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Jack Kirby's New Gods Paperback – December 1, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; Cmc edition (December 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563893851
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563893858
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,227,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The first time I read this book, I found it a bit boring. I'm not saying it was unreadable, but the style of writing is old-fashioned and Kirby uses many cliches and conventions that seem out of place today. But somehow, when I re-read it about a year later, I found that it is one of the best 70s comics I have ever read, on par with Thomas and Buscema's Conan, Wein and Wrightson's Swamp Thing, Howard the Duck, O'Niel and Adams' Batman and other classic stories of the period. I don't know how to explain it, but my oppinion of it changed drastically. With the exception of the story The Pact (also Kirby's favourite story) I found it much more entertaining the second time.
Anyway, New Gods is important to have if you are a DC fan simply for its historical importance. Here is where such classic characters as Darkseid, Orion, Desaad, Mister Miracle, Lightray, Highfather and dozens of others got their start. Kirby created New Genesis and Apokalips (no this is not a spelling mistake) as a complete world unto itself but tied to the DC Universe. Similer to JRR Tolkein's work, it has different races of inhabitants, each with its own physical and cultural characteristics and histories. Such a feat should not be underappreciated because it clearly took a lot of work on his part to create such a complete concept. It usually takes years and a variety of creators for comic myths to grow into what they are today (look at Superman and Batman for example) but Kirby did it virtually on his own and in a very short period of time. I think that the word "genius" is overused, but there is no other way to describe Kirby. He was a comic book genius.
His arwork, though dated, retains a unique charm and its easy to see how many current artists continue to be influenced by his work.
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Format: Paperback
I wrote previously (down below somewhere) that this book was reproduced in black & white because of the limitations of reprinting color comics, and I still believe that's true. However, I wrote what I did before I bought the actual book. Now that I have one in hand, I can see that not only did DC print this in black & white (which would be fine), they printed it on poor, old-fashioned comic book, newsprint-style paper. And they added monochrome benday-dot washes to approximate the original colors. And it looks pretty lousy.
The poor paper is bad enough. By the time this was printed in 1998 we as a species knew enough to treat comics with some measure of respect. I've got a first edition trade paperback of Frank Miller's "Ronin" on beautiful bright white paper printed in 1987, over ten years earlier. Once again, the industry is giving Jack Kirby short shrift.
The coloring job is pretty poor, too. If only this had been reprinted in line art from the original inks, on real paper, it would have been really great. As it is, only the art and story -- all Kirby, flaws and brilliance intact -- make this a worthwhile buy.
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Format: Paperback
picardfan007 complains that this book is in black & white; I thought I'd explain what I know about this, which I learned reading an interview with John Totleben which I can't find right now.
Before the mid-1980s or so, comics were colored for a certain kind of printing press. After comics switched to new printing processes, the old presses were mostly destroyed. The only color for older comics like Jack Kirby's exists in the form of plates for these old presses; since they don't exist any more, the original color art cannot be reproduced.
And you probably wouldn't want them to be printed that way anyway, because, let's face it, old comics were printed pretty poorly.
The only solution is to re-color the entire comic, which Marvel has done with some of its Masterworks series. It's probably expensive and difficult to get someone to re-create the color schemes for these old comics, so it's only done with high-profile titles (the Incredible Hulk comes to mind).
Titles like Kirby's New Gods and Moore, Bissette, and Totleben's Swamp Thing get released in black & white. I personally think they're better for it.
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Format: Paperback
....Jack Kirby's much ballyhooed, much anticipated move to the Marvel Universe's arch competitors--DC Comics--was an event that shook the entire comic fandom world. The question most asked--could King Kirby succeed without the scripting of his Marvel comics co-conspirator, Stan Lee?
These great stories from his DC tenure showed that he obviously could.
These are a bit reminescent of his own Silver Surfer stories done for Marvel and the great 'Star Wars' franchise (before it was even a franchise)...without the universe consuming demigods and laser sabres. They are stories of the evil Darkseid and his minions trying to imprison the forces of good--fought and frontlined by his battlescarred, motherboxed, boomtubed son, Orion. They are fabuloso stories. In recent times a brief exposure to his Fourth World series was done in the WB cartoon series "Superman".
Kirby, alas, was unable to develop his dream universe at DC--my opinion is because of the dreaded "industry think" of the comics at the time. No profit, no PR, no support. And so, one can detect a faltering of the quality and the confidence this great series promised. One of the things I did notice was that when Superman was sketched in his great Jimmy Olsen series, the powers that be always redid the Man of Steel's face by some other in house artist like Al Plastino or Curt Swan or Anderson. (This practice did produce some stunning covers by Kirby and fan favorite Neal Adams--I think I also saw a stunning drawing by Kirby and Barry Winsor-Smith.) But overall fan reaction was "How dare they mess with the King?" Yeah--HOW DARE THEY?
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