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i was looking for the lowest rated piece here and came across this.
can't say i rated it any higher than were it was...
such a lurid title/concept...i kinda like the collage, but not something i'd want hanging on the wallz.
…and it wasn't meant to be hung on a wall. It was meant to be the Contents Page of a magazine. I'm still a bit surprised by Carmine Infantino's decision not to publish this magazine, based on moral objections, and I really have to wonder if he even read the stories it contained. While it's true that divorce was a controversial topic at the time (and still is to some degree), I think Kirby's handling of the subject matter was exceptionally objective and mature in these stories and deserved to be seen.
One could guess that Carmine's catholic italian ascendance may have influenced his decision?
Despite Kirby's interesting handling of the subject, I'm not fond of the concept and I'm glad Carmine didn't give a go for it because I'd rather get more action/adventures packed stories from Kirby!
I mean, I agree that Infantino's Catholic background must have been what prompted him to reject the magazine, but I certainly don't think Kirby should have put it aside in favor of still more action/adventure stories. I love superheroes as much as anyone, but there were already enough of those and not nearly enough of other genres -- particularly something like this, which had never before been explored in such an interesting and sensitive fashion in comics.
Kirby was the King of ALL genres of comics, including romance, and the stories in this magazine were particularly mature and well-crafted, so I think they definitely should have been published and not to do so was yet another lost opportunity to push the medium forward. One of the problems with American comics (unlike Japanese and European comics) is the overemphasis on superheroes, to the exclusion of nearly everything else -- and it's one of the reasons American comics are now selling so badly.
If comics are ever going to grow up, they need to embrace more mature subject matter handled in a more mature fashion -- which this issue would have done, without sacrificing any of the drama the audience had come to expect from creators like Kirby. And again, I'm not knocking superheroes, I'm just saying that comics are capable of telling other types of stories just as well -- particularly when they're done by talented people. Like they say, variety is the spice of life, and the fact is that in the late forties and early fifties, when American comics had the most variety in terms of subject matter, they also had their best sales EVER.
It's interesting to speculate what would have happened if Kirby had presented this magazine to Martin Goodman instead of DC. Knowing Goodman's penchant for publishing sensationalistic material, I'm quite certain he would have accepted it in a heartbeat. In fact, I'd be willing to bet his only objection would be that the stories weren't nearly sleazy enough!
John, let's not deprive Infantino of some business practices credit. His catholic background might have played a role but I believe, business wise, he saw in Kirby's concept a major flaw: It's a niche inside the romance niche market with a very narrow potential readership. Is it so surprising that DC Comics, a major publisher, didn't bother to give a try?
As for diversity and mature reading, I come from a place where the superheroe genre (and market dominance in USA) is still seen as an oddity, at best. As much as I trust Kirby's ability to craft many great stories out of this subject matter, it could have benefitted from a broader scope and a wider audience!
If I were Kirby's editor, I would try first to help him maximise his creation's market potential; working from inside, Kirby could have touched on more mature subjects within other genres.
Why confine this subject in a niche? What's wrong with adventures? (By the way, speaking of adventures, I wasn't pointing at superheroes)
What's wrong in using more successful genres as a springboard and get a chance to push the enveloppe?
If a publisher wants to break new ground, he has to try new things. That's what Simon and Kirby did for Crestwood in the late forties with YOUNG ROMANCE, and romance subsequently became the best-selling genre in all of comics. But by the early seventies, its popularity had faded greatly and part of the reason was because no one had ever tried to expand the genre beyond the types of stories they had been doing twenty years prior. With this magazine and its (also unpublished) companion, SOUL LOVE, Kirby was trying to do just that. He should have been given the opportunity.
As far as the editorial direction of Kirby's black-and-white magazines was concerned, I've always been of the opinion that there should have been just one magazine, published in an ongoing anthology format, in order to accommodate all the different ideas Kirby wanted to explore. In that way, each issue could have been devoted to a different theme. So, for example, we could have had an issue of gangsters, followed by an issue of mystery/horror stories, followed by an issue of romance, followed by an issue of sword and sorcery, followed by an issue of science fiction, or whatever Jack felt like doing. And he would have had the freedom to revisit any of those concepts any time his mood, or the sales, dictated it. Since the two published mags were promoted as part of a larger "Speak Out!" series, I think that actually would have been a great title for DC to use for such an ongoing anthology publication: SPEAK OUT! Magazine.
I realize this is all relatively unimportant now, since it's all past history and what's done is done; but I really believe Kirby's ideas for magazine-format comics would have been far more successful if DC had been more willing to stand behind his efforts.
As interesting as any Kirby's stories could be (nothing much to argue against this statement, isn't it?) he was trying to break new ground by digging a tiny niche inside a genre that wasn't in fashion anymore. I don't foresee a long future for a comic that relies on such a narrow concept. On the other end, yes it could have been interesting to address this subject matter in an anthology comic magazine or within other genres.
As for DC, they lured Kirby away from Marvel hoping to repeat his success at the House of Jack's ideas.
They probably merely wanted instant hits with new superheroes comics!
No wonder they didn't seem to care for Jack's ideas to expand comics format and genres outside the superheroes.