|Edited by John Morrow||Jack Kirby Collector celebrates the life and career of the "King" of comics through interviews with Kirby and his contemporaries, feature articles, and rare & unseen Kirby artwork. Now in tabloid format, the magazine showcases Kirby's art at even larger size.|
KIRBY AROUND THE WORLD
Just how far does Jack's influence stretch? Kirby fans around the globe tell us!From Jack Kirby Collector #12
Argentina, by Patricio Alberto CocaroI am a 27 year old Kirby fan from Argentina, and I discovered Jack's work when I was 6. I enjoyed reading Kamandi and Mister Miracle. The only comic books available in the '70s here were Mexican editions of DC comics. Up to that time I believed that Jack Kirby only worked for DC Comics because his Marvel Comics work was beyond my reach and knowledge.
I learned about Kirby's work at Marvel in my adolescence when I got some Brazilian editions of Marvel comics, but I had to learn Portuguese (here in the Pampas we speak Spanish). Then I knew about what I consider the most brilliant epoch in comic book history: The Marvel Universe in the '60s. Today it's easier to find any original edition either from Marvel or DC, and I found out that the Mexican translations I read in the '70s were untrustworthy.
Nowadays I still enjoy reading comic books but I don't read them as often as I did when I was a boy. Comics are the most precious memory of my childhood and when I see my cousin walking along the streets of Buenos Aires searching for hard-to-get editions, my mind goes back to my "golden age," and I feel as curious and happy with comics as I used to at age 6.
Malaysia, by Tham K.S.The part of the world I grew up in was the sleepy little island of Penang on the North Western corner of peninsular Malaysia. The exposure to and influence of American pop culture during the '60s, while I was still in shorts, was only in its infancy, unlike today.
Like any other evening after the setting of the equatorial sun, my aunt would take us kids for a short stroll (That's the only kind there) down the side lanes after dinner towards our usual pit stop: A kind of local "soda fountain" on wheels. (it's basically a guy selling ice cold drinks, juices, snow cones and fruits.) Alongside is another complimentary stall, most likely owned and managed by his relative, selling candies, peanuts, cigarettes... and yes, comics! If you can, picture the munchies spread out on the main deck of his cart, while the side furthest from the patrons houses the "goodies;" namely the cigarettes, tin toys, fireworks... and yes, comics. The comics are pegged at their top left corner to a clothesline he strung across his cart, all in two neat rows. The lower row usually consists of the British pulp weeklies like Beano, Dandy and sometimes grown-up stuff like LIFE Magazine. The upper row, easily sighted from the most awkward angle, consists of the Marvels and DCs.
In those days and at my early age, knowledge of English and all things Uncle Sam was next to zilch. But mesmerized by what's hanging on the upper row over a period of a few consecutive visits, I would finally decide on one and part with my hard-earned savings, purely on the basis of the cover art. Just like a good pop tune that has to knock you off your feet within the first few opening chords, the cover had to say it all as far as I was concerned. Reviewing before purchase was a no-no (for increased shelf life); you had to take your chances like the rest of the kids.
The covers that stopped me dead were those that said, in one frame, a synopsis of what I get for my money; the action, the story, the crisis, the guest heroes and/or villains, the you-will-not-know-how-it-will-end-if-you-don't-buy-me effect. As I grew up, having kept my small collection intact, I discovered that the man who was responsible for all those great covers that seemed to leap out at me was none other than Jack Kirby. By the way, I was never disappointed when I got home; the pages inside were even more devastating! My only frustration was the erratic supply; the issues were 3 to 4 months behind. There was no guarantee the next issue would appear at the stand, and because of their relatively low popularity back then, most titles were single orders or not at all (first issues were as likely as rain in the Sahara).
In later life, my frequent foreign posting meant the occasional interruption to my supply of Kirby's output (the DC years in particular), which I try to rectify by going to conventions or back issue specialists. Now, I have an even more relevant source: This very magazine! Continue the good work.
Spain, by Eduardo Lopez LafuenteThe day I discovered Kirby is one of those childhood days that gets engraved forever in your memory. I was seven years old and a classmate had invited me to his birthday party. I was already a great enthusiast of comic books (especially Wayne Boring's Superman and Carl Barks' duck tales, which I still love), and after eating cake I began to search among the birthday boy's comics to see if there were some I hadn't read. Then I saw something I'd never seen before. It was a comic book with incredible characters and drawings that came alive on the page; with a villain that, unlike anything I had read before, seemed able to kill the heroes, and with eyes (I'll never forget those eyes) that exuded evil through his iron mask. The heroes were the Fantastic Four, the villain Doctor Doom and the comic book FF #39-40 (every Spanish issue printed two American comic books). And there was more; the FF headquarters, a building full of technological wonders in the middle of New York, was being controlled by that incredible villain called Doom. The FF, by the look of it, usually had some incredible superpowers (in those issues they had lost them) like I'd never imagined (a man made of fire, a man made of rocks!).
But beyond all that, what really impressed me most was the tragic and tortured figure of Ben Grimm; a man that finally freed himself from his own Mr. Hyde, only to have to come back to him voluntarily, knowing that there was no going back, for the purpose of saving his teammates from death. His final battle with Doom is one of the comic book passages that has moved me most in my entire life. I still remember his words while trying to free himself from Doom's gravity-gizmo: "Creetelo, Muerte, tan solo creetelo!" ("Believe it, Doom, you just believe it!"). It is one of those sentences that you just can't forget. At the end, Ben leaves his teammates, just before Reed and Sue's wedding. I had to read how it continued!
I remember how, while I was reading the comic, some of my classmates were telling me to stop reading and play with them, but it was impossible. Kirby's magic had already put a spell on me.
That afternoon, the boy whom the party was for received a lot of presents, but I'm sure that none was as wonderful as the one I received. I was given a universe. A universe filled with endless wonders. Jack Kirby's universe.
Other Kirby Translations, by Tristan LapoussireItaly: Fantastic Four and Captain America were published bi-weekly from the 1970s onwards, and in gorgeous giant editions in the early '80s, published by Editoriale Corno. Kamandi got his own title in the mid-1970s, with Kirby's New Gods and Sandman as back-ups. Black Panther was a back-up in the regular edition of FF.
Portugal: Distri Editora, in the early eighties, published early episodes of Hulk and Thor in their own titles, their first publication in this country! No FF, no Captain America. Unlike Spain, translating seems very inactive in Portugal.
Greece: Marvel comics were translated in the late 1970s (transcribed from the Greek alphabet) by Kabanas Hellas. Kirby material included Black Panther, The Eternals (as a back-up to Star Wars), and 2001: A Space Odyssey among others.
Turkey: Marvel comics were translated in the early eighties by Alfa Yayinlari in black-&-white digest-sized books. Some Kirby may have been included.
French translations were read in other French-speaking countries (Switzerland, Belgium) and were shipped, at one time, to North-African French-speaking countries (Morocco, Tunisia), and even to Canada (which had its own translations by les Editions Heritage).
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