Thursday, 7 February 2013

This Man... This Monster!

Fantastic Four #51 (1966), art by Jack Kirby
Marvel Fanfare #15 (1984), art by Barry Windsor-Smith
(from The Jack Kirby Collector #27, February 2000)
I'm not sure what issue the FF was up to at the time I finally started reading it. I think around #70 or #75 and, as I said, you could pick them all up for a dollar or two at the time - most of them for a quarter, so I had a run in pretty short order except for the first ten or so which I had seen and read. I don't know if you're allowed to say this in The Jack Kirby Collector, but I thought the quality had tailed off pretty dramatically by the time of Wyatt Wingfoot and the Negative Zone and stuff. The first Inhumans storyline - #44 or #45 and leading into #51's This Man, This Monster, which I really thought was the high point of Stan and Jack's run on the book - I guess that I'm really thinking about the Thing here. When you consider what Kirby did in developing the look of the character in a little more than four years - when Barry Windsor-Smith did his Thing story in Marvel Fanfare, I got the sense that he responded to the character in the same way and had to do his This Man, This Monster take at some point or die a lesser man for not having done so. I've never been that way about corporate characters or I would probably have to do a Thing story myself at some point. I think Jack Kirby put a lot of himself into the Thing. I think Stan Lee was a mix of Reed Richards and Johnny Storm the way Jack Kirby saw him, but Jack was just this irresistible force of nature who saw himself as a big pile of orange rocks.

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