Review by Woodrow Phoenix
If you asked Marvel comics aficionados to pick one comic to represent Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s best work, you wouldn’t lose a dime betting they would all name Fantastic Four. Kirby’s run on this title introduced an incredible number of concepts and characters. Almost all of them went on to become key parts of the Marvel universe, so one Artist’s Edition was never going to be enough to showcase all the good stuff. This second collection of original Kirby FF comics pages goes one better than the first by being twice the size. Pre-1968 comics art was produced at much larger 15″ x 22″ (381 x 550 mm) dimensions, allowing artists to get plenty of detail into their pages and this enormous volume is incredibly impressive when opened to massive spreads of Kirby art.
Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four The World’s Greatest Artist’s Edition contains high-resolution reproductions of the original art pages for four complete stories: Fantastic Four 33, inked by Chic Stone, and issues 45, 47 and 60 inked by Joe Sinnott. It also includes twenty-one covers for assorted FF issues between 40 and 74, the cover of Not Brand Ecch issue one, and fifty-five additional interior pages from FF issues between 3 and 65, inked by Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Sol Brodsky, Steve Ditko, Frank Giacoia and Wally Wood. The fold-outs include two truly enormous pin-ups of Doctor Doom (see sample spread) and the Fantastic Four, for Marvelmania, Marvel’s 1960s fan magazine. There’s even one of Kirby’s amazing photographic mixed-media collages. Sadly, that is the only page in this collection not shot from the original art, yet it’s still wonderful to see at this scale.
The features include an introduction by Joe Sinnott who reflects on their decade-long collaboration and names his favourite of all the issues of Fantastic Four that he and Kirby worked on together. It’s all great, skilful and almost impossibly inventive artwork and at this giant size the energy these pages give off could power your house for days. Do you love superhero comics? Just buy this. ‘Nuff said!