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Jack Kirby is probably the single most important figure in the development of American comic books. His career spanned seven decades, and though he is best-known for his work on super-hero titles, he defied simple categorization and worked in nearly every style of comic: horror, science fiction, romance, comedy, fantasy, funny animal, crime, war, western, and probably some others that I'm forgetting.

He didn't just define a single genre: he constantly defined (and re-defined) the entire comics medium, right up until his death in 1994. So in honor of his 96th birthday, we here at MTV Geek have assembled A Week Of Jack Kirby, a series of posts celebrating the life, work and inspiration of the man that Stan Lee dubbed simply 'The King'.

Jack Kirby is well-renowned for his sequential work, but it sometimes goes unmentioned that he was also an unparalleled cover designer.  His covers for Marvel practically leapt off the shelf and into reader's hands, bursting with an energy and innovation that dwarfed all competitors.  I've looked at a LOT of Kirby covers in my life, and while I can't come up with an absolute ranking of his best-ever Marvel covers (my opinions change moment-to-moment, depending on which series I've read most recently), here's ten of my all-time favorites.

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beststuffiread

I read a lot of comics. Like, A LOT a lot. I’ve got my Wednesday comics, trade paperbacks for my commute, and my perpetually growing to-be-read stack. But there are always books that stand out. Comics that are so great you want hug them the second you finish reading them and then tell all of your friends (and a few strangers) about 'em--the Best Stuff. Here’s the Best Stuff I Read This Week.

Hey there, campers! The unofficial start to summer kicks off this Memorial Day weekend! While that means hitting the beach, firing up the grill, or heading out of town for most people, for us indoor kids, it means curling up with some great comics (and maybe a cool gin and tonic) for a nice long weekend reading next to the air conditioner. No? Just me?

Anyway. I’m pretty sure you’re all more than ready to get this weekend started. So I won’t ramble. On to the Best Stuff from this week!

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Starting with Marvel's "Journey Into Mystery" #651 in April, Thor's co-warrior Sif stars in her own story arc. The Asgardian superheroine will be going up against the fearsome Fenris in this storyline written by Kathryn Immonen and drawn artist Matteo Scalera: Read More...

In April of this year, writer Kathryn Immonen and new artist Matteo Scalera pit Sif, Thor, The Warriors Three and others against a "Ravenous" beast in the next arc of "Journey Into Mystery" for Marvel NOW!. Check out the first teaser image from the series below.

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It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, so here’s how it works: we read pretty much every comic that was released this past month, then made a bunch of arbitrary decisions to put the ten best books together, in order from excellent to most excellent. And yes, we left off whatever your pick was for the best book of the month, because we’re idiots. SORRY. Here’s the ten best comics released in September, 2012:

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Looks like with the last week of September, comics have finally gotten their groove back; or at least, there’s a LOT of comics being released this week… Kicking off with one of the most anticipated titles of the Fall, TALON #0. Spinning out of the highly successful “Court of Owls” storyline from Batman, this is the first new character from DC we’ve seen in a good long while, and one that actually has a short of sticking around. So, that’s exciting.

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After a light couple of weeks, we’re finally getting a big Wednesday at the comic book store, led by potential juggernaut JUSTICE LEAGUE #12. That’s where Superman and Wonder Woman first start dating, Justice League of America gets teased, and the entire next year of Justice League. So, must buy status: engaged.

Also from DC Comics? FLASH ANNUAL #1, which brings together the Rogues, versus The Flash, versus Captain Cold; GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1, which launches the massive “Rise of the Third Army” event; and BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #3, by the incredibly talented (and as we found out this past weekend, bluntly honest) Darwyn Cooke. Read More...

This week, it’s all about the big Marvel wedding in ASTONISHING X-MEN #51! Okay, not exactly the only thing going on, but we’re excited to see Northstar and his boyfriend, who we’re sure has a name but whatever who cares GAY WEDDING YOU GUYS! Luckily, Marjorie Liu is on scripting duties, so it should be the rare event comic that also manages to be a good comics.

Marvel also gives us our first taste of the new Phoenix world order in AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6, while DAREDEVIL #14 and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #640 are two mainstream comics you should be picking up just on principle. They’re that consistently good. Read More...

Beginning in August, when it comes to Marvel’s Norse gods Loki and Thor… Everything Burns. A nine-part epic arc teaming writers Matt Fraction (The Mighty Thor) with Kieron Gillen (Journey Into Mystery) will cross over their two titles, with art by Alan Davis & Carmine Di Giandomenico, covers by Alan Davis and special 50th anniversary cover by Steve McNiven.

But what happens, you ask? After an old foe returns to wreak vengeance on the nine realms, Thor and Loki have to team up to take him down. But things don’t go as planned, as Asgardian secrets are revealed, Thor finds himself in over his head, and Loki may find all the lies he’s set up over the course of Gillen’s run crashing down on his head. Oops. Read More...

Good gravy, you guys, this is a big week for comics. So let’s not waste any time on this intro:


The biggest release of the week - and one of the biggest releases of the year - is easily Image Comics’ SAGA #1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. We loved the book (you can read the full, spoiler free review here), and expect that, like his previous books Y The Last Man and Runaways, this will be a crossover hit that will bring new readers to comics for a long time. We really can’t over-hype it enough, because it’s even better than that hype. So there. Read More...

Normally, February is a shorter month, right? Which means less comics? But because of the accursed Leap Year, we ended up with five Wednesdays in the normally shortened month, which lead to far too many good comics to choose from. Still, we did manage to narrow it down to ten that stood above the rest - because, you know, that’s our job. So without further ado, here are the ten best comics of February, 2012:


10. THE SHADE #5
We’ve talked before about how The Shade maxi-series hasn’t just brought James Robinson back to the side of the DC Universe that made his name, but also brought back the writer we know and love for the first time in a good long time. What we haven’t talked about quite as much is the quality of the artistic collaborators he brought with him. This issue, we have Javier Pulido on pencils, and his take on the title character, as well as his “daughter” La Sangre are superb. Unique layouts, exciting designs, and a conflicted morality make this one of the best reads on the stands. Read More...

Cap starts barking orders and even I'm feeling intimidated.
***Spoilers below***

Journey Into Mystery: "So, Mephisto walks into a bar..."

Is Journey Into Mystery coming out biweekly? Because I feel like I either just read or reviewed an issue. Not that I'm complaining, mind you--just curious. We seem to be gifted with the writing of Mr. Gillen of late and that's not at all a bad thing. Issue 628 offers yet another detour on the heels of #627's flashback.

Here, Mephisto takes some time out at an Earth bar in the middle of all of the Fear Itself goings on to unburden himself of some of his recent observations and troubles. In the process, Gillen takes us on a brief tour of Hell and the many devils that run it as well as what passes for an all-encompassing "heaven"--the Infinite Embassy. In both locations,

Behold The Mighty Trons, Guys

This promo image for the lineup of "The Mighty" is a tease for the final issue of Fear Itself, as members of the Avengers get powered up by hybrid Starktech/Asgardian weapons, and get all swagged out in neon piping. I suspect that like the Serpent's hammers, the weapons will seek out the users, perhaps based on an emotion. Hope, maybe? No, the last thing Wolverine inspires in anyone is hope. But in that case, why doesn't Cap get one? Also, interestingly (to me) by contrast to the servants of the Serpent, the majority of the heroes get bladed weapons. That's kind of a cool mean of differentiation, although I have trouble buying Ms. Marvel cutting someone in two.

Fear Itself Book Six and Journey Into Mystery #628 are available now. Fear Itself Book Seven hits October 19.

Related Posts:
Marvel Tag-Team Review: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
Marvel Advance Review: New Avengers Annual #1

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There's a nearly perfect book bearing the title Fear Itself on the shelves, and it's being written by Kieron Gillen.

Have I mentioned before how much I'm digging this book? Well, then allow me to continue to heap praise upon it. Journey Into Mystery isn't simply one of the best Fear Itself books on the shelves but one of the best titles Marvel is putting out right now. Writer Kieron Gillen brings such a great mix of elements to the book--humor, danger, strong characterization, actual mystery--that it creates a pang in the reader when you realize that at some point, Gillen's profile will rise and he'll likely leave Loki and Journey behind.

Let's look at why the book continues to work so well and why I think Gillen and Fraction should have switched roles in terms of who's writing what for Fear Itself.

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Another week, another installment of pants-wetting Asgardian terror with another installment of Fear Itself Friday. This week, we get Thor in a cell in the new Asgard, Thor Girl heading for a cell in Midgard, magic goats, bad dogs, and Nazi war machines. Among the pickings for this week were Journey Into Mystery #623 and Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #1 (of 6), with the former certainly living up to its title as a trip inside and behind the mysterious circumstances plaguing Marvel’s Norse gods, and the latter using some dodgy chronology to deal with the boots on the ground against the panic gripping the United States.

That’s the sound of Fear Itself humming along like the big summer event it is.

That’s the Cliff’s Notes version—for more detail, join us after the jump.

*****Don’t get fooled again—this means spoilers are ahead!****
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Welcome to the latest installment of “Fear Itself Fridays,” where he look at Marvel’s other big summer event. This week is almost something of a leap week for the book, with only one tie-in, Journey Into Mystery #622 which actually does a lot more to clear up some unfinished Siege business rather than pushing forward Fear Itself to any noticeable degree.

This isn’t exactly a proper Fear Itself tie-in, contrary to the prominent branding on the cover. In fairness, the final pages repeat the Asgardians’ march across the Rainbow Bridge from Fear Itself #1, but really it’s a Loki story as Thor gets a title reversion change to Journey Into Mystery. Still, it has to be said that writer Kieron Gillen—aided by artist Dougie Braithwaithe—pretty much kills it with a Loki-focused story that will likely have some repercussions on the big event down the road.

****Verily, there may be spoilers.****

The issue actually hinges on a piece of info that I missed in the aftermath of Siege, namely that Loki has been reincarnated in the body of a teenage boy and, under Thor’s protection, has joined the other Asgardians in Broxton. The whole reincarnation bit is a result of Loki’s reluctant self-sacrifice at the end of Siege after being the one who set the events in action which lead the Sentry’s full-on case of the crazies and the subsequent annihilation of the Norse gods’ homestead. And his own death.

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