want to wait until i can record a proper podcast episode about it for Asteroids In Exile

# Joe Jusko Does A Classic Take On The Guardians Of The Galaxy

# 10 reasons why Fletcher Hanks kicks ass
Don’t read about Hank’s private life….but Stardust the Space Wizard is a neat name for a “Superhero”.

acquisitions [3/17]

Let’s take a look at the stuff that will cover my corpse someday.

Shin Godzilla second form vinyl figure

Shin Godzilla second form vinyl figure

I love the evolution the king of monsters goes through in Toho’s latest movie and getting this stage completes my Shin Godzilla vinyl collection.
Prices for this figure are through the roof on the secondary market when i looked, but i set an alarm on CS-Toys[1] and got it for a justifiable price.

Black Series 6inch Sabine Wren

Black Series 6inch Sabine Wren

I wanted to quit on the six inch figures. Then Hasbro gave us Kanan and Ahsoka. Well, and now Sabine.

S.H. Figuarts K2SO

S.H. Figuarts K2SO

Everybody’s favourite droid (at the moment) from Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line.

Omega Man tpb

Omega Men

Skipped the single issue run. But Tom King wrote it and because i was amazed by his work on the Vision i’m interested to see what he does with Kyle Rayner.

Jackie Kottwitz band 1

Jackie Kottwitz

A german volume of Jérôme K. Jérôme Bloche, a franco-belgian comic about an aspiring detective. Since the english edition is on its way to be released later this year i got a volume of the german translation. I’ve read a story ages ago and liked it but must have lost it during moving flats.

Buffalo Classic USB-Gamepad

Buffalo Classic USB-Gamepad

As mentioned in the post about the Retropie[2], i got a SNES like gamepad that was universally recommended by the internet.


[1] CS-Toys
[2] an alternative to the Nintendo Classic Mini