Friday, September 5, 2008

Good Stuff: Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus

My friend Jeff from work has been letting me borrow these, a collection of Jack Kirby's bugfuck insane galaxy-spanning DC comics series from the early early '70s. They are full of the unflagging multiple-exclamation-point enthusiasm ("How's that for a chilling conclusion, dear readers!!!") that the funny papers used to have in more innocent times and thick as clay with borrowings from far out sci-fi, fantasy, and classic mythology. I don't think Jack Kirby ever did a drug in his life, but as I read these stories I picture him popping speed and slurping absinthe with Wagner on the hi-fi and a pile of William Blake, Robert Heinlein, Alduous Huxley, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Joseph Campbell by his side.

Anyhow, the comics are hilarious and badly dated and over-the-top and often quite brilliant. Present throughout is Kirby's palpable affection for the young kids with their crazy ideas and damn rock music, which, coming from a man who was 53 at the time, is oddly sweet and touching.

John "a PC" Hodgman has a nice review of the whole set here.

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