Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fantastic Four And The 8-Year-Old Me

I got this comic book when I was 8. I think at the time I didn't quite realize that it was a reprint of an earlier issue -- Fantastic Four Annual 5 -- but it remained one of my favorite issues as a kid.

I got it on a Saturday and, like quite a few Saturdays in that era, the evening went like this: I went to my biological father's apartment -- my parents were divorced by then -- watched "The Odd Couple" on Channel 5 -- repeats were on near 11:00 PM, I think -- and then I watched some monster movie on Channel 20 from D.C. or on Channel 45 from Baltimore.

My father had stopped drinking by then but he took a lot of sleeping pills and other prescription drugs so I'm positive that he was passed out way before 11:00 PM.

Don't feel too sorry for me; with him asleep, I could enjoy TV and Jack Kirby for as long as I wanted to.

The plot of the issue is not nearly as important as the artwork. At some point in the 1960s, Jack Kirby got more cosmic and he really cut loose. This issue is not quite as freewheeling as stuff he'd do later but in the bits with the Inhumans and Psychoman, it's pretty wild.

Oddly, the Fantastic Four are not in this issue too much but the guest shot from The Black Panther is a nice diversion. And The Inhumans, as drawn by Jack Kirby, were always an odd thrill. I can vividly remember wondering about these characters -- who they were, where they came from -- and being pretty intrigued by silent leader Black Bolt.

It's funny what you remember but I can vividly remember reading and re-reading this issue that night as the TV blared and Dad snored.

This may have been the moment when the name "Jack Kirby" clicked and I started to look for more of his stuff.