Wednesday, July 13, 2011
And now, classic Fantastic Four!! (And Big Secret Island) Celebrating San Diego Comic Con Week
Serendipity's wonderful. With my shirts and comics (DNA #1)ready to show to fans at the San Diego Comic Con, I thought I'd rest while possibly poking at some preview pages. I'm already busy with the Marc Kane on rehearsing songs of our own for the Stage It.com shows scheduled. I want to convince myself there's no pressure and just find myself creating it! I've decided what, but not all of exactly what, my goal for those pages is. Now: what's a way to relax, heading into the big week, something creatively stimulating?
At last, I pulled out my gift disk filled with archived Fantastic Four and Avengers comics. While I'm not presently working on super hero comics---Snow Leopard's a little close---it's hard to find a more universally-beloved example of the genre than the book that, together with Spider-Man by Steve Ditko, established the shape of commercial comic books for the next five decades. I just knew I wanted some Jack Kirby art to read, so I dug into the run after it's kicked off good and proper, opening the 1964 issues and starting with #22.
I was struck by the elements of humor, mystery and danger, all mixed into an adventure comic. Through the lens of our unique Integr8d Soul ideas, we make comics that way, too, and none more so than the Stuckwayze.
I imagine George Bell's inking is not for everyone, but Jack Kirby's figures, while well drawn and laid out, engage with each other's unusual powers, and express their own, with much personality. A cartoonishly humorous gag about the Thing's frustrated efforts to answer multiple complaining phone calls is a highlight, but while the Fantastic Four seem thrown off-balance by multiple complaints and harassments, little do we suspect the adventure's already under way! You see, it's all part of a plan to coerce the foursome out to a big secret island off the Jersey coast---a piece of potential real estate, possibly a new headquarters.
What they can't know is that their foe the Mole Man survived the battle in their very first encounter, and here he plans their doom, while setting into operation a most under-handed scheme to confuse the Cold War powers, the Soviets and the United States, into war---over vanishing cities.
It seems an absurd stretch? (Take it up with Mr. Fantastic.) I suppose it's difficult to characterize the suspicion between those nations, particularly in matters of bizarre technology. Just think about the race to Space, won by the Soviets before the U.S. knew it was declared, and our response to race to the Moon. Remember, a Moon launch inspired the rocket with which Stan and Jack gave the quartet their powers!
Anyway: I just happened to be drawing my preview based on the Stuckwayze comic drawn early this year: a journey to a mysterious island full of technological secrets, begun with a comical flair, disguising how an over-arching plan has been put into effect. To return to Kirby's comics and the Stux on the same day, to such serendipity, gave me a feeling of things neatly fitting into place from the chaos of life that brought it to us.
Now, my first comics preview will begin, decided by coin flip, with the Stuckwayze, an angsty-looking, skinny race of humanoids, whose story is explored by one of their own, Ogie Johnson, when he finds unexplained cash in the bank and decides to seek out his best friend Willie, and together, explore Big Secret Mountain. (The entire story's drawn in roughs; sitting down with this preview will be the beginning of converting it and other new material into STUX #1, debuting in September). I took most of my idea from a comic I drew as a kid, characters essentially made by my sister and I, growing up. As I drew and wrote that summer, the earliest issues of MACHINE MAN inspired my text page, as IRON MAN #63-66 were also often on the table with me, there at Brenda's Place, my parents' restaurant in Shannon.
Jack Kirby loved a good hidden race, himself, and his work as I know it---and I've not nearly read all the best of it---was a guiding light in making an odyssey for Ogie and Willie, today. (They were not the original P.o.V. characters in UGLIES #1.)
I have to note FF #22 was also the debut of Sue Storm's invisible force field powers, and also is where she began making other items invisible (which, if she was invisible, made her visible) as well as invisible objects, visible. Her expanded powers immediately come into play against the Mole Man, who can't activate his doomsday device in front of his captives and can't visibly detect why he can't just push the darn button!
I enjoyed the creative usage of everyone's powers and the different traps; this was still the Fantastic Four formula for many early issues, so while we are about to enter an era of fun, inter-locking references to other Marvel heroes and titles and a high energy carousel of storylines that overlap and intertwine, we are hitting the time when the original team, the original lee/ kirby formula, feeling their creative way, begins to change and grow.
Listen, I'm still figuring out integr8dsoul.com, but meanwhile, you can do what Jason (and Aimee!) have done. In Jason's case, he sent us $9 at
Cecil L. Disharoon
542 6th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
which was really cool as it covers shipping and handling, at $1.25 each! The issue itself, DNA #1, retails for $3.25.
Meanwhile, our remaining t-shirts are available at Convention Special Price, for $12 each or 2 for $20, plus $5.00 for shipping & handling.
You can do the same over PayPal, at firstname.lastname@example.org !!!
AND!! You can use the button provided; the $15 will cover your postage.