Comics Chat #1: Lee/Kirby’s Fantastic Four
Rereading the original Lee/Kirby Galactus story, I was struck by how it reads like a Stan Lee story that gets blown wide open by a bunch of Jack Kirby characters*. More specifically, it reads like a crazy situation comedy whose characters suddenly find themselves in a deranged photo-collage dimension where the stakes are so high that the fate of planet Earth barely registers.It’s a rough, engaging set-up, with Lee’s cheap’n’cheerful banter and Kirby’s gloriously blockymonstrosities sharing page space in a powerful, if wonky, melodrama.And maybe this is just me, but reading it over it seemed like a precursor to any number of Grant Morrison stories. I’m specifically thinking of the way that nature of Galactus makes the Fantastic Four panic about their place in the food chain, an effect that is central replicated in Morrison works such as Animal Man, The Filth and We3. Of course Morrison gives the idea a more postmodern sheen, but there’s still a hint of Moz’s interest in shattered perspectives in this old pulp adventure.But forget high-faluting thematics for a second, and enjoy some good old-fashioned melodrama:
THE THING: Yiccchh! My eyes… my nose… what izzat? What in blazes is happenin’??
MR FANTASTIC: Can’t you tell? He’s treating us like some sort of bothersome gnats! It’s some type of cosmic insect repellent!Now that’s what I’m talking about!*This dynamic repeats itself throughout those old Fantastic Four issues, and is reversed in what little I’ve read of the Lee/Kirby Thor stories.