A King-Sized Collection for the King of Comics

This book is king-size and great-looking. The book and slipcase weigh 19.6 lbs (Taschen 75 Years of Marvel with case is 15.8 lbs. The comparisons are inevitable). The book alone is 17.8 lbs. For comparison, the Taschen book is 14.6 lbs. The case is very sturdy with gorgeous Eternals artwork on the back. The Slipcase ships in a sturdy shipping container with King-Size Artwork gracing it. (I admit it — I’m saving mine). Three of the books feature Jack Kirby artwork! (I have Kirby Omniboo but no Oversized Hardcovers).

Comparing King-Size Shipping container to Taschen 75 Years of Marvel case, Daredevil Oversize Hardcover, and standard-sized hardcover, one of the best Masterworks, Thor Vol 7
Sturdy slipcase with gorgeous wrapped cover artwork. More Jack Kirby goodness!

Reading the stories this size takes me back to the Treasury Editions. I remember my first exposure to the Mangog story was through Treasury Edition #10. Similarly with the Galactus Trilogy and TE #2 and the Captain America Bicentennial Stories in the Treasury Special Edition. This publication is 13×20 with a thin 1.25″ colored border in Kirby Krackle (Treasury Editions were 10×14). I measure the artwork area to be 10×15 in King-Size.

From King-Size Kirby, story from Strange Tales #94 “I was a Decoy for Pildorr the Plunderer from Outer Space”. Cover artwork by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. Interior artwork by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
From King-Size Kirby, Fantastic Four #50, “This Man, This Monster” artwork by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

Another flourish I love with this collection are the color coded page borders (see images). From the top, bottom or side, it makes this huge tome easy to navigate and select a story arc or time period (Fantastic Four stories have a border in FF Blue, Sgt Fury has olive drab, Atlas Monsters are in Atomic Orange, Golden Age are in Gold, etc.) The border is thin and does not take away from the artwork while making navigation very easy. (though, unlike the Taschen book, there is no bookmark sewn in.)

Most of the artwork looks fantastic and really showcases Kirby’s powerful, “bursting out of the panel” artwork. For the most part, the selection is excellent.

Of course, everyone will have a story or two they wish was included: I wish that the Vision story, “The Werewolf!” from Marvel Mystery #14 was included. Also the Hurricane story from Captain America Comics 1 and 2 to contrast with Mercury. Kirby did such fantastic art on his war stories; I would’ve liked some of his work from Battle included (“Action on Quemoy” or “Ring of Steel”) or even better his first post-war Marvel work from Battlefront “Mine Field” which is likely written, penciled and inked by Kirby.

I liked the two Strange Tales additions not Masterworked and they look great to my eyes. For stories already Masterworked, I would like to see Colossus in “It Lives Again” in King-Size format. Yellow Claw stories would have been nice as well (like from Marvel Visionaries).

It’s hard to argue with the material that was selected though. This material is a subset of the stories collected in the two volumes of Marvel Visionaries. Missing are stories from Yellow Claw 3 & 4, and Marvel Mystery #23 Vision vs Kai-Mak the Shark God story.

Added to this collection are great stories from Tales to Astonish 1, 5, 13, including covers, Captain America Bicentennial Battles (a huge story at 83 pages), a story and cover from Teen-age Romances #84, and the Red Skull story from Captain America Comics #7.

I enjoyed the fact that they only have self-contained stories. The stories also provide a good cross-section of different inkers and their impact on Kirby’s art.

Oddly, there are some panels and pages that appear to be scaled up (notably some panels in FF 57-60, Eternals #7, from what I could see), but I think this is a problem with the Masterworks files they used to build this collection. I checked my FF omnibus #2 (BTP) and the jagged lines are in that edition as well. (I added zoom in detail of FF 57 showing the speed lines and board of Silver Surfer, the splash text to Eternals “Fourth Host” showing jagged lines). For comparison, I added cover detail to Thor 157, the NBE splash and the two-page spread from Devil Dinosaur to show how well the rest of the linework was reproduced.

Detail on “Fourth Host” title text, from King-Size Kirby, Eternals #7.

This pixelated linework doesn’t plague the entire four-issue Doomsday arc, just certain panels, especially hair detail on Sue and Johnny. It’s unfortunate, because this is an incredible saga with Dr Doom stealing the Silver Surfer’s cosmic power with the Inhumans guest-starring, even if the idea of Doom building such a transference machine is a bit ludicrous.

Thor “To Wake the Mangog” is one of my favorite Kirby stories and it looks exceptional in this format to my eyes. The washes on the covers look amazingly reconstructed at this size. This four issue saga is a larger-than-life end-of-the-universe story and perfectly suited for the King-Size format.

From King-Size Kirby, Fantastic Four #48 “The Coming of… Galactus”. Artwork by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. Kirby Cosmic Collage!

Mark Beazley is the collection editor and the book is printed by R R Donnelly Asia. I don’t know how small the print run is for this collection, but I’m sure when it goes Out of Print, the reseller prices will be quite high. I hope anyone that decides to purchase this King-Size Collection enjoys it as much as I have, having pre-ordered it a few weeks ago.

Purchase King-Size Kirby on Amazon

From King-Size Kirby, Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #13 “Captain America and Bucky”. Artwork by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

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