08/28/2017

Caleb Orecchio here on Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday

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from 2001: A Space Odyssey; written and drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Frank Giacoia, lettered by John Costanza, and colored by Marie Severin and Jack Kirby

 

What’s out There?

…and so I live with a lot of questions—and I find that entertaining. If my life would have went tomorrow, it would be fulfilled in that manner. I would say, “The questions have been terrific.”

-Jack Kirby from the Harlan Ellison hosted documentary, Masters of American Comic Book Art.

All images herein are written and drawn by Jack Kirby

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from 2001: A Space Odyssey #6; inked and lettered by Mike Royer, colored by George Roussos

Today is Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday, and though he passed away in 1994, his spirit lives on as strong as it ever was. Undoubtedly, his influence has stretched across the four corners of the medium of comics–and culture in general. Over the past months in anticipation of this day, there has been an extra electricity in the air, surely not altogether separate from the social and political shifting of the last several years. Many feel the doomsday clock is winding down to midnight and the writing on the wall says the times are changing, and I couldn’t help but think of the recent solar eclipse as a sort of omen. 

Whether the eclipse was an omen for good or bad, I have no idea; but as the Jacques Prévert poem says, The earth it turns/The earth doesn’t stop turning.

from 2001: A Space Odyssey #4; inked and lettered by Mike Royer, colored by Glynis Wein

Another recent omen I encountered, just two days before the eclipse, was a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey in a vintage 70mm print. As you know, it’s a complete and utter visual experience–a feast for the eyes–but seeing it in 70mm left me changed by the time the credits were rolling. “What did we just watch?” was a popular question asked among friends while ruminating over shared cigarettes. I couldn’t stop thinking about Kirby.

More than a few readers will be well acquainted with Kirby’s comic book adaption of 2001 and his subsequent spin-off series. I think these works unhinged something in Kirby. The series, up to the point until Mister Machine (or later, Machine Man) takes over as protagonist, leans heavily on the evolution of early humans into a higher being: The New Seed. It’s a continuum: we’re born, we live, we die, we’re born again.

from 2001: A Space Odyssey #7; inked and lettered by Mike Royer, colored by George Roussos

During and after 2001, Kirby became unleashed. His “mature style” had fully formed. A New Seed emerged from his diminishing back and forth relationship between Marvel and DC. Back at Marvel once again for the last time, Kirby’s images obliterated the comparatively civilian drawings of his contemporaries. Smashing and gnashing his way through, arguably, some of industries worst years creatively and financially–standing as a monolith among the poor, hungry apes incapable of grasping the knowledge he was revealing to them. He, The Monolith, still stands to this day and we apes are still trying to figure out where the signal is pointing to.

xoxo
CO

from 2001: A Space Odyssey; inked by Frank Giacoia, lettered by John Costanza, and colored by Marie Severin and Jack Kirby

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select Kirby links

BONUS SPREAD

from Marvel Treasury Captain America: Bicentennial Battles; inked by Herb Trimpe, John Romita, and Barry Smith, lettered by John Constanza, colored by Phil Rachelson

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Suzy and Cecil – 8-28-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 8-28-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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Caleb Orecchio

Caleb Orecchio

Caleb Orecchio is a cartoonist living in Dayton, OH. His strip, 'Joanie and Jordie', appears every weekday on the Comics Workbook Daily News. He hosts the weekly Dayton Comics Club with fellow cartoonist/designer, Jason Hart.
Caleb Orecchio

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