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above: Jack Kirby's conception of how to introduce mankind to alien civilizations. From the book Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier, published in 2008 by ABRAMS

Jack Kirby did draw this for the Pioneer 10 space probe… …he just didn’t draw it for NASA. When Pioneer 10, the Jupiter probe, was launched, it did carry a plaque showing humanity — a rather simple, realistic plaque, long on information, short on style. But as part of the festivities, the Los Angeles Times asked various artists to contribute their idea of what should go on the plaque, and what you see above was Kirby’s response.

“It appears to me that man’s self image has always spoken far more truthfully about him than does his reality-figure,” Kirby wrote. “My version of the plaque would have revealed the exuberant, self-confident super visions with which we’ve clothed ourselves since time immemorial. The comic strip superheroes and heroines, in my belief, personify humanity’s innate idealism and drive. However, I would have liked to include no further information than a rough image of Earth and one moon. I see no wisdom in the eagerness to be found and approached by any intelligence with the ability to accomplish it from any sector of space. In the meetings between ‘discoverers’ and “discoverees,’ history has always given the advantage to the finders. In the case of the Jupiter plaque, I feel that a tremendous issue was thoughtlessly taken out of the world forum by a few individuals who have marked a clear trail to our door. “My point is, who will come a-knocking — the trader or the tiger?” You’ve seen how we’ve taken Kirby’s image (and his words!) and warped reality just a touch to tell our story. And you’ll see just who does come to visit, next issue. In the meantime, enjoy an advance look at what’s coming! — Kurt Busiek

Many Kirby concepts and designs will be adapted into story for the first time in Kirby: Genesis. Amongst these are four Norse god characters Kirby painted in the late ‘60s. Clockwise, they are: Balduur, Sigurd, Heimdall, and Honir.

Facing page: Also included in the new series are heroes Jack wrote and drew whole comic series for. Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers from 1981 and Silver Star from 1983, published by Pacific Comics.

Certain Kirby designs left on the cutting room floor from developing projects like New Gods will finally be given story life. Below left: Ramses, the Black Sphinx. Below right: The newly named Ember, the Blazing Star. Both paintings are from 1966.

Along with more finished designs that Jack Kirby left behind, Genesis will develop concepts from sketches featuring characters for which there might only be a rough idea of what Jack intended. Tiger 21, a drawing he did in the 1980s, linked back to plans Kirby had for a TV show in the 1960s, a comic strip in the 1950s and even a later animation idea. And jsut as Kirby had everchanging plans for Tiger 21, his designs have inspired a complex and significant role for the concept in Genesis’ expanding universe.

This page: One of the many pieces Kirby drew that shows a compelling character design with no chronicled history is the penciled figure who is now christened as the Midnight Swan, a pivotal character in Genesis. This is an example of the kind of inspiration that Busiek and Ross are taking from Jack Kirby’s works, expanding upon his more defined concepts and fleshing out other visuals that are works of art.

Facing page: To help guide readers through the series are three protagonists whose lives intersect with a fantastic new landscape. Father and daughter Jake and Bobbi Cortez and their friend, aptly named Kirby, are pulled into a universe of amazing creatures, magic, aliens, and worldchanging events.

To test out a new process of how Alex Ross’ style might guide the look of the series beyond covers and character guides, he produced four sample thumbnails for the series artist to follow and enhance. Clearly one can see that Jackson Herbert’s execution shows great beauty in his elaboration of rendering the figures, faces, and overall details.

Jackson Herbert previously worked with Alex Ross on providing art for the Avengers/Invaders crossover packaged by Dynamite Entertainment for Marvel Comics and most recently on the Black Terror series. Jackson, or Jack, hails from Brazil and also provided art to the Dynamite series Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero and Queen Sonja.

Feeling successful with the results of their layoutsto-finishes collaboration, Ross produced the full issue’s pages for Genesis #0 for Herbert to expand upon. Herbert’s detailed inks are some of the most elaborate in the business.


As part of the series overall, special sequences, pages, and characters will be painted by Alex Ross to intersect with Jack Herbert’s finished pages and panels.


Thumbnails by ALEX ROSS Interior painted art by ALEX ROSS


Thumbnails by ALEX ROSS Interior line art by JACK HERBERT


Thumbnails by ALEX ROSS Interior line art by JACK HERBERT Interior painted art by ALEX ROSS

BleedingCool:com Presents: KIrby Genesis #0 - FREE