Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Newsstand: November 1981

In addition to the second and third issues of Dragonslayer and Raiders of the Lost Ark, I see that November, 1981 saw the arrival of Jack Kirby's Captain Victory #1, the first comic from brand-new publisher Pacific Comics. I probably didn't buy this the moment it came out, but I'm pretty sure I bought it before issue two was published. So I'm counting it as a comic I bought when it was new.

This would probably have been my first real exposure to Jack Kirby's work, at least with me being aware of his name being connected to it. My recollection is that I found it exciting, but also kind of weird. I felt he drew his heads too square. I also remember thinking that he put quotation marks around words for no apparent reason, and his dialogue overall was kind of silly compared to what I was used to at that point.

Today, when I read some of his other almost-contemporary writing (in the pages of Losers or Kamandi) I can see that, while idiosyncratic, it has a great deal of urgency and energy to it. His art also has a certain bold, in-your-face quality that, while not as nuanced as his work from the 60s, moves across the page like nothing else.

Ultimately, the Jack Kirby from this period onwards is my Jack Kirby. When I think of his work, I appreciate what he did in the pages of Marvel comics in the 60s, and I still adore his work from the 70s. But the first stuff that pops to mind is the stuff that was brand new when I was just becoming a fan. My Jack Kirby is the man who created Captain Victory and Silver Star. My Jack Kirby is the artist of the soon-to-be-reprinted Super Powers comics based on the toys.

While these characters and others have been revived recently, I wish someone would reprint Captain Victory. I don't have those issues any more, and would love to reread them.

In a number of ways, I think finding Captain Victory #1 on the counter of Comics and Comix on Telegraph Avenue may have been the real starting point for my comics collecting days. Not only was it the first issue of a new series, but it was the first issue published by a new publisher. Knowing that gave this issue a certain sense of moment and weight when I bought it. It would have been the first time I bought a comic for reasons other than it featured a familiar character.

So, yeah, this was probably it. This was probably where it all began.