Monday, February 23, 2009

Devil Dinosaur: Jack Kirby

30 years ago (actually 31 years ago as this was done in 1978!!), Jack Kirby wrote and drew what was to be his last creation for Marvel, Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. One of Marvel's best editors, Tom Brevoort, does the introduction and therein he puts this Kirby creation in an historical context. As Brevoort recounts, Kirby was asked to do a series similar to his DC series Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth, as they had heard that the latter mentioned series was being looked at for television cartoon development so they wanted a series that would capitalize on that. Brevoort continues by stating that Kirby didn't like to repeat himself so instead of doing another series set in the future he set Devil Dinosaur in the far past. Kamandi sadly never happened as a cartoon, which is sad because it could have easily translated to that medium. Devil Dinosaur would make a great cartoon also and someday I'd bet that that will happen and as long as whoever is doing it does it in the Kirby visual style, it'll be huge.

Devil Dinosaur was a short lived series, of which there was only nine issues (which are collected in a $30 hardcover). This series was created, written and drawn by Jack Kirby during his third stint with Marvel and like Kirby's creations at DC (the Fourth World titles, Demon, and Kamandi), they are not part of the "regular" Marvel or DC universes of that time period. They all have an odd quirky charm, fantastic dynamic art, with wild concepts that comic book creators are still using, proving that Kirby was always ahead of his time. The last issue / end of Devil Dinosaur felt a little rushed story wise (probably because Kirby knew it was the last issue and wanted to give it some kind of actual ending), but it's still a satisfying conclusion in which for part of the issue Devil Dinosaur ends up in the then present time of 1978 out of which we get this great little caption box of text: "1978 is just a place on the vast scale of time. In a rugged area of Nevada, this fact is about to be proved..." Sadly we won't see the likes of Kirby's genius and power again in our lifetimes, but fortunately his creations will forever exist in the timeless realms they inhabit for us and many future generations to derive enjoyment from.

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