Tuesday, August 28, 2007

O Captain, My Captain

Photo by Alan LightToday would be Jack Kirby's 90th birthday. My esteem for the man and his work has only increased over the years.

One of my earliest comics, one I still have today (sans cover), is an 70's 80-page reprint of some of his best Captain America stories. I'm always struck by the sheer power of those pages. In my mind it represents the apex of his style, having moved past the lumpiness of those early FF issues, finding that dynamic hard edge and energy that would forever be attributed to the King.

It is my great sadness that I never got to meet the man and thank him for his work. The closest I came was at the 1986 (maybe '87, my memory falters, and my Google-fu is weak today) at the San Diego Comic Con. But I was young and stupid, that 80-page giant buried by newer, flashier fare back home. I should have found him and shook his hand.

I miss his wide open creativity. There are only a few creators working today that get it, that get Jack. To be like Jack is not to ape his style or to trade in his ideas, but it is to embrace all the wild, crazy implications of living in the world of tomorrow today. The man lived through some crazy times, and came out the other end with a sense of optimism and abandon.

It saddens me that there is a lack of that kind of imagination today. It saddens me that there's such a focus on super-realism that takes too long to render. Jack cranked out the pages, and didn't worry if he had the right references. If the man fell, he fell forward, letting his hard-won skills and enthusiasm save the day.

Photo courtesy of Alan Light, who has posted a great gallery of photos from the 1982 San Diego Comic Con



At 7:51 PM, Blogger The Mutt said...

Right on!

Kirby drew what was in his mind, not what he light-boxed or traced from a cover of Playboy.


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