Jack Kirby is a legend. Jack Kirby is responsible for the visual representations of pretty much any hero you can think of. The Fantastic Four. The Hulk. Thor. Iron Man. Darkseid. The New Gods. While Stan Lee may be responsible for the words that created the characters, without Jack Kirby’s illustrations we wouldn’t have such amazing images to place along with the words. Jack Kirby would have been 98 today so in honor of his amazing work, we’re going to discuss one of his most famous works.
Here is a summary of Fantastic Four #48. (http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_48) As always I’ll start off with what I think worked.
The comic in question was the standard 22 pages but if felt full. It felt like a real story unlike some comics today that feel like they’re highlights of a much bigger story you haven’t read yet. I really enjoyed the build up to the Galactus reveal. Building up to that reveal you really had the sense of the power the Fantastic Four was about to face.
It goes without saying that the dynamic between the Fantastic Four is great. I really loved that even with the writing of the time being a little melodramatic to say the least the relationship between the team felt natural. Compared to DC product at that time, Marvel had stories that felt like the characters were people you would actually encounter on the street. When Johnny Storm has to leave Crystal after Maximus fires off the Atmos gun, you not only felt his pain but you felt the compassion the team felt for him.
In regards to the negatives, I did not care for the story starting at the third act of a different story. I think that the goal of any comic should be a story that, while it may be a part of a bigger piece, should be enjoyed as a self contained story. You shouldn’t have to go back to the previous issues in order to get an understanding of what is going on. The story itself should be good enough to make you want to do that alone. At the very least I would have liked it better if the story at the beginning of the book tied into the main story they were trying to tell about the arrival of Galactus.
One other element I did not care for was the actual Galactus reveal. It’s been established that Galactus is this gigantic figure that has the ability to suck the resources of a world dry. The first image we get of Galactus however made him appear like a professional wrestler. (What’cha gonna do when Galactus runs wild on you?) Time has more than fixed this but seeing this was just kind of a buzz kill. The build up was so great that when the reveal came you’re thinking “Is that it?”
I also did not care for how Sue Storm was portrayed. Granted my reaction is based on 21st Century thinking and not how women were treated during the 1960’s. While it was great that a woman was included as a main character in comics especially during that era, the fact that they’re relegated to speaking stereotypical women talk is just annoying and takes you out of the story reading it close to 50 years later.
The story was pretty damn good. While it had its flaws the execution was top notch. I give the story an 8. The artwork I’m going to give a 9. Jack Kirby is the creator of what we see visually come every summer with each new Marvel movie and every week on the comic book shelves. The only reason I gave it a 9 was due to the Galactus reveal. If you get a chance read this story.
Now, it appears that Jack Kirby’s daughter has asked that folks, in honor of her grandfather, donate to a charity called The Hero Initiative. The charity in question has been set up to assist comic book writers, artists, and creators who have fallen on hard times. One major black mark on the comics industry is how they treat their talent. Take the creators of Superman, Jerry Seigel and Joe Schuster. When Superman The Movie debuted in 1977, these two men were pretty much destitute despite the company that had paid them $130 for the rights to Superman making millions upon millions based on the character they created. Even today, the late Steve Moore, who wrote the comic Hercules: The Thracian Wars, did not have control over his work. He wanted no involvement with the movie that was later made starring The Rock and asked to not have his name associated with it. Turns out the producers and the comic company couldn’t give two fucks about his opinion and plastered his name as if he had supported the work.
Kirby’s granddaughter has started a special t-shirt sale to help support this charity. (http://kirbymuseum.org/) I encourage you to check the site out and if you can, purchase a t-shirt. The proceeds go to a good cause. Until next time…