May 8, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 73: 2001: A Space Odyssey #6, May 1977

Kirby continues today with his tribute to those of us who are superheroes in our heads and hearts, if not occasionally in reality. For someone who, really, spent a lot of his later career not really working on superheroes, he's certainly got a soft spot, at least, for the people who love them. Harvey Norton's odyssey continues through some very exciting interstellar chase scenes with an alien woman who, in a surprising twist, does not either speak English or have a  universal translator of some kind. He helps her escape a pursuing force of similar aliens, and refers to her as "Princess" in lieu of a proper name, but I couldn't help but wonder, as he get no back story, whether or not Harvey had chosen the wrong side. Perhaps this woman was a hardened criminal, and the fact that she seems to abandon him at the end of the story doesn't do much for my opinion of her.

If that's the case, and I'm leaning fairly heavily toward there being something sinister in this alien's back story, what does this mean for Kirby's presentation of the superhero fan? Are we too optimistic, too trusting? Is this a reactionary story against DC, with whom Kirby had acrimoniously broken around the time of his penning 2001? Possibly, but hard to argue from a single issue.

There was one page in this issue that I thought was some of the best Kirby art I've seen. I love his conception of space as being full of movement and colour, and when he mixes in some bizarre alien architecture, it's really a treat for the eyes:

That's it for today. I'll likely continue on with 2001 tomorrow, the last issue before Machine Man takes over the title. Then a break for some other stuff, I think. See you tomorrow.

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