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Gents: this is, as the kids say, extremely my shit. Kirby's auteurist work of 1970s and 1980s is supremely fascinating, so I'm glad that you've tackled this rather than another dive into the corpus of Garth Innis. I think the bleakness you describe was pretty much a feature of all Kirby's work after DC pulled the plug on the the Fourth World series. I mean The Demon, Kamandi, Omac, the Losers, not to mention the Marvel books and Captain Victory, are all dystopian works about loneliness, defeat, and loss. there are rarely any victories in these books (the title Captain Victory is ironic since he dies so so often) -- at best battles are fought to a draw. Perseverance and survival are all to be hoped for.

More Kirby episodes: maybe something on the new Tomorrow books about Kirby's strange experiments (Dingbats, Soul Love, and the Divorce book).

This was a good one. Thanks for going deep on Kirby's 2001 comics. These were the first Kirby comics I read with a critical eye, understanding more of his experience as a creator for hire than what the marketed popular image of the Stan & Jack "dynamic duo" wilfully obscures. I actually found reading these comics for the first time a little sad, particularly in the way they, to my eye, abruptly ended their intended arc with issue 7 and then took a new direction that I read as a reluctant capitulation to what Marvel fans were demanding in the letters columns. Tucker, I'm with you in that I saw that Jerry kid as a definitive "fuck you" to stunted and entitled fans but, in reading perhaps too much into the trajectory of the letters columns across the series, I took the inclusion of this juvenile, glaringly obsequious and pro-superhero character as evidence of Kirby lashing out at his inability to break the shackles of a constrained superhero beat either because of editorial pressure or the need to serve the market to pay the bills (https://bit.ly/3gYzqU0). Having said that, by the time that the standalone 'Machine Man' series comes along I can't see any evidence of lingering animosity since Kirby appears to be back to his workmanlike commitment to turning out monthly superhero comics, albeit ones featuring screaming action and BIG concepts.

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