DC, Marvel announce Jack Kirby centenary publications, but what’s missing?

The Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos Special #1
The Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos Special #1

US comic publishers DC Comics and Marvel have both announced their plans to mark Jack “King” Kirby’s centenary in August.

Kirby, born 29th August 1917, who died in 1994, was an American comic book artist, writer, and editor, and is widely regarded as one of the medium’s major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential creators.

The comic announcements come as the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center continues its  100 Days of Kirby in honour of Jack’s approaching 100th birthday on  28th August 2017. Their Kirby centenary efforts will consist of live events, talks, parties, and a few surprises along the way and they will be working with friends, members, and donors both in the United States and the international community to make Jack’s 100th birthday a global event.

DC

DC is to publish a series of six Kirby 48-page one-shot specials featuring characters that Kirby created during two stints with DC. Kirby first worked for DC during the early 1940s, and later in the early 1970s after he left Marvel Comics (after co-creating with Stan Lee the majority of the major characters in the Marvel Universe). Three of the one shots feature characters that Kirby and Simon created or revamped for DC during the 1940s.

All these comics will be sold through comic shops.

The Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos Special #1
Writer and artist: Howard Chaykin

This includes both of the “kid gang” comic teams that Simon and Kirby created for DC, the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos. Simon and Kirby created the template for this sort of patriotic “kid gang” comic with The Sentinels of Liberty (Young Allies) that they previously created for Timely.

Manhunter Special #1
Manhunter Special #1

Manhunter Special #1
Writers: Keith Giffen and Dan Didio Pencils: Nick Bradshaw

Simon and Kirby took over DC’s Manhunter starting in Adventure Comics #73 and lasting through #80 (November 1942), and turned the character into a big game hunter who turned crimefighter.

A bonus”Etrigan the Demon” short story by Sam Humphries and Klaus Janson will be included, along with a Golden Age reprint.

The Sandman Special #1

The Sandman Special #1
Writers: Dan Jurgens and Steve Orlando Artists: Jon Bodganove and Rick Leonardi

This new story will be based in the 1970s version of Sandman, although Simon and Kirby revamped DC’s Sandman character in the early 1940s, too. A seldom reprinted Sandman story from the 1970s will also be included.

The New Gods Special #1The New Gods Special #1
Writer: Shane Davis Art: Shane Davis and Michelle Delecki

A full-length story featuring Orion and Lightray. Also included in this 48-page special are a classic Kirby New Gods tale and a back-up feature by Walt Simonson about the young Orion and his friend Seagrin.

Darkseid Special #1Darkseid Special #1
Writer: Mark Evanier Art: Scott Kolins

As Kirby’s biographer, ICV2.com notes Evanier is uniquely equipped to create this tale of one of Kirby’s greatest villains, the dark Lord of Apokolips, and this one-shot also includes an OMAC back-up story written by Sam Humphries with art by Steve Rude, as well as the reprint of classic Kirby Fourth World tale.

The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1

The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1
Writer: Reginald Hudlin Artists: Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz

Kirby’s avatar of death from the New Gods (The Black Racer) stars here, and Shilo Norman (aka Mister Miracle), who is literally running from death in a cosmic chase across the galaxies. A classic Kirby Fourth World tale will also be included.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics will pay tribute to comic book master Jack “King” Kirby on the 100th Anniversary of his birth with a round of introductory comics featuring the first appearances some of his greatest Marvel creations, including Hulk, Thor and more.

Sadly, it’s the Fantastic Four who remarkably absent from the celebrations, which is a terrible shame.

The 12 $1.00 True Believer comics will be released in August.

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Black Panther #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Black Panther #1

Reprinting Black Panther #1 published in 1977 and the Captain America story from Tales of Suspense #98

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Captain America Lives Again! #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Captain America Lives Again! #1

Reprinting Avengers #4, published in 1963.

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Groot #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Groot #1

Reprinting the Groot story from Tales to Astonish #13, actually drawn by Don Heck, and the Xemnu story from Journey Into Mystery #62, drawn by Steve Ditko. Kirby provided covers to both comics

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Thor Vs. Hulk #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Thor Vs. Hulk #1

Reprinting Journey Into Mystery #112

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Introducing…The Mighty Thor! #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Introducing…The Mighty Thor! #1

Reprinting the Thor story from Journey Into Mystery #83 and the Loki story from Journey Into Mystery #85

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Captain America #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Captain America #1

Reprinting Captain America Comics #1 from 1941 and the Captain America story from Tales of Suspense #63

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Eternals #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Eternals #1

Reprinting Eternals #1, published in 1976

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Devil Dinosaur #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Devil Dinosaur #1

Reprinting Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Nick Fury #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Nick Fury #1

Reprinting material from Strange Tales #135 and #141

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Inhumans #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Inhumans #1

Reprinting material from Amazing Adventures (1970) #1-2

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Iron Man #1True Believers: Kirby 100th – Iron Man #1

Reprinting the Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense #40-41

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Ant-Man and The Wasp #1

True Believers: Kirby 100th – Ant-Man and The Wasp #1

Reprinting the Ant-Man story from Tales to Astonish #44

• All the above titles will be on sale in all good comic shops such as Forbidden Planet and more

View our UK Comic Shop Map

Read Tim Perkins feature, “In Praise of: Jack Kirby”

Visit the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center

• Lancaster Comics Day will be celebrating the Jack Kirby Centenary on Sunday 10th June with Tim Perkins, Nick Brokenshire and Jack Kirby documentary make Glen Fleming: www.lancastercomicsday.uk

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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