Monday, August 11, 2008

REVIEW: Tales To Astonish by Ronin Ro

A PERFUNCTORY book by a perfunctory writer. This is only partially a biography on Kirby - it also covers the life of Stan Lee and the history of comics (particularly Marvel). It's not a bad read, but I have to say I enjoyed Ro's chapter on Kirby's war years - a traumatic, scarring time that basically shaped his post-war comic-book career - far more than the comics history stuff, which I've read elsewhere in far-better-written tomes.

Anyway, this book's okay - it lacked photos and artwork that could've really added depth to the book, however.

And it doesn't really do Jack many favours either - he comes across as a bit of a doddery, working-class Joe; none too bright, easily led, easily pushed around (again, a result of his war experiences as he was a real Noo Yawker tough guy before WW2) and frustrated by bad career moves that a smarter man could have avoided.

By the end of his life, he'd resorted to outright lies and slander against Stan Lee who - despite what his critics may say - WAS the co-creator of the Marvel superhero line.

If Lee - an astute businessman for much of his career - did one thing ethically wrong, it was to cheerfully claim (or allow it to be claimed by journalists) that he created the Hulk, X-Men, Silver Surfer, etc.

Still, ultimately, Kirby's bitterness did him no favours.

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