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[comics] Jack Kirby, the Unknown King… Jeet Heer on Jack Kirby …

Under the pressure of the intense deadlines he was meeting in the 1960s, when he would produce as much art in a year as other cartoonists do in a decade, Kirby’s rugged realism evolved in a surprisingly abstract direction. He became a kind of pulp Picasso. “His forms became geometric and stylized,” reflected novelist Glen David Gold in a 2005 essay. “Every surface, including human skin, gleaned like chrome. Every starscape exploded with mysterious dots and ‘Kirby Krackle.’” That “Kirby Krackle,” unleashed in scenes of energy or chaos, became a signature device, one that Kirby never explained but that, like so many of his quirks, compelled the eye.

Operatic, sprawling, and mythopoetic, the stories Kirby and Lee worked on remade superhero comics into a form of space opera, taking place in a teeming, lively, and imaginatively exciting universe. The new emotional depth of these comics owed much to the romance stories Kirby had worked on in the 1940s and 1950s. Kirby never really abandoned any of the genres of his past, so the superhero comics he created became a meta-genre, combining aspects not just of mystery-man intrigue but also elements from romance, westerns, science fiction, and horror.

Jack Kirby – the Unknown King

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Comics.

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