I rented the recent 2-DVD release with the extended version of the 2005 FANTASTIC FOUR movie in order to see the one hour JACK KIRBY: STORYTELLER documentary included among the special features. It’s a very enjoyable feature, with original interviews with a wide variety of comic book types who were involved with or influenced by Kirby, including Mark Evanier, Mike Royer, John Romita, Walt Simonson and a few dozen more, giving a good overview of his place in comic book history, and well illustrated with a variety of images both from published work and from original art and photocopies of pencils. As you might guess from the fact that I run this weblog, I’ve read a lot of interview with and about Kirby, so none of the information was really new to me, but it was nice to see it all in one place like this, and see the effect that Kirby had on others.
Two of Kirby’s children, Neal and Lisa, are also extensively featured, giving a more personal perspective on the man, as well as talking about their mother Roz’s role in his life (as do many of the other interviewees). They also provide an opportunity for the use of a lot of photographic material in the visuals, in addition to the comic book art, and a lot of that I don’t think I’d seen before.
There are a few minor flaws, a few comments in the interviews seem to get the chronology slightly askew, and sometimes the choice of artwork to go with a particular discussion is perplexing (discussion of the 1960s material featuring 1970s covers). And of course with Kirby’s lengthy and complicated career, one hour isn’t going to cover close to everything, especially when the focus is, properly for this venue, going to be on the FF. A proper Kirby documentary would have to have a lot more on Joe Simon (and ideally an interview with him), for example.
Well worth a rental, though, and if it was released as a standalone feature, maybe with some longer unedited interviews as extras, I’d be happy to drop $10-$15 on it.
Anyway, as long as I have it here I guess I might as well watch the movie, too. But that’ll be a topic for another weblog.