Archive | August 28, 2009

Lifestyles of the Rich and Idle

"I never told her about the Depression.  She would have worried."

'I never told her about the Depression. She would have worried.'

Amidst all the endlessly tedious media hoopla over Ted Kennedy’s death, I heard one good anecdote. During a period when Kennedy was being attacked by an opponent for never having worked a day in his life, he supposedly visited an ironworks factory where he was accosted by a labourer who asked him: “Is it true you’ve never worked a day in your life?” As Kennedy hemmed and hawed, the labourer said: “Believe me, you ain’t missed a thing.”

Which in turn reminds me of the anecdote about Queen Victoria, who supposedly said: “It must be fun to work, because it’s so much fun to watch other people work.”

Which reminds me yet further of an old New Yorker cartoon of an obviously wealthy woman lounging contentedly while, nearby, her husband (or perhaps lover) is telling a friend: “I never told her about the Depression. She would have worried.”

Anti-Life Justifies My Blog!

Silver Surfer

On this date in 1917, comic-book writer-artist Jack Kirby was born (originally under the name Jacob Kurtzberg). Over the course of his career (until his death in 1994), Kirby would be involved in the creation of many of the comic book industry’s most recognisable characters.

With collaborator Stan Lee, he helped create Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Black Panther, the Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, Magneto, Galactus, the Skrulls, the Inhumans, the Mighty Thor, and Nick Fury. (Rather than Lee’s simply writing a script for Kirby to illustrate, Lee and Kirby would brainstorm a story outline, Kirby would create the pictorial layout – often adding new elements as they occurred to him – and only then did Lee compose and insert captions and dialogue; so Kirby’s contribution was greater than the notation “Lee, script; Kirby, pencils” might suggest.)

With other collaborators he helped create Captain America, Manhunter, Kobra, the Challengers of the Unknown, and a couple of incarnations of the Sandman. In his solo work he came up with Kamandi, OMAC, Machine Man, Darkseid, the New Gods, the Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, Etrigan the Demon, and – in 1958 – the Face on Mars. (And that’s just scratching the surface.)

Over the years Kirby’s energetic drawing style grew increasingly distinctive and his story ideas more wackily inventive; his work had a big impact on my childhood, and I’ve blogged about him fairly often. Happy birthday, Jack.

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