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There is something magical about certain creators and even more so about certain combinations of creators. Many people acknowledge the truly miraculous works created by the combination of Stanley Lieber and Jacob Kurtzberg. Though most people know them by their pen names of "Stan Lee" and "Jack Kirby".
Jack Kirby is best known as the King of Comics because of his work for the big 2. His work creating characters like Captain America with Joe Simon, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Thor, and The Avengers all with Stan Lee, and then signing an exclusive contract with DC in 1970 and created The New Gods, as well as all of the other Fourth World characters, The Demon Etrigan,Kamandi, OMAC, as well as breathing new life into the floundering Pal of the world's greatest Superhero, Jimmy Olsen.
But what a whole lot of people forget is that his career didn't end when he stopped working for the big 2. He went on to work Pacific Comics, Eclipse Comics, and ToppsComics and to create brilliant ideas and imaginative works until his death in 1994 at the age of 76.
To have been the kind of creator that he was and to be as prolific as he was is almost a contradiction in terms. Creators of his caliber in other fields burn out long before they are able to amass the kind of body of work that he seemed to easily craft. Many people consider him to be one of the most imaginative creators of his day and perhaps of all time. Of Kirby, the New York Times said:
"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another—or even from page to page—threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader's lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison."
It's not surprising that many creators have tried to make his characters relevant in the modern day out of respect to the man and it's simultaneously not a great surprise that most have failed. It's almost as if he was creating in another language that just seemed visual like other comic books and in English by coincidence more than anything else. It seems, to many, that he was the only one who could really bring what he brought to those characters.
So perhaps it was the perfect kind of idea for another incredible duo of creators, who have, through little more than legerdemain and a kind of twin-speak that makes for the perfect kind of collaboration, paved a way for themselves and created one of the most memorable tales of recent comics memory, to take the Kirby characters least explored, often only done up as designs and mock-ups, and to attempt to craft a world wherein they might all exist.
And that is exactly what Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross have done with Kirby Genesis.
Having only worked together on the utterly brilliant Marvels these two giants of the comics world have been brought back together by Dynamite Entertainment in order to make a cohesive world of characters, most of whom have never appeared anywhere outside of The King's own sketch books. If anyone can do it I think that it is these two. With the help of Jack Herbert, who has previously worked on Black Terror, Project Superpowers: Meet the Bad Guys, and Avengers/Invaders with Ross, the dynamic duo of Ross &Busiek have put together a sufficient enough a preview of their intentions with Kirby Genesis #0 to whet my appetite and have me slavering for more.
Herbert's finishes over Ross' layouts manage to dance the line of looking enough like Ross, and at times Kirby, that those who are buying the book for the kind of visual storytelling that Ross is capable of should not be disappointed, the pages painted by Ross should keep them coming back for more as well.
There is something fascinating about the way that Busiek tells stories as well, especially these kinds of stories. We'll be following the events of the series through the eyes and colored by the lives of outsiders, much in the same way that we did in Marvels and it's follow-up Marvels: Eye of the Camera, who are not a part of the world of the brightly colored super-powered heroes of the mind of Kirby. To have three humans mixed among them will allow us a doorway into the action of the series in a way that will allow us to be as fascinated by the goings on as the characters we follow.
Ultimately, even with only 12 pages of comic content, the rest of the book being devoted to DVD like extras to give the reader an insight into the creation process, the book is well worth the $1.00 pricetage and I think it'll leave you as excited about next month's #1 as I am.