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Rip Kirby, Vol. 4: 1954-1956 Hardcover – August 9, 2011
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About the Author
Alex Raymond (1909-1956) is regarded, with Milton Caniff and Hal Foster, as one of the three giants of newspaper adventure strip artists. Raymond apprenticed with Chic Young on Blondie, and Lymon Young on Tim Tyler's Luck. The year 1934 was a major turning point in his career: he illustrated X-9, a new detective comic strip written by Dashiell Hammett, and then created Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim. Rip Kirby, created in 1946, signaled a grand departure, both thematically and artistically, from the science fiction classic. He promulgated a new art style—one of cinematic photo-realism—that influenced such artists as Stan Drake, Leonard Starr, Al Williamson, and Neal Adams.
Top customer reviews
It's not completely unfair to complain that there are some shoddy reproductions here; that is somewhat true of most of the first story (some areas a little light and others a little dark) and the beginning of the second, but even those sections are completely readable. The rest of the art, with a few exceptions, is reproduced perfectly. The stories, attributed to Fred Dickenson, are somewhat predictable and occasionally pretty soapy in a '50s-action-hero style:
Chapter 1, "Stark Night of the Soul" (04/19-07/10 1954), presents former film-star Byron Delight planning a comeback by hitching himself to rising star Pagan Lee. Unfortunately Delight has aroused the passions of a number of females, including a femme fatale.
Chapter 2, "Two Men and a Baby" (07/12-12/25 1954), has Desmond, Rip's butler, left holding the baby while leftists hold the parents. Rip and Desmond slip behind the iron curtain in the hope of ringing down the curtain on tyranny.
Chapter 3: "The Eyes of Kismet Kildare" (12/27/1954 -04/09/1955) are on Rip, as the attractive artist feels her father was framed and wants Rip to get the picture. When Rip realizes someone is substituting fakes for old-master artwork, Kismet's fate may be sealed.
Chapter 4, "Carno's Carnivores" (04/11 - 07/09 1955), finds Rip getting an offer he can't refuse: protecting the daughter of an animal trainer from a certain Snake and his murderous mate.
Chapter 5, "Hep to the Jive" (07/11 - 09/24 1955), has brassy Ma Casino asking Rip to go undercover to find the robbers preying on her casino clientele. Rip scores when lovely lounge-singer Lenore Lillis changes her tune once the accompaniment turns murderous.
Chapter 6: "The Laugh's on Giggles" (09/26 - 11/26 1955) when boorish tv comedian Giggles Magee plans to force beautiful dancer Joan Turner to marry him, only to run afoul of sentimental bookie "Necktie" and his backup, the Bowery Four.
Chapter 7, "Brain vs. Brawn" (11/28/1955 - 02/18/1956), is Rip pitted against ne'er-do-well "Brawn" Adair in a search for another possible heir to Adair's late great-uncle's millions. Although long-lost granddaughter Sari has life plans of her own, Brawn plans to put an end to them.
Chapter 8: "Double in Diamonds" (02/20 - 1956-05/19) begins with Rip's nemesis "the Mangler" meeting a man with the misfortune to be nearly his double - and to have told the Mangler too much about his daughter and his diamonds. The Mangler's misfortune is that after meeting daughter Angela she suspects something is amiss, and hires Rip to find out what.
Chapter 9: "Zero Tolerance" (05/21 - 07/28 1956) is what Rip's favorite model "Honey" Dorian experiences when she makes her own alteration to couture that a couple of intercontinental crooks wanted run from a foreign runway.
Chapter 10, "Cat Amoungst the Pigeons" (07/30 -10/20 1956), finds Desmond approached by a colleague whose cat-fancying employer, heiress Hettie Hilton, is the target of a pair of pseudo-scientific swindlers. Raymond's final strip work ends with his signature dated 9-29; Prentice smoothly and practically unnoticeably completes the story from October 1st to the 20th.
Alex Raymond was a master of pen-(and brush-)and-ink. In the introduction, graphic-art historian Brian Walker describes Raymond's "signature style" as "... combining delicate pen lines with bold brush strokes, Raymond depicted his characters in dramatic profile and dynamic action and placed them in a variety of locales ranging from atmospheric cityscapes to exotic natural environments.
I was just surprised that I did not get the reddish color like the book advertisement has... My book had blue cover. I had to recheck that I got the right one!
This being the fourth and last volume of Alex Raymond's classic Rip Kirby stories includes strips from April 19, 1954 through September 29, 1956. Because of the death of the illustrator, these strips end suddenly. This final collection contains the conclusion to Raymond's ultimate story, which is drawn by John Prentice, from October 1 through October 20, 1956. If you are Rip Kirby fan, you need to get this last collection!
The reproduction is also on par with previous volumes, adequate overall with a few weak spots with lines dropping out. The introduction discusses the circumstances of Raymond's death and the strip's continuing with John Prentice.
I'm sad to see this series end. Is there any reason not to continue into the John Prentice years to see if interest hold up? Prentice must have had much to recommend him if his longevity on the strip is any indication.
Highly recommended. I could (and have) read Rip Kirby all day long.
All four of these Alex Raymond books are must haves if you appreciate graphic novels and good illustrations. Raymond was at his best here, with nicely detailed scenes in the fog, castle dungeons, and on the sea standing out above the rest, but even panels showing characters in a discussion convey much more than dialogue in the progression of movement from one pane to the next.
This volume will provide hours of quality reading, especially for those who take time to visually enjoy the details of the scene. It's not mandatory to begin with volume 1, this book can be read on its own merit, but I recommend reading all of them in order.
John Prentice took over the last episode due to Raymond's untimely death. The transition was seamless, so I ordered volume 5 to see how Prentice does with a variety of scenery and locales. I can't see myself wanting to part with this book. I'll read it again.
Most recent customer reviews
As usual the Amazon's Service is almost perfect. Everything is clear before proceeding to the purchase.
This book is definitely the best work of Alex Raymond.
Waiting for the vol.5
I reccomend this product.