Another big year for Kirby reprints and related projects in 2011, a year that sadly ended with the recent passing of Kirby’s long-time partner Joe Simon. Fortunately, Simon had a productive final year in his publishing partnership with Titan, including the book of the year, THE SIMON & KIRBY LIBRARY: CRIME hardcover, a massive collection of some of the best work by the duo, about half of their work in that particular genre. There was also an affordable softcover edition of FIGHTING AMERICAN, the comedy super-hero classic and lots of stories about Kirby in Simon’s autobiography JOE SIMON: MY LIFE IN COMICS.
DC continued to get more of their Kirby work in print, with the most interesting book being the hardcover THE JACK KIRBY OMNIBUS VOL. 1, collecting just about all of Kirby’s 1950s work for the company (other than Challengers of the Unknown), plus some stray 1940s material. All of Kirby’s Green Arrow stories and a lot of never-reprinted short stories, some inked by Kirby. There was also an $8 sampler with a selection of stories for those not ready to commit to a hardcover. Meanwhile, KAMANDI, THE LAST BOY ON EARTH BY JACK KIRBY VOL. 1 collected the first 20 issues of the long running 1970s series in one book, hopefully this time we’ll see the next 20 issues completing Kirby’s run come out, and for those who didn’t get the hardcovers from a few years ago, JACK KIRBY’S FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS VOL. 1 came out in softcover, and the next three matching volumes should be out within the next year. And to be complete, there was also a trivial black and white reprint of a reprint in SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE WITCHING HOUR VOL. 1 of a 1950s story also reprinted in the KIRBY OMNIBUS VOL. 1.
TwoMorrows got out two issues of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR in 2011, which apparently ends the tabloid sized run. The next issue is imminent, with a complete departure from the regular format, and then a new format (standard magazine size with colour section) launches with #59.
Dynamite Entertainment began publishing new comics based on characters created and owned by Kirby under the collective title KIRBY GENESIS. Kirby’s “Pioneer plaque” appeared as a story element in KIRBY GENESIS #0 (which is available to read free online), as did several pages of Kirby character designs, not sure if any other actual Kirby work has appeared in the line, which has expanded to include CAPTAIN VICTORY, SILVER STAR and the upcoming DRAGONSBANE. And, I did not know this until now, but apparently a digital edition of Kirby’s original SILVER STAR mini-series is available for purchase for $9.
And oddity of the year, Abrams published THE SOMEDAY FUNNIES, a massive hardcover book for which Kirby wrote and drew a 2-page story in the early 1970s.
And Greg Theakston’s PURE IMAGINATION published his two volume biography of Kirby, JACK MAGIC, in 2011.
And, as usual, Marvel published a lot of stuff, as they will continue to do in 2012. We should also see a few more books from DC in 2012 as well, including the aforementioned softcover FOURTH WORLD books, a large reprint of Kirby’s SPIRIT WORLD from the early 1970s and a single volume hardcover edition of Kirby’s dozen CHALLENGERS issues from the 1950s. Plus there’ll be more issue of TJKC from TwoMorrows, and hopefully Titan’s line of S&K reprints will continue, although nothing’s been announced yet. Published an upcoming books are updated here as information becomes available.