Classic Kirby/Sinnott Artwork – FF # 100

Final panel from FF # 100. The fragment of Jack’s margin note says “Yeah — for ten…” Probably Jack having one of the characters commenting on the fact that this marks the anniversary of the FF’s 10-year run.

Spectacular cover — maybe one of the most iconic of all time — signed under Doc Doom’s foot: “Jack and Joe.” Here’s a scan of the original art. Another example of Kirby/Sinnott clearly at the top of their game although their collaboration on FF was nearing it’s conclusion.

The book itself looks thrown together. I recall reading somewhere the original intention for FF # 100 was to make this issue a double-sized issue, so although I’m not sure why Lee abandoned the idea, this probably explains why Jack has several pages in the story with 9 panels — he’s trying to pack his original 40-page epic into 20 pages. These scans look like they came from the MGC reprint since there is a loss of quality in the artwork. I included a scan of the original artwork for the final page as well; as usual, you can see traces of Jack’s penciled margin notes in the borders  — that constant reminder on just about every page of Kirby original artwork telling us who was really writing these stories.

Pretty amazing milestone for a comics creator/artist to work on one book for 100 issues. No doubt in my mind that if Goodman and Lee had given Jack a fair deal, Jack could have continued to crank out great FF stories and art for another decade. Crystal especially was a character with tremendous potential in Jack’s hands.

That final panel really shows the sense of family Jack brought to his FF concept, something that I remember being totally lost after Jack left the book as we witnessed a parade of lame replacement characters coming in and out of the team like the FF family was a turnstile.

If I recall correctly, when I stopped buying comics in the 80s John Byrne had the absurd She Hulk character in the comic replacing somebody, and in the storyline the blind Alicia was cheating on Ben Grimm, banging his best friend the Human Torch. This is one of the last comics I ever bought, I never even read it, I was in college and had completely grown out of my comics phase (until I rediscovered Jack’s work in 2000).

That shyster character looks a lot like Stan Lee. There’s the idiotic black Spider-man face in the bottom-left UPC box. Many have suggested Marvel redesigned a lot of their characters around this time in order to prevent any possible lawsuits from the Kirbys where Jack could argue designing the iconic costumes of the pivotal 60s Marvel characters was an important part of the creative process.

Not unlikely, ironically Jack himself worked on a redesign of Captain America, probably a move that was considered to avoid any potential lawsuits from Joe Simon in the 1960s.

I think Marvel was doing that “Secret Wars” rip-off around this time in the 80s where they were trying to make you buy a bunch of other books if you wanted to figure out what in the hell was going on in the storyline of your favorite book — that was another reason I stopped buying comics, as a loyal reader of a comic like FF I felt like I was being scammed; I personally thought all the Secret Wars stuff was garbage and was offended by Marvel trying to shove that crap down my throat. But I recall hearing that concept was financially successful so I assume Marvel is probably still doing “Civil War” concepts where the few suckers who still buy their over-priced junk have to spend hundreds of bucks just to read a complete story.

Man, everybody always looks so bloody and angry in these new Marvel comics. I never read the Marvel “Civil War,” but I hope all of Jack’s characters killed each other off in that series and Marvel brought in some new talent to create some new characters.

I’m not one of these continuity freaks (I really could care less what new creators do with other peoples creations) but it was amazing to me — despite the fact that as a teenager I really liked his artwork (it doesn’t resonate with me as an adult) — how soulless Byrne’s run on the series in the 80s was; the only thing that really gave that run any power was the fact that so much of Byrne’s artwork was clearly Kirby homage. Someone told me before that Marvel’s attitude was: if you can’t have the real Kirby onboard, you might as well hire his best clones.

Well, here’s a few final FF pages from the real Kirby’s FF run. Even packed into those tiny panels because of Lee meddling with his story, Jack’s dynamics still blow away those of any artist working in comics in the 1960s, and today.