Joe Casey, the comic creator as cool as the other side of the pillow, has met up with The King, Jack Kirby… and what we get is Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers. The Captain was a creation of Kirby's published in 1981 by Pacific Comics. It then had a brief stint at Topps in the 90s before finding it's current home at Dynamite Entertainment. I got a chance to talk with Joe about the new project and what it means to be handling a Kirby character.
BLEEDING COOL: Most artists include Jack Kirby in their list of influences, but I have found over the years a lot of writers do as well. What does Jack Kirby mean to you as both a comic creator and as a comic fan?
JOE CASEY: Kirby is the Alpha and Omega of the comicbook medium. In terms of sheer skill, output, creativity and inspiration (both obvious and not-so-obvious), no one comes close. Our art form has produced a lot of creative geniuses over the past hundred years, but only one King. And as I've dug deeper into his work over the years, my appreciation for his writing specifically keeps growing. He had a unique voice, no doubt about it. And I'm all about unique voices.
BC: For those who aren't familiar with the character, his original run at Pacific or the more recent Dynamite series… who is Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers?
JC: Personally, I think the title says it all. If "Captain Victory" doesn't evoke a certain type of heroic space adventurer, then I have to assume that "Galactic Rangers" seals the deal. This is swashbuckling cosmic comicbooks at their most bombastic. But, beyond that, it's a series about how loyalty and friendship are the strongest bonds… even in the cold depths of space.
JC: I'm not big on strict continuity. I'm more into what Grant Morrison termed back in our shared time in the X-Trenches, "superconsistency". That's always the best approach with these IP's… keep what works, ignore what doesn't, add what enhances. We're just trying to do the best book we can, really.
BC: How does approaching a property like this differ from either doing a completely creator-owned series like Godland or from working on a well-known established character like Superman?
JC: Well, first and foremost, we want to do right by Kirby and the Kirby estate. Unlike a lot of more famous Kirby-created properties, the Kirby estate actually owns these characters. So it's even more important to me personally to put our best foot forward. In this case, that means doing everything we can think of to try and push the boundaries of what comicbooks can do. That's a creative challenge unlike any other work I do, because of the specific elements involved.
JC: See the previous answer. How do you match up to the energy and power of Kirby? It takes an army of modern, cutting edge artists to do that, so that's what we've got. Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg, Ulises Farinas, Michel Fiffe, Farel Dalrymple, Jim Mahfood, Benjamin Marra, Connor Willumsen… these are some of my favorite artists working and they're all in one f**king book. That, in itself, is pretty amazing to me. In terms of exactly how they're all being used, the story is structured specifically to accommodate each artist and their individual styles.
BC: How did you end up on this project and how does working for Dynamite compare to working for Marvel, DC, Image and others?
JC: I wrote a few things for Nick Barrucci a few years ago, but I was pleasantly surprised when he got in touch with me to talk about this. I guess my love of all things Kirby plus whatever my experience has been writing over-the-top comics was an equation that made sense for him, when it came to finding someone to spearhead this project. And, of course, I'm grateful that Nick went for my idea of recruiting all these great artists to contribute to the project. He knew — as I did — that this particular crew would make the book that much more special.
JC: I think the "everything-and-everyone-at-once" approach was done to great effect in Kurt and Alex's KIRBY: GENESIS series, so I decided to stay focused on the core characters of the original Kirby series. But they're all here… Major Klavus, Tarin, Lt. Orca, Mister Mind… and Captain Victory in a way you've never seen him before.
BC: So why should someone… if they've never heard of Jack Kirby… pick up Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers?
JC: Well, first of all… if they've never heard of Kirby I would strongly urge them to forget about our book for a few brief minutes and educate themselves. I mean, if you don't know Kirby… you need to. After that, come back and experience a comicbook that's so over-the-top we can't even see the top anymore. It's a book that goes beyond sci-fi… beyond "cosmic"… it's a book that revels in pure spectacle while mining the deepest emotions. The preview pages released so far are just a taste of what's in store. This book might actually explode in your hands. So, y'know… you've been warned.
I'll be doing interviews with some of the artists involved in the series next, so stay tuned. For more on Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers, click here.