Although practically every comics fan does (or should) know who Jack ‘The King’ Kirby is, and the inestimable debt that we all owe to the man. Without him, Marvel Comics would not be what we know and love today, nor would the face of DC Comics be the same.
Can you imagine DC today without Darkseid?
Oh, and the rest of the New Gods might be important as well. And where would Marvel be without the Celestials, who now seem to be the origin of the Eternals, the Deviants, the shape-shifting Skrulls? The very mutants themselves?
The older fans will remember the many ideas of Mr. Kirby that never successfully saw print, apart from a few short specials or mini-series from Pacific Comics, or later from Topps. As with the first appearance of many of Kirby’s masterpieces, these started as rather two-dimensional stories that only after time would develop the legendary depth and intricacy that we know today.
Time that these characters were never given.
Then along came Kurt Busiek, with the recent release of Kirby: Genesis, alongside Silver Star, Captain Victory and Dragonsbane accompanying mini-series, crafting an entire universe from Jack Kirby’s old visions and sketches with the standard aplomb that we have come to expect from the modern master that brought us Astro City, JLA/Avengers and Avengers Forever.
Dynamite’s Kirby: Genesis was not the first relationship between Busiek and the Kirbyverse however. Thanks to Wikipedia: -
The Liberty Project: In Jack Kirby’s TeenAgents #3, the children of Inner City meet members of The Liberty Project, a super-hero team originally created by writer Kurt Busiek and penciler James W. Fry, that starred in their own series published by Eclipse Comics in the mid-1980s.
It seems there is more digging in the back issue bins left for me to do. But can I ask, does anybody else miss Eclipse Comics? It is so time for a DNAgents relaunch!
Kurt manages, in a collection of twenty-three issues, to craft a universe that would do the King proud, while adding a depth that the prematurely cancelled series of the Eighties never had the chance to work with. The weird thing is, as much as I want to see so much more of this universe, I don’t mind if we never do. (Although this is comics, we know it will be back, even if it takes another twenty years, the Kirbyverse will be back.) This collection is complete unto itself, and though I want more, I have enough.
Kirby Genesis is released today as a trade paperback, and is one of those series that deserves the format. If you liked the Earth X trilogy, but want something a little less bogged down with continuity references; if you liked the Project: Super-Powers series for exactly this reason and if you missed the series the first time around, this is a perfect addition to your bookshelf. It is a book you will read again, and again and again.