164 | Tom Scioli (Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics)

My Summer Lair Chapter #164: Does Jack Kirby’s Real Life Reveal A Grand Design?

Welcome comic book writer and artist Tom Scioli. Based in Pittsburgh two of his recent projects recognize and explore the fantastic imagination of Jack King Kirby. 

The first project is Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics which is an outstanding Jack Kirby biography slash graphic novel that in some ways mirrors Captain America’s origins: Scrappy kid born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, draws well (people often forget Steve Rogers was a commercial artist for a time: yes I know he’s not a real person), gets drafted, fights in World War II and comes home victorious. Only when he returns to comic books Jack Kirby was successful though not victorious. 

It’s difficult to calibrate an authentic Jack Kirby opinion: he mined his rich imagination and gifted us so many stunning visuals and enduring characters. The rich soil of the Marvel Universe from which we’d decades later would happily harvest as the MCU. But he was also work for hire which was standard at the time even though what Simon and Kirby and especially Lee and Kirby were doing was not standard.  

Which bring us to the second Tom Scioli project related to Jack Kirby: Fantastic Four: Grand Design.  As Tom astutely writes in the first issue: “The history of the Fantastic Four is the history of the Marvel Universe.” Indeed!

Like Ed Piskor’s stunning X-Men: Grand Design that preceded it…Fantastic Four: Grand Design is a seamless blending of decades of Fantastic Four continuity into one long astonishing story. That yes tells the history of the Marvel Universe. Fantastic Four introduced us to Black Panther, Inhumans and so many other characters including a giant world eater and his silver assistant with a surfboard. 

So like the Challengers of the Unknown another Jack Kirby creation let’s cannonball into these excellent projects with comic book writer and artist and supa dupa nerd Tom Scioli. 

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Tom Scioli @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday December 10, 2020 at 1:30pm (EST)

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