Hannah Means-Shannon, senior New York Correspondent at Bleeding Cool writes from Hang Dai Studios, Brooklyn;
In honor of Jack Kirby's 96th birthday, so widely celebrated with tributes on the internet from fans and comics creators alike, Brooklyn-based artist Dean Haspiel (The Fox, Billy Dogma), sat down to face the challenge of inking an iconic Kirby promo piece from a series ahead of it's time, OMAC. I've known Haspiel for a couple of years now, and have collaborated with him on the Brooklyn-based digital arts salon site, TRIP CITY, and can say first-hand that Kirby is one of his ultimate heroes and one of his major inspirations as an artist. Inking Kirby's art was bound to take on almost religious significance for Haspiel, and the result was an astonishing hybrid of talent.
After Haspiel posted the inks on his blogsite and on Facebook, former Marvel editor Mort Todd (who Haspiel interned for in 1995 and who Kickstarted his new graphic novel No Redeeming Social Value in May 2013) was challenged by former Marvel letterer Rick Parker and current Papercutz cartoonist to supply his colors for the piece. Todd promptly set aside other works to give Kirby his due and produced the final product we see below.
Haspiel's obsession with Kirby goes back to childhood. He feels that "Jack Kirby knew it was a priority to entertain while delivering emotional truths". But his choice of OMAC for the piece centers on the wealth of ideas crammed into the series. "The FF is my favorite Jack Kirby collaboration, but my favorite solo effort of his was OMAC. Where even a throwaway panel was so filled with ideas that some of today's better known creators turn them into entire sagas", says Haspiel. Jack Kirby's personal vision in comics continues to haunt us today, as bourne out by the vast outpouring of memorials this week. As Haspiel puts it: "Kirby made people think in ways that could ignite the atoms of genius and melt lesser minds". And his art just keeps on giving.
Hannah Means-Shannon senior New York Corresondent at Bleeding Cool, writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org, and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.