Saturday, October 03, 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Jack Kirby's Monsters! Night Three: I'm Pretty Sure I Can Prove Jack Kirby Saw King Kong

Tonight, "I'm Pretty Sure I Can Prove Jack Kirby Saw King Kong!" But you may have realized that already from the title.

Except he substituted a turtle.

Cover of Tales to Astonish #1 (January 1959), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Christopher Rule, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

Ape,, pretty much exactly the same thing.

As further "proof," short of asking the notoriously swiss-cheese brain of Stan Lee if Jack saw "King Kong," let's dash over to Wikipedia™, "The Dictionary That Put That Annoying World Book Kid Out of Business." Bold text is mine!
King Kong was sold to television after the conclusion of the 1956 release. One channel in New York showed the film seventeen times in a single week, with each showing topping the ratings.
Kirby's full authorship of this script is still a question mark (literally, on the comic's GCD index page), but comics scholar and indexer Nick Caputo proposes it is a script by Kirby. (If it isn't, just take all the references to Kirby seeing King Kong in this post and change them to Stan Lee, okay?) And considering the similarities not just of plot and that "ninth wonder" blurb, but also of visual imagery ('specially in that gate sequence/cover above), I'm bettin' Jack Kirby saw it more than once. While smokin' cigars.

Anyway, to continue on from the other night's exciting saga of giant clams, "We Found the Ninth Wonder of the World!" opens with this thrilling scene of a massive, apparently already-cooked red lobster! Diggin' the oversized seafood motif, Jack! If I hadn't read in the GCD index that you wrote these, I'da guessed they were penned by Shelly the Little Otter Puppet!

Splash panel of "We Found the Ninth Wonder of the World!" in Tales to Astonish #1 (January 1959), script (?) and pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Christopher Rule, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

Say, does that panicky guy in the lower left-hand corner running away from death by clawsection remind you of anyone?

Like King Kong, the story all begins with a three-hour cruise, and there's even more giant aquatic life on the table; in this case, a giant albino starfish. Although Professor Briggs claims it's a four-foot starfish, we can easily see he doesn't know much about his own business. It's clearly a starfish with five feet.

And also, Kirby fans: does Professor Briggs remind you of anyone else in comics?

Panel from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #10 (January 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

The sudden appearance of a geodesic dome rising from the sea frightens the men into sheer, pants-wetting panic over the imminent attack of the Montreal World's Fair Expo '67 Dome! As Expo '67 would not be created for over eight years, this proves the startling originality and prescience of Jack Kirby as a futurist and a guy who borrowed the plot and visuals of a movie from 25 years before.

Stranded on an uncharted island, kidnapped by "savages," dragged off towards a gigantic wooden fence, yadda yadda yadda — hey, remember that big gate from King Kong, as also seen on the cover of Tales to Astonish #1? Well, a great gate deserves another encore!

Luckily for the hapless crew of the SS Schmenture, Professor Exposition is on hand to give us all the necessary backstory! And he'd better hurry up too — they've all already journeyed four pages into a seven-page story!

Oh, just release the Kraken Kong turtle already, huh guys?

Time and page count are runnin' out pretty fast, so instead of bringing Ting Tong back to New York, the Captain just fantasizes about it. Yeah, I'm guessing he saw that movie seventeen times on WOR's Million Dollar Movie, too. Let's compare and contrast the scenes, shall we?

Then, in the next panel, Captain Kane, False-Face, and Professor Parker escape thanks to a gratuitous motorboat ex machina! Thus was born that day the phrase "Well, isn't that conveeeeenient."


This first appearance of the scientist named Parker in this Atlas-era story was merely a teaser for the Marvel Age that was yet to come. Because that man later turned out to be...Spider-Man's dad.*

Panels from Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964 series) #5 (November 1968), script by Stan Lee, pencils by John Romita Sr. (top) and Larry Lieber (bottom?), inks by Mike Esposito, letters by Artie Simek

There you have it! Pretty-near definite proof that at one point or another Jack Kirby saw King Kong at some point between 1933 and 1959 and figgered he could make turtle soup out of it. Well, whatever you may say about Experiment 247 and his big brother Experiment XYZ, you can't deny the fact that they are two of Jack Kirby's Monsters!

So, King Kong, what do you think about tonight's blog post?

*No he didn't.


BatmanisBw said...

Posts like these make me laugh ;)

Blam said...

Geez. Even when Peter was a baby, Aunt May was 103 years old.

Michael Jones said...

Also the ever-prognostic Kirby predicted the arrival of Gamera, 6 years before his debut.