The Kirby That Jack Built!

Just for kicks, as I was digging out my old Kirby Collectors and looking through my “Kirby’s X-Files” article (in TJKC #17), I note the entry for the cool-sounding text piece, “The Kirby That Jack Built!” and I find my beat-up copy of Super DC Giant #S-25 (cover-dated July-Aug. 1971) to reacquaint myself. While I’m disappointed it’s merely a reprinting (without the N.Y. editorial preface) of “Jack Kirby — Continued,” the autobio text piece in JO #133, I notice the issue, devoted to some of the best Wallace Wood-inked Kirby stories from “Challengers of the Unknown” (credited herein as Kirby-written stories; I thought the Wood brothers wrote ’em… I’ll check the index), it is a veritable Kirby promotional piece, featuring not only some his most lavish ’50s DC work, but a trio of house ads devoted to Kirby Komics. I thought I’d scan the pertinent stuff, including the little-seen Kirby cover for that ish (newly penciled by the King and inked by Colletta) and the text piece (ganged up from the three separate page appearances)…

9 thoughts on “The Kirby That Jack Built!

  1. patrick ford

    Interesting that DC canceled Challengers only a very short time before Kirby moved to DC.

    It would have been interesting if Kirby had returned to the Challengers and incorporated them into the fabric of the Fourth World.

    Evanier said it was never discussed as far as he knew.

    According to multiple sources, the Wood brothers (no relation to Wally) had problems with alcohol. Kirby, in his usual manner, wasn’t one of the many people who identified their personal problems. Instead, Kirby made vague statements about how the brothers would disappear.

    DC editor was very loyal towards the Woods, for reasons I’ve never seen explained.

    According to most accounts, when the Wood brothers were involved at all, their scripts were based on story conferences with Kirby. Kirby then took the script by the Woods and used it as a template. If I’m not mistaken, only the four Showcase appearances are credited to Dave Wood. All the rest of the stories are officially credited to Kirby as the writer.

    1. John S.

      You have to wonder why the Wood brothers were involved at all, particularly if it’s true that the Challengers were initially created by both Jack and Joe Simon. It’s not as if Kirby needed other writers to provide stories for him. Maybe it was because they were all doing stuff together for Harvey at the time and the relationship just continued into their DC work.

      And yeah, you’re right, Patrick. It would have been very cool if Jack could’ve worked the Challengers into the Fourth World. Since they’re such basic adventurers by nature, they can be fit into just about any type of adventure story — even one as fantastic as the Fourth World — and their involvement would have provided an interesting, counterbalancing human perspective to all of Jack’s tales of superhuman gods.

  2. John S.

    Love those house ads! I very vividly remember seeing these as a kid in the various DC books and being fascinated by them, although at that time I hadn’t yet read any of the Fourth World comics and I wasn’t even sure who this “Kirby” guy was!

    The vignettes in that In the Days of the Mob ad look like they were inked by Giacoia, which I think is highly possible considering that all the lettering would’ve also been done in New York by DC’s production people.

    1. JonBCooke Post author

      I’m pretty sure the great Gaspar Saladino did the lettering and logo work on the ad. Sure looks like his spendid stuff to me. Rob Kelly has an OUTSTANDING multi-part series on Gaspar at his Dial B for Blog site and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this work is found over there…

    2. JonBCooke Post author

      Patrick Ford kindly forwarded this to me, explaining in an e-mail: “I got this off the net when it was for sale. Note all the inking, and painting is by Kirby, a real mixed media job. The In the Days of the Mob logo, and the background figures in the cameo are painted over top of the pieced together collage cut-outs. The central gunman in the cameo is obviously a heavily over-painted photo. My assumption is it’s all Kirby even the lettering.”

    1. JonBCooke Post author

      I have to say his ink work (and Roz pitched in, too, I understand) on The Black Rider Rides Again!, in 1957 or so, is some of my fave stuff! Raw, unadorned, cracklin’ with energy… The “Green Arrow” material from that era is also self-inked (+ The Queen), and I hold it in high esteem…

  3. patrick ford

    It’s not obvious unless you can look at a really big scan, but the words “In The Days Of The MOB comics” are painted right on the collage. Much of the other lettering is put together from stats and pasted on.

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