When Jack “King” Kirby returned to Marvel in the mid-1970s, not only did he spend time on an old favorite, Captain America, but he also created some new characters that were absolutely mind-blowing. One at the top of the list has to be Machine Man. An android created by a scientist, that in turn was killed trying to remove the auto-destruct mechanism from him. Machine Man was introduced in the pages of 2001: A Space Odyssey (issue 8, 1977). This was another Kirby vehicle that was initially based on the film (Stanley Kubrick) and novel (by Arthur C. Clarke). Kirby eventually took the book in his own direction though, and brought more of his Bronze Age bombast with it.
Kirby eventually left Marvel in 1978/1979 (after issue nine of this series), but the title did go on for a few more issues with Steve Ditko on art. It was interesting, but not the all out craziness and cool of Kirby (some of that was definitely the writing, too). But we did get this awesomeness from the King for those first nine issues, and how glorious they are to behold! Written, edited, and penciled (cover as well, with possible inks by Mike Esposito) by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer, and colored by Petra Goldberg!
Goofball villains are a thing of beauty. Any writer/artist that can make them interesting enough to buy a comic that has them in it, is a genius. Throw in some extra-dimensional demons, a chick that knows martial arts from her “street fighting” days, and some slap-stick comedy, and you’ve got a winner. Even though the Scarecrow only made a few sparse appearances, he’s definitely one of my all time favorites!
Scott Edelman (writer), a bit of a journeyman writer that really didn’t have any long runs on one title. He’s one of those guys that wrote for many titles in his career (mostly Bronze Age), filling in and doing one-shots. Artist Ruben Yandoc (pencils and inks), didn’t have a very long career, but did do most of his work for DC comics (after a career in the Philippines, apparently). Colorist, Petra Goldberg, letter, San Jose, and editor Marv Wolfman, round out the interior team! Although I don’t care for his later work, Howard Chaykin (pencils) has done some outstanding work from the Bronze Age, and along with Al Milgrom (inker), they provide a solid cover, showing just how crazy this character can be!
In the mid 1970’s, Marvel comics had a lot going good. The horror genre was pumping out books like crazy, the reprint era was in full swing, and the return of Jack Kirby cemented the company as the best in the business. The main man at Marvel for weird/wacky stories was undoubtedly Steve Gerber (and rightfully so, as no one can write those kind of great stories like he could), but Kirby gave him a run for his money during this era for sure! Anyway, is it even possible to not like a giant red T-Rex with a ape-like boy riding around on his back? Of course not! In this tale, Moonboy and DD run into a pack of humanoids that want to kill them, and if they don’t, the giant spider might!
Written, drawn, and edited by the king of comics, Jack Kirby! His contributions were already nothing short of legendary, but this era added some spice to the Kirby lore, and it will never be forgotten. A helping hand on inks was delivered by Mike Royer, colors by Petra Goldberg, and some editing assistance from Archie Goodwin!