Kirby's Fifth(?) World

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #7, Pacific Comics, October 1982
As you may know, my recent re-discovery of Jack "The King" Kirby's Fourth World has made me loopy for the great master's work. He put an indelible stamp on superhero comics and his distinctive style remains to this day at once epic, cosmic, and grungy. Having said that, the 80s weren't so kind to him.

For example, Pacific Comics decided to give him some room and Captain Victory is pure Kirby. Or pure acid, if you ask me. Now, this is the only issue I have, so I won't pretend to understand the plot. Near as I can make out, this Captain Victory is a clone of the original who was killed last issue. He comes aboard, gives Kirby a chance to draw a few pin-ups of villains, like some insane Who's Who, and then bullies a recruit for half the page count. The best villain of the lot (or OF ALL TIME??), of course, is Paranex the Fighting Fetus:
An armored bad guy that has yet to be born! It doesn't talk, it doesn't do much of anything. But I guess it fights. If it doesn't by the next issue (which promises to "shrink your levis"), that would be a major letdown. All the antagonists seem to be similarly grotesque, in contrast to Captain Victory who has a bioootiful hairdo and is, according to one male staff member with his head squarely between some cloned cheeks, "hearty and handsome". The vain Captain seems overly obsessed with appearances, going to tell one female Ranger she's "rather young and pretty to be wearing this [a sinister question mark patch]". And later when faced with the masked "Bloody Marrien", he suspects that "she's very beautiful when she removes [it]".

Any doubt then as to why he would harass a recruit that looks like Humpty Dumpty?
Captain Victory may be the first metro character in comics, but he's not gay by any means. See?
He doesn't respond well to the touch of his second-in-command Martius Kalvus, who's as gay as they come. Don't believe me? (I'm acting like there are staunch Martius Kalvus fans out there.) The following is from the back-up strip showing his recruitment into the Galactic Rangers. Out in the military indeed.
And to hurt my already low enjoyment of this comic, there's something very wrong with the lettering. Enough that I feel obliged to mention it. The lettering here is a punctuational nightmare. First, the comic must feature the longest ellipses ever. Two dashes (--) usually means there's a pause in a character's speech, right? How about FOUR dashes? Overkill. If anyone ever spoke to me this way, I'd have left the room mid-conversation because I thought it was over. Maybe he's daydreaming about Martius between words (no, no he's not, he doesn't swing that way!). Then, there's an overuse of quotation marks. Everyone uses them in every sentence. And they're not even coherent. Now I'll go to my grave without knowing if "Quadrant X" or Quadrant "X" is the right usage. Finally, there's the way words are cut off when they hit speech balloon walls. You don't send a single syllable to the next line, that's just wrong and amateurish. And it wasn't even necessary in many cases (just cut an ellipse!). Here are a couple of the worst excesses...
...(including a 5-dash ellipse!):
So in truth, this is a case of "He's lost it, the old man!"


Anonymous said...

Sad thing is, I now kind of want to read it, but in a mocking way.

If Jack lost his mind could we actually tell in his writing?

I wish there were cheap versions of his 4th world stuff, Kamandi and the Eternals.

Siskoid said...

Truth be told, even when it seems like it's terrible, it's never boring, which is the worst sin a piece of entertainment can commit.

De said...

Jack was definitely losing it a bit toward the end there, but his incredibly vivid imagination is still very evident -- punctuation and dialogue oddities aside.

Stephen said...

the fighting fetus! wow i think that could fly in todays market


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