John Pistelli's Reviews > Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus

Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus by Jack Kirby
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bookshelves: comics, twentieth-century

Please read my complete review here. A sample:
Kirby's actual drawing style, though, blunted his composition's putative power, at least in my youthful experience. Among my dad's stacks of old comics from the 1960s and '70s, I much preferred the cinematic experiments of Steranko and John Buscema's magazine-ad elegance, Neal Adams's attempts at trompe l'oeil and the cross-hatched grotesqueries of Bernie Wrightson, not to mention Heavy Metal, with Moebius's grainy Euro-delirium and Richard Corben's high-porn magic airbrush. Naively seeking the mimetic in visual art, I found Kirby's supposedly vigorous compositions to be immobilized by the near-abstraction of his rendering. He built his heroes' and villains' colliding bodies from slabs of thickly-outlined shape, decorated but not textured by what in other artists would have been modeling lines but in Kirby granted adornment without the illusion of depth. I felt like I was reading stories about plastic rocks in combat. Kirby's work was notionally three-dimensional, but without a hint of sensuality; an anticipation of CGI, his was not a world I could inhabit.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 10, 2020 – Shelved
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: comics
February 10, 2020 – Shelved as: twentieth-century

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message 1: by Robert Adam (new)

Robert Adam Gilmour Good review. I'm a big Kirby fan BUT I couldn't finish this series and it's doubtful I'll ever attempt Fantastic Four. And I pretty much refuse to read DC and Marvel reprints because the color reproduction has been unacceptable for the past 30 years.

I say Kirby is best enjoyed for covers, splash pages (especially double pagers), collages, Lord Of Light designs, the God posters, Kirby Unleashed portfolio. Big compositions basically.
Get a load of this one.

I think he peaked as a designer in the 70s but as far as line drawing and texture, his 40s-50s drawings are better (some of this probably attributable to Joe Simon who inked most of that). I really liked the doughy softness of his art in the 40s and the rock-like quality you mention had a nice rough hewn look in the 50s.

Best comic artists of the early decades tend to have their best work very scattered everywhere and hard to compile into a book, especially if the rights are all over the place. Generally better appreciated as visual artists than writers, which was their main job after all.

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