Mark Evanier long-time friend and collaborator of the late Jack Kirby, and the world’s foremost authority of the man and his work, has been working on a comprehensive biography for years. Recognising that this book will be huge, as well as expensive and perhaps hard to market to a broader audience, he has put out an abbreviated, coffee-table version, Kirby — King of Comics, which is to serve simultaneously as a primer on Kirby to a general audience and and lavishly-produced art book showcasing a representative selection of the best of Kirby’s vast oeuvre.
This is a good idea. Kirby’s work is not only experiencing something of a popular renaissance by proxy through the newly-minted, goldlined silverscreen incarnations of his creations, but seems entirely ripe for a broader reassessment as a major artist of the 20th Century. This is a well-timed book, but how well does it succeed? Less well than one would have hoped, unfortunately.