Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 5, 2005

We Were Comics Once, And Young

imageMark Evanier hints that there may be more news than usual to report from this year's Jack Kirby panel in San Diego. One suspects this may be due to the growing pressure provided by Kirby family members in terms of garnering respect for the late co-author and creative force behind the Marvel Comics superhero genre revolution of the 1960s. My stance -- basically depression and horror that a supporting player on Will and Grace receives more respect as a contributor to that television show's success from its owners than Marvel's board of directors pay to the legacy of the man whose fire fueled the visual engine that has made each of them untold millions -- is such I'd be quite satisfied with any movement in the direction of more esteem for Kirby and his work, no matter how it comes about.

It makes sense that this would be tied into the Fantastic Four film, although my suspicion is that the movie will pay tribute to Kirby's work in an unintentional way. I just can't imagine that it will come within a country mile of the furious display of visual dynamism and raw cartooning power, refined by Joe Sinnott's inks and Stan Lee's wry dialogue work, that puts the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four on best comics works of the 20th Century lists. You can send Jessica Alba onto as many talk shows as you want to chat about dysfunctional families, but much of Fantastic Four is conceptual lunacy, which is why so much of it can be seemingly jettisoned by the filmmakers (European armor-plated super-despot) while still keeping elements that make almost no sense at all ("Bring me a funky green jammy and cape"). I don't really have a point here, but it's amusing to note that maybe the one comics artist who is most often cited as someone whose appeal has been supplanted by big-screen spectacle in a way hasn't been touched yet.

Here's an article that talks about the Fantastic Four as a period piece, another that speaks of the comic as a potentially untranslatable work, another that tracks the cartoon and big-screen versions pretty well if you're into that kind of thing.
posted 7:37 am PST | Permalink

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