Thursday, November 22, 2007

A few words about the Jack Kirby Collector

Not that John Morrow needs the publicity -- but any chance I get, I try to say a good word about John’s fantastic publication the Jack Kirby Collector. The Jack Kirby Collector is on the brink of its 50th issue and will shortly earmark 10 years of publication! No small feat in today’s crowded comic book and magazine marketplace. The aim of the Jack Kirby Collector has always been to "celebrate the life and art of Jack Kirby." And if you don’t know who Jack Kirby is yet, then you can start by reading a few of the posts on this page.

The JKC started innocently enough. Back in 1996 or 1997 and I kind of stumbled upon it by chance. John may have just published or was just about to publish his first issue of JKC -- a thin little fanzine that had a few scans of art and maybe an article or two or three. But it was about Jack Kirby darn it and that made it an instant "buy" in my book! In fact, if I remember correctly, I subscribed right then and there and was all the happier because of it.

Now you have to understand that 10 years ago, TwoMorrows Publishing was publishing just one thing: the Jack Kirby Collector. Who’d have figured that from that humble beginning John Morrow would create a virtual publishing empire – one that made comics fun again! Or at the very least it made reading “about” comics fun again!

In short order, the Jack Kirby Collector increased its page count, started showcasing color covers and was previewing page after page of raw, unlinked Jack Kirby artwork. The fan base for the JKC increased as well, as subsequent issues soon became theme-based and full of articles and commentary that made the Jack Kirby Collector the closest thing to a literary review of the art and life of Jack Kirby that we’ll probably ever see.

Of course of you already read the Jack Kirby Collector than you know everything I’m saying is true. And if you haven’t read the JKC yet, then you owe it to yourself to throw down a few bucks and treat yourself to a true visual experience.

It’s hard to pick out favorite issues of the Jack Kirby Collector, but as long as you’re twisting my arm I’ll admit to getting all giddy over the first New Gods issue (#6), The Demon issue #23 ) and the one devoted to Kamandi (#17). An issue that showcased Jack’s work in animation after he left Marvel the second time is another fave.

With issue 31, the JKC went King-Size: publishing the mag at nearly the same size as Jack’s original artwork and as if that weren’t enough, now Tomorrows Publishing puts out a digital edition which makes it even easier to get your hands on the JKC.

At the same time -- call it coincidence or fate or good timing -- but over the years that the Jack Kirby Collector has been published, the public’s awareness of Jack Kirby has increased. More and more of Jack’s work is being reprinted than ever before, and a lot of folks are finally connecting the dots and realizing that Marvel Comics is a lot more than Stan Lee.

Like I said, John Morrow sure doesn’t need the publicity. He let’s the quality of his work speak for him. But in the event there’s someone out there who still isn’t convinced that Jack Kirby is the real architect of the Marvel Universe – then click here and strap yourself in for one wild ride!

A mere tip of the hat somehow just doesn’t seem a sufficient accolade to John Morrow and ten great years of publishing the Jack Kirby Collector! He deserves more -- much more. Guess I'll have to renew my subscription yet again!

I can hardly wait for the next 50 issues to hit the stands!