Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Very Jack Kirby St. Patrick's Day

   Well, well, well me fine buckos, it sure ‘tis a fine day to make a post after being absent from the blogging world since Valentine’s Day. The luck of the Irish must be with me, I reckon. Golly bejabbers and---Fuck it I can’t do this accent stuff. I’m just not in the mood.
 But what I’m always in the mood for is some Jack Kirby! And today being St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be fun to look at two Jack Kirby stories revolving around the wee folk. You know; the gentry, the fair folk, the kobolds, the Lucky Charms mascots: Leprechauns! They may not be the best stories Kirby ever gave us, but these two stories definitely are a step up from the last time I spotlighted a character inspired by Irish folklore!
 In the 18th issue of Simon & Kirby’s much-loved horror series Black Magic, readers were given a look at Leprechauns far afield from their usual depiction as fun-loving and helpful. Although it features one of the poorest lead in-captions I’ve ever seen, the Lep featured herein certainly lives up to the story’s title!
 Gotta love the weird characterizations of the hobo’s, and those are some pretty nasty fates that befall them for a comic that was considered tame enough to survive the code! Still, it’s really not too different from actual folklore about leprechauns, who could be scary little fuckers if something made them mad. I wonder why no one’s ever made a horror movie about a leprechaun? I think it could work fairly effectively if done well and wouldn’t come off as ridiculous and….
[And yet, I'm going to watch all those films tonight, even the "Hood" ones]
 The next Kirby story featuring leprechauns wasn’t quite as dark (Naturally, for it came out after the Code), then again, it does boast what is easily the creepiest splash page Kirby ever drew:
 Quite different from the various goofy Gooms and Monsteroso’s and other Muppet/Ray Harryhausen rejects Kirby was drawing for Marvel around this time, eh? The story itself is definitely more reminiscent of EC than anything else Marvel was doing.
 I also must pause at the bitter irony of how it’s taken me this long to bring up a story called “Quicksand” on a blog called “Out of the Quicksand”.
 Anyway, this story (from Tales to Astonish #32) featured two brothers who lived alone on a foggy English moor; the kindly, blind Geoffrey, and scheming, evil Edmund. Edmund decided to dispose of the trusting Geoffrey by tricking him into walking into a bog, so that he could inherit the estate:

 Pretty creepy build-up! Then things take a more fanciful turn:
 Well you can’t say he didn’t have it coming!
 While not one of Kirby’s more prominent obsessions, I still thought this look at Kirby’s two ventures into the realm of Irish folklore would be worth looking at, since the two stories feature two radically different depictions of the same creature, and the Code-approved story has the distinction of actually featuring the creepier artwork of the two! I may rag on some of Kirby’s fans, but never let it be said I rag on the man himself (Unless of course one of Kirby’s fan-nutters out there starts claiming that Kirby was the true creator of Daredevil and that the blind character Geoffrey was a prototype…).
 Kirby did draw a leprechaun one last time, although it would only be for a cover:
 It may be just a cover, but you gotta admit that’s one crazy image!
 Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Guinness to go vomit out now…

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