One of Kirby’s contributions to the Marvel self-parody comic, this 8-page story is inked by Tom Sutton, over what I’m guessing are relatively loose Kirby pencils for the period. I tend to prefer Kirby’s stories in NBE when they’re inked by Frank Giacoia, since those tend to look more like Marvel comics of the era, making the parody that much richer.
In this story, the Scorch marries his long-time love Gristle and takes her home where they encounter her Unhuman familly, and insanity ensues.
Eventually the Scorch taunts Sandyman to attack, hoping to drive off the in-laws. Hey, makes as much sense as anything else in here.
The NBE school of humour does tend to be a bit much for me at times, but by virtue of sheer volume there is some worthwhile stuff in here. Frighten (Triton) punching the Scorch out of the tub is pretty good, and of course as a Lockjaw fan you have to like the even more goofy Loosejaw.
Kirby only did a single story for the long running humour magazine CRACKED, this 5-page story which he apparently both pencilled and inked (with doutone shading). This is a TV parody based on the premise of using classic children’s games as the basis for the celebrity panel shows popular at the time, so it has some of the famous people of the era playing games like Hide and Seek, Tug of War, Spin the Bottle and Hopscotch. There aren’t a lot of actual working jokes in the script beyond the premise, but Kirby does a surprisingly good job on the celebrity faces, of those I recognize, and throws in a few funny bits with the body language. Humour comics were only a small fraction of the comics that Kirby did in his career, but he did have an interesting touch with them.
I’d love to see a straight FF story where Doc Doom just suddenly attacks with that pose. That goes on my list of funniest Kirby panels ever.
NOT BRAND ECHH #10 reprints some of the highlights from the first few issues of the series, including three 8-page Kirby stories from 1967. The first two are inked by Frank Giacoia and the third is by Tom Sutton.
“The Silver Burper”, from the debut issue of NOT BRAND ECHH, is the strongest of the three stories, primarily a parody of the Doom/Surfer story that run in FF not long before its initial publication. Kirby’s art is pretty out-there and absurd in self-parody, in particular anything with “Doctor Bloom”, such as the scenes where he’s trying to convince the Burper that he’s a good guy. And of course the face-off between Weed and Bloom, with the classic “I own a hundred pair of stretch socks”.
Both this story and the one it parodies are going to be in the upcoming VISIONARIES JACK KIRBY v2 collection.
“The Origin of Sore, Son of Shmodin” is from ECHH #3, which I covered before. Still funny stuff, this time around I was most amused by Shmodin, in particular the last scene of him coming to Earth and dancing.
Finally, from ECHH #5, “The Origin of Forbush-Man the Way-Out Wonder”. I’m not as fond of this one. Looks like either Kirby’s contribution is a lot looser, or Tom Sutton takes a lot more liberties with it, but either way the styles don’t really compliment each other. And the jokes still come a mile-a-minute but the laughs at a much slower pace. I’m not sure why anyone ever thought the name “Forbush” was inherently interesting, but then I never quite got Kurtzman’s fascination with the name “Melvin”.
This is Kirby’s last issue of DESTROYER DUCK, as usual inked by Alfredo Alcala on the 20-page story “Shatterer of Worlds” and cover. Steve Gerber was joined on the writing by Buzz Dixon, who would take solo writing chores on the next two post-Kirby issues.
This story finishes up the main story with GodCorp’s plans in the oil-rich nation of Hoqoom. Some very weird stuff, including possibly the only time cannibalism was so explicit in a Kirby story. Also, a nice battle with the Destroyer Lawyer against the Cogburn:
(I have to mention the Cogburn, as I still get one or two searches a week for Cogburn leading people to this weblog)
This was a fun series, a bit uneven and a few dated references but a lot of good qualities. It would be nice to see it reprinted some day in a nice permanent format.
Following an introduction where Vanilla Cupcake™ meets the Reagans, the battle with the Cogburns continues in this issue, and we get the origin of Booster Cogburn as our heroes flee to the airport. Inspired if extremely mean stuff when you know what it’s a parody of. “The machismo posturing, the overblown ego, and the company man mentality are all artificially encoded in the genes”. “…would lead them to a disturbing truth: that human exist who possess the capacity to create something new, something beyond a flawed replication of what’s gone before”. I love this stuff, that scene is probably the highlight of the DD series.
Beyond the Cogburn scenes, this issue features the set-up for the final battle in Hoqoom, as GodCorp’s plans there continue apace and Duke and his friends are on the way, with Duke suspecting that the Little Guy may be alive.
Steve Gerber writes of course, and Alfredo Alcala inks the 20-page story and cover. Very attractive work in this issue, I thought the previous two issues were a bit loose but the Kirby/Alcala combination seemed to click better this time around.
Harvey comics published a single issue of FIGHTING AMERICAN in 1966, with a few reprints of the mid-1950s series as well as a few unused stories from that time by Simon & Kirby, including a new cover.
Bit pressed for time, so I’ll write more on this later. For now here’s a page from “The Secret of Yafata’s Moustache”.
Duke Duck’s battle against GodCorp continues in this issue, by the usual team of Gerber/Kirby/Alcala for the story “Pheromones”. The issue opens with some odd imagery and nice action as Duke finds himself awakening in a body bag in an animal control van, escaping with a wild doberman hot on his heels. He finds refuge in the home of Brad White, lonely phone company employee who has an apartment full of telephones, including one of Vanilla Cupcake™, a GodCorp owned character.
Which brings us to the corporate greed segment of this issue, as we switch to GodCorp and find out they’ve disavowed operative Medea from the previous issue and then distracted the press with an appearance by Vanilla Cupcake™, their latest hit merchandising brand in the form of a little girl made to look like a doll. Back with Duke, we find out that Brad’s neighbour Beryl is in fact the older sister of Vanilla Cupcake™ and find out their origin, which involves a mutation that makes the girls give off a pheromone which the Packer brothers of GodCorp were extracting to use in making irresistible merchandise. Beryl escaped and now joins with Duke in his quest to take down GodCorp in her identity as Cherries Jubilee.
Along the way we get the return of everyone’s favourite company shill, Booster Cogburn. This time around he perishes in a satisfying hail of bullets proclaiming “If I want my employee rights– I gotta make good my employee wrongs!” Oh Booster, will you never learn?
(I’ve gotten a surprising number of hits on this site from people searching for “Cogburn”, so I might have to actually explain the joke when I cover the next issue, which has his origin. It’s a bit mean, but funny mean. You can find out more in Gerber’s interview in TJKC #10)
As our intrepid squad prepares to leave for Hoqoom, site of an upcoming Vanilla Cupcake™ appearance, they’re suddenly over-run by multiple Cogburns.
Lots of fun, Kirby’s art seems to be getting a bit looser as this point, but there’s still a lot of imagination and really strong on the action scenes. Gerber was doing some inspired stuff in this. They should really consider a reprint of this at some point, now that GodCorp seems to be finding a market for later Kirby collections.
This issue of the Greg Theakston edited comic contains a reprint of the S&K story from PUNCH & JUDY COMICS V2#10 (1947), introducing Lockjaw the Alligator. It’s a fun 7-page story, with a action packed splash of the most common sight gag in the series, Lockjaw swinging the diminutive Professor like a club. The story features the Professor looking for a rare alligator in the Everglades, and finding a talking alligator, Lockjaw, who learned to talk because all the animals in comics do.
This is a fun, kind of surreal, stream-of-consciousness type story, with scenes like the Professor trying to get Lockjaw booked in Punch&Judy comics (with cameos from some of the other characters and the editor) and Lockjaw using the Professor as a water stopper.
This story was also reprinted in the third COMPLETE JACK KIRBY volume.
The year after the lawsuit benefit one-shot, DESTROYER DUCK returned for a regular series, with the Gerber/Kirby/Alcala team re-united up to #5. This issue features “Mommie Noises”, which begins with Duke building a device to get back to his Earth while Holmes is suing GodCorp. Duke is targeted for assassination, but defeats the would-be assassin (with some odd asides about Mariel Hemingway which I don’t get). Meanwhile, in one of my favourite scenes in the series (and setting up my absolute favourite in an upcoming issue), company man Booster Cogburn delivers some arms and a message to a General in Hoqoom, and gets uppity, only to get shot and have his spine crawl off.
We then catch up with the GodCorp executives and their plans for Hoqoom, including the exploitation of Vanilla Cupcake, and then we meet Medea, a rather strange but brilliant parody of the then-popular Elektra. While Duke has his battle with her, we find out more about Vanilla Cupcake and the Cogburn.
It’s a fun issue setting up the storylines for the next few issues, with some nicely wacky characters and some interesting art by Kirby in the fight scenes. I really like Alcala’s inks in here as well, especially with the very nice paper and printing that Eclipse had at the time.
The cover is by Kirby/Alcala, and this issue also has the first chapter of the Jerry Siegel/Val Mayerik series “The Starling”.
NOT BRAND ECHH was of course Marvel’s title for self-parody. Kirby had stories in some of the early issues, doing parodies of the various characters he drew at Marvel (FF, Thor, Surfer), plus a, um, Forbush Man story.
I’m not a huge fan of the book. A lot of the parodies read to me a bit too much like someone read the “how to do a parody” strip in MAD #17 by Kurtzman and Wood, and didn’t quite get that it was a joke. But just by sheer volume there are always some good gags, and some of the art is good.
In #3 it was Thor who was up, under his gag-name of “Mighty Sore, Son of Shmodin”, against his arch-nemesis Hokey. Yeah, I know. Sore is kind of a good design, with a carpenter hammer, long blonde hair in braids, a chicken on his helmet and buttons that keep changing.
Among the better gags in this one, I like the pile of newspapers with stories about Sore, except the Daily Bugle running “Spider-Man is a Fink” as the headline. The page shown above also has the expression “kirbyesque” referring to Hokey’s cannon, which might be the first time that expression was ever published. And for no explained reason, when the Warriors Three are shown, “Bullstag” has a sign on his chest saying “Legalize Potatoes”.
The 8 page story is inked by Frank Giacoia, who does a great job on it, very clear and faithful. The Kirby checklist notes an art assist to Marie Severin, which would seem to be the panel showing a crowd of tourists in Asgard, including caricatures of many celebrities of the day.