“I couldn’t depend on gangsters!”

eternals_10-cvr.jpgYesterday, it was 13 years ago that Jack Kirby died. Always stirring to be reminded of an oeuvre as unique as his. I just read his swan song, The Eternals, in its entirety and though it is widely considered to be a flawed effort, it is simply astonishing work. The first half a dozen issues or so is Kirby running at full bore. Crafted at a time when it is my impression that Kirby – primarily through fan response to his work – had become more aware of the depth of the well he had been tapping for decades, it is perhaps his most contrived attempt at mythological discourse. This is not a problem however; besides his always awe-inspiring graphic inventiveness, it is the sincerity with which he serves up concepts such as the Fourth Host, the Uni-Mind and Arishem the judge of Mankind, that – in the end – makes Kirby’s art soar.

Good one on Dirk for linking to this excerpt from the slightly inept but classic-by-default documentary Comic Book Confidential. Hearing Kirby’s grungy voice, with its Delancey Street-intonation, is an affirmation of the earthy groundedness of his work. There is never any bullshit or any spin. I love his disjunctive pronunciations on his own work, where, one senses, soundbites picked up from fans merge with no-nonsense practicality. I love how he says ‘entertaining’, I love how he instinctively moves from a general statement about having to come up with original concepts to secure sales for his books to “I couldn’t depend on gangsters!” And I love how watching and hearing him always reveals a avidly inquisitive mind at work.

Image culled from Kirby’s original pencils to the cover of The Eternals #10, swiped from the Kirby Museum’s bountiful online library of images. For more wonderful Kirby goodness, check the Marvel Monsters blog.

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