Friday, January 17, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 17: The Mountain of Judgment

Say, what is this Mountain of Judgment, anyway?

Panels from Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, most Superman and Jimmy Olsen faces re-pencilled and inked by Al Plastino, letters by John Costanza

Oh...okay, well, that's helpful, Guy who looks like Ben Grimm as Blackbeard. Thank you so very much.

Jimmy Olsen and the new Newsboy Legion are setting off in the Whiz Wagon (entry to come sometime this year, you betcha!) to face the incredible terror of the Mountain of Judgment! So, now would be a good time to let them know exactly what is it, don't you think?

Panels from Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, most Superman and Jimmy Olsen faces re-pencilled and inked by Al Plastino, letters by John Costanza

Man, those are the most cryptic Hell's Angels ever. We better get you guys a job writing riddles for Gollum.

Anyway, where Jimmy goes, trouble follows...and, luckily for him, so does Superman! what with his re-drawn face an' everything

So this, then, is the


(Click picture to mountain-size)


The Mountain of Judgment is actually a gigantically massive rolling tank-slash-city that dwarves the Whiz Wagon, and swallows it like the whale swallowed Jonah or I have to swallow my gum when the teacher asks me if I have gum in my mouth and if I have brought enough for the whole class. (No and no.)

Geez, those tires must be a pain to change on the side of the highway.

It's home and command center to the Hairies, a gang of hyper-evolved hippies created by the Cadmus Project, a super-secret science research organization devoted to putting delicious milk chocolate in both bar and egg form. Oh, wait, excuse me, I've made another one of my silly mistakes. That's the Cadbury Project.

Inside the Mountain of Judgment, there are technologically superior visi-screens of all shapes and sizes to observe! And that guy on the lower left is working on his novel. When you're a Hairy, you're a Hairy all the way!

Also, they have a cafeteria.

Jimmy Olsen #142 has a dandy two-page backup feature detailing the ins and out of the Mountain of Judgment. Seriously, I want to repost the entire feature here, but you should go out and get yourself a copy on your own. Everybody needs a Kirby ish of Jimmy Olsen. Here, a hint of the M.o.J.'s "Sound Room," where the Hairies produce weird and spooky sounds to broadcast outside the giant vehicle to scare people away! Gee, I kinda think the giant demon dog head and body would do a pretty good job of that already. Also, I like to pretend that the Electric Light Orchestra has recorded albums in the Mountain's Sound Room.

Panels from "Hairie Secrets Revealed!!!" in Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971), script and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Vince Colletta, letters by John Costanza

So, what did readers think of the all-new, all-different Jimmy Olsen comic book?

Letter printed in Jimmy Olsen #136 (March 1971)

Well, let's chalk that letter up as another one of the you are wrong department. And here's a letter and answer which gives the "official" answer, at least, about why Kirby's faces on the more familiar characters of Supes and Jimmy were redrawn by Al Plastino. I myself find this answer unsatisfactory and insulting, and so did Jack. Honestly, all the stupid stuff that was pulled on Jack Kirby throughout his career is virtually a template for the way the work-for-hire system is deeply flawed, and that Kirby just didn't tell them all to go to Helena, Montana at any point, and kept giving us comic books, is a mixed blessing. On one hand we continued to get Kirby comic books; on the other hand...

But you can't keep such an awesome concept as a giant monster-shaped vehicle down. The Hairies, the Newsboy Legion, and the Mountain of Judgment return in post-Crisis on Infinite Earths chronology, making equally loud but perhaps not as eerie noises as pre-Crisis.

Panels from Superman Annual (1987 series) #2 (1988), script by Roger Stern, pencils by Ron Frenz, inks by Brett Breeding, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by John Costanza

I'm a big fan of the fact that in most of its appearances, the Mountain of Judgment is teased with a couple of panels at the bottom of one page, and then, turn the page, and BOOM! It's comin' right at you, the same way Kirby introduced it in Jimmy Olsen.

Panels from Superman (1987 series) #58 (August 1991); script and layouts by Dan Jurgens, finishes by Brett Breeding, colors by Glenn Whitmore, letters by John Costanza
(Click bottom panel to doorbuster-size)

Here's Superboy doing the same "WHA--" double-take to the sudden, full-page appearance of the Mountain of Fudge Judgment:

Panels from Superboy (1994 series) #60 (March 1999), script by Karl Kesel, pencils by Tom Grummett, inks by Karl Kesel, colors by Buzz Setzer, letters by Comicraft

Why, the Mountain of Judgment practically drives off the page right at you! PUT ON YOUR 3-D GLASSES NOW!

Page from Superman 3-D one-shot (December 1998); script by Louise Simonson; pencils by Neil Vokes; inks by Scott Koblish; colors by Glenn Whitmore; color separations by Digital Chameleon; 3-D separateuon effects by Ray Zone; letters by Ken Bruzenak

Luckily, such a grand concept as the Mountain of Judgment hasn't been forgotten in DC's New 52, despite its dilution of Jack Kirby's Fourth World characters and concepts. The megacarrier appears in the final pages of one of the most Kirbyesque titles of the New 52, the gone-too-soon OMAC, this time serving as the new mobile command of Checkmate (after OMAC destroyed the first one, of course).

I would entirely buy a Lionel H-O scale model train that looked like the Mountain of Judgment.

Play us off, psychedelic stoner/doom metal band Mountain of Judgement, spelled differently!


Delta said...

Wow: that is truly, truly weird.

On the one hand I'm outraged by the idea of someone covering up Kirby artwork. On the other hand, I'm somewhat intrigued at the prospect of "normal"-artist protagonists interacting with Kirby-drawn environments and enemies.

Smurfswacker said...

The MOJ more than anything demonstrates a key characteristic of Kirby's solo work. He was a volcano of ideas, spitting out concepts which more often than not he quickly discarded as he moved on to the next idea. Most of the "depth" to things like the MOJ was provided by later writers elaborating on Jack's basic concepts.

I don't mean this as a criticism; Jack's endless stream of new gadgets was exciting even if it meant some of them were underdeveloped. And you can bet few other writers of the time could have come up with so many outrageous ideas one after another.

Blam said...

Knew a guy who used to write some "tank-slash-city" fan fiction. Very niche market.