Friday, August 30, 2013

Fantastic Four #29: It's not just Yancy Street that needs help!

Yancy Street is in a bad way, with young hoodlums tossing garbage at our friends, the Fantastic Four.  The heroes have only come to help.  This is how it begins on Yancy Street, but before it's over the FF have wandered all the way to the moon where they fight cosmonaut apes produced by the dastardly Red Ghost, a dome-headed, long-haired mad scientist of the Commie persuasion.  More important than that to Marvel history, it's in Fantastic Four #29 (August 1964) our adventuresome quartet meets the Watcher, who has a dome head of his own.

It doesn't take the ever-curious Reed Richards to run afoul of the Watcher's outlandishly futuristic devices, the likes of which no sane species would create outside of a Marvel comic.  Like this little baby:

Whoops!  Turn that off right now, Reed!  Is it just me, or does the Watcher look like Orson Welles with a shaved head in the first panel?

Sorry.  Forget that noise.  Look at how Jack Kirby views the future of human evolution in the third frame.  Since our brains are responsible for most of what we've accomplished, they will enlarge along with our skulls-- and our ears?  It's a little throwaway gag to establish how far above humanity the Watcher and his people are.  And it's just like Reed to pick something up out of scientific curiosity and activate it, damn the consequences.

But no, it's not Yancy Street that needs your help.  Comic creators do, too.  That's why I finally got off my butt and donated to the Heroes Initiative in the name of Kirby4Heroes, the fund-raising campaign run by Jack Kirby's granddaughter Jillian, who explains it in this video courtesy of Nerdist.

What I did-- and I still don't think it was nearly enough-- was donate a bit more than the amount I've spent this year on Fantastic Four comics at the Comixology site.  Comixology sells them for 1.99, and as far as I know, the Kirbys get nothing from this.  So while it's well and good to honor Jack Kirby's accomplishments and legacy by reading his works, I felt I really needed to do something for the campaign run by an actual Kirby to help Hero Initiative aid artists and writers whose stories I've also enjoyed.  People like John Ostrander, Bill Mantlo and one of my super-faves, Russ Heath.  This is going to be an annual thing for me from now on, every August 28th.

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