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March 02, 2008


Matthew Rees

Tend to agree with you on the Captain Victory cover but I did like much of the stuff that he did at DC and was planning to write something myself soon about Kamandi and to use the cover of issue #26 to illustrate this.


the cover is hideous but the blurb on the top is sheer genius did kirby write it "a good commander can beat the odd, a great one can beat the gods!

Joel Kelly

Being a Kirby religionist myself Captain Victory is a source of consternation for me. I tend to think Jack could do no wrong but then, theres Captain Victory. While there are some flashes of genius in the book, I tend to agree that this wasnt his best - though interesting to note JK intended Capt. Vic to be the son of Orion? Something like that.

But at the same time, he produced Silver Star, which I think is one of his best. So go figger.


I've gone on record as a Kirby enthusiast (if a late-comer).

I've also gone on record saying Captain Victory is awful.

In other words, it's a fair cop.

Almost looks like an assistant cut up some Cap Victory poses and pasted the limbs in a new pose.

Mark Engblom

Anyone remember that old Saturday Night Live sketch where Jon Lovitz plays Picasso, who walks around scribbling crap on napkins and then selling it for money (or a restaurant meal, etc), then exclaiming "I'm Picasso!"

Well, I think there may have been a little bit of this happening with Kirby's later work. Perhaps Kirby had begun to believe all the "legendary" qualities everyone was ascribing to him, to the point where anything he put to paper was good to go...when it's obvious much of the later work wasn't fit to print. But, by that time, who was going to tell KIRBY that it wasn't?

Now...let me clarify.....I don't for a minute think Kirby consciously thought of himself as God's Gift to Comics, or that he lorded it over people like Lovitz as Picasso...but at the same time, I think Kirby reached a sort of "lionized" status that made him immune to outside critique and, worse yet, self-critique. The "Should I publish this? Is is really good enough?" filter may have diminshed after so many years of fawning acolytes telling him everything he did was pure genius.

Wes C

Wow! You are brave Mark. I assume you and your family are in the witness protection program by now.

While Kirby is by far my favorite artist, I certainly agree that Capt. Victory isn't his strongest work. It's been about 12 years since I read the entire series. I do remember getting a very creeped out feeling by the end. There seemed to be a pessimistic and cynical feel that ran throughout the books. He really seemed to be the proverbial "bitter old man" at this point.

Your selection of this cover hits home though. This was the very first issue of
Captain Victory that I ever owned, so I'm more inclined to like it (warts and all).

I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the status that Kirby has achieved in fandom.
I love his work, but this idolatry of him does nothing to increase his legacy and only hurts any serious consideration of his work.

Oh yeah, your right about the "Buster Brown" hair, it usually made him look either creepy or silly.

Mark Engblom

"Wow! You are brave Mark. I assume you and your family are in the witness protection program by now."

LOL! Yeah, it's a risk....but one I'm willing to take! The guys who publish The Jack Kirby Collector magazine and Mark Evanier are probably hiring a goon squad as we speak, so if you don't hear from me for a period of several days, you'll know what happened.

Guy DiBorneo

I also both love Kirby and agree with some of what you said about Captain Victory (the cover in particular), but I have to join the crowd standing up for Kirby's 1970s DC stuff. I really dig the 4th World stuff with Royer, as well as Kamandi and the Demon. The writing is a little clunky in places on those, but the art is beautiful and I would say that one has to understand the stories that he did in the 70s as being very different animals from what he and (especially) Stan were trying to do in the 60s. Understood for its own merits, I would say that OMAC stands with the best of what Jack did in the 60s at Marvel.


Great post, and thanks for doing it. I love Kirby's work, too, but also get a little creeped out/annoyed by the religious qualities that sometimes (probably unintentionally, to be fair, but still) come through the fandom with regards to his work. And I think mentioning when he fails doesn't hurt his rep-- if anything, it makes the 60s stuff that much more amazing.

Pat Curley

I never really "got" Kirby, so I won't be leading the peasant brigade up to your castle. I can understand his importance as a creator of many famed characters, and I'm willing to accept that sequentially his art was extraordinary. But his individual drawings always left me a little cold, and he certainly pioneered the concept of fewer and fewer panels per page which tended to shortchange the readers.

And yes, that left arm looks amateurish.

Mark Engblom

All good comments, guys. As for Kirby's Fourth World stuff, I'm generally not much of a fan. There are aspects of it I think showed potential, and certainly some memorable characters (such as Darkseid), but most of it seems rudderless and, at times, unbearably campy ("Vermin Vundabar" anyone?). It's obvious Kirby was making this stuff up as he went along....which isn't necessarily a bad thing (it happens all the time in comics)...but at the same time, I don't ascribe "masterwork" status to a story that even loyal supporters (and creative "junior partners") like Mark Evanier, et al, had trouble seeing where it was all going (if anywhere).

Like the New Gods, Kirby's other DC work had aspects I liked, but...again...the execution often fell far short of expectations. Yeah, it's appealing on that "set the volume to 11" campy, cornball action level the "kick to the face" faction of comics fandom thrives on, but beyond that....I don't get it. I wish I did...but I don't.

Ivan Wolfe

Fair warning Mark -

we're only minutes away...........

Ivan Wolfe

Oh - wait.

Never mind. We've all dislocated our right shoulders.

The angry Kirby mob shall reconvene in a few days.

Mark Engblom

LOL! Whew! That was a close one!

Captain Average

Jack Kirby walking around like Lovitz,"I'm Kirby!". Hilarious! You continue to amaze me with the awfulness that actually gets printed. Capt.V looks like a broken, slightly melted out of shape, action figure with a bad surfer girl head.Yeeesh.

Mark Engblom

Yeah, unfortunately there's no shortage of bad covers...so expect more in the months to come, even from Kirby's "fellow legends" (the tail end of a comic book career is seldom a pretty thing).

Joe Lewallen

Mark, you are a brave, brave man. And right. 1960's Kirby = Beatles. 70's Kirby = Wings. Not that Wings didn't do some decent stuff, but not up to the standards of the previous decade. So does that make Stan the Man John Lennon? Or maybe Ringo?

James Meeley

The only positive I'll give Kirby for this is... it's still a damn sight better than any Liefeld cover you could name. Even a "crappy" Kirby is better than that.


Hey. Great feature. I'm running down my favourite covers over at my own blog (click on name below). None of your covers has made my list... yet. Phew!

Mark Engblom

Fun site! I've already added you to my links! Hey, what are you going to do when you reach your 200th cover? Keep going? (say "yes")

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