Jacob Kurtzberg: Blown Up

"Kirby: Genesis" #0 from Dynamite Entertainment

If you were an artist and/or storyteller of any kind, how would you want to be celebrated after you were gone? Would you choose: have my scattered non-commercial / concept / unfinished art pored over and recombined into a new story I never conceived? Harsh? Yes, but the question stands. What would you want? I really don't think it's this.

As I understand it, Dynamite Entertainment (@DynamiteComics) somehow acquired the rights to produce comics with any and all of Jack Kirby's characters which are otherwise not associated or attached to any company or in use. And somebody said: 'Well then... Why not have them all fight / meet / talk like a crossover 'event'?

Considering the extremely thin and extremely various sources he has to play with, Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) is doing a bang-up job of weaving a story that must intrigue any reader. The sheer number of characters being brought out of the woodwork and the curiosity about how the hell they will all fit together might be enough to make some people read the series. This issue is merely a preview, so it is meant to be a tasting but holy moley, there's a ton of characters I've never heard of who appear to have nothing to do with each other running around not talking to one another in this comic! The implication is that all these old Kirby creations are various aliens from various planets and they will be suddenly drawn to Earth where they will meet all the other kooky Kirby characters as well as a few choice humans...

The comic's BEST IDEA? Busiek's newly created main character is a man, portrayed first as a young boy, then as a college student, named Kirby. Meanwhile there is also a character named Sergeant Jake Cortez who looks just like a young Jack Kirby, cigar and all. The result is Kirby talking to Kirby which, unfortunately, sounds far cooler than it actually is.

The comic's WORST IDEA? Mixing the industry giant Alex Ross' painted art with relative newcomer Jack Herbert's pen and ink art on the same page. It's not so terribly awkward in this issue, but the last pages of issue #0 are preview material for the work to come and there? Paint right next to pen and ink. Looks like a disaster.

It's all over the place in this issue. We are introduced to the characters... and I can't tell you anything about them because there were so many of them and they were all in completely different settings. Hell, a few of them are from different genres. And, as a result, they flew past like colorful plastic horses on a theme park ride.

"Kirby Genesis" #0 is a hot mess. A very pretty-looking, carefully structured, rush of concepts and characters and images that weren't created to work together. It's good... for what it is. But that's a sentence I shouldn't have to write.

I fear that no amount of slow burn plotting, no amount of sharp characterization, no amount of tight-scripting could make this series work with the premise it has chosen. Nothing good can live down the road they are traveling down, at least in my imagination.

Mind you, Busiek is trying damn hard, and almost half-way succeeding with a book and a concept that should never work. Maybe later issues would prove me wrong, but I'm afraid that flipping through issue #1, after having read this issue, was more than enough for me.

~ @JonGorga


  1. I've been loving this series, Jon. I agree that it's all over the place, but, ah, I like that. My favorite big crossover event is still Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that was all over the place too.

    Jack Herbert's art is great -- I wish he'd drawn the ENTIRE thing!

  2. Jack Herbert's art is good. It seems a bit rushed at times, but way worse is how over-shadowed it is by Ross' work.

    You know, I haven't read more than the first issue of "Crisis on infinite Earths" but Marv Wolfman and George Perez really made me care about those characters in just a few pages: first with Pariah being forced to watch universe after universe die and then seeing the alternate universe Lex Luthor (Alexander Luthor) saying goodbye to his wife, that universe's Lois Lane, as reality itself crumbled around him... THAT'S awesome!

    I don't know, my friend. I don't know.

  3. After that scene with Pariah, though, the superheroes just get all scattered and we get bits and pieces of characterization -- which, for a big event such as this, I much prefer over something like, say, the Infinity Gauntlet, where Warlock gets pushed down our throats. it's not the deepest thing ever, but I think that's where it starts. "Hey, this character is cool -- I'd love to read more about him!"