Friday, December 10, 2010

Kirby helped me, of course

Here, I'm going to conduct a thought experiment: if I were working with Jack Kirby, starting with issue ten, could I help him as a writer on his Marvel Comics Group strip, Machine Man? His first nine issues, from 1978, were very fun; it's apparent he wanted to explore characterization, as well as his trademark hi-tech and alien races.

Well, we'll just put aside personal conflicts a minute, imagine he's made it over that with the help of a little friendship and the advice not to take crap personally, and, having won his trust, he's listening, prepared to draw and write, as I put down the first story arc:

So, our Machine Man starts off teamed next with Captain America, two generations of Super Soldier. They face a machine man named X-Tinction that was the grand daddy prototype of the X models before the military built them. X-Tinction became sentient, went insane, and arises like some kind of Sixth Sleeper.

Next: MM needs to face some kind of Dinosaur Man. I am trying to think of a name for something that sounds like it could eat a puny Machine Man like a drum of thanksgiving turkey. Carnivex was where I stopped, and thought, "not terrible! But somethin that eats meat?" It gets a two issue arc.

It can't be a knock-off of the Lizard; I think it could be a hyper-intelligent mutant, or to go very wild, a mutated creature brought back through time, or if that's too absurd, how about, he's cloned from some bones discovered on a dig, a Jurassic Man? Oh, wow, that's too good, The Jurassic Man. The Past has come to the Present to murder the Future! But what's his motivation? Is reptilian aggression really enough? Perhaps it should be personal: he wants to use Machine Man's brain to create bionic dinosaur-based hybrid creatures. It is, at least, something Kirby could draw. Social commentary on man's treatment of the planet could abound! It'd be nice to draw Peter Spaulding into this. I also wonder if, upon reflection, there's a way to begin tying these elements together into an underlying arc?

So, in other words, if it's so much easy to be doing better, then you do it!

So what you thinkie?

Next up: Doc Ock. And the Defenders. Channeling Steve Gerber AND Jack Kirby, who I wish could've been doing this run in my place. Man, the comics THOSE guys could've thought up! If only they'd had free reign on Thundarr The Barbarian. They did, in fact, team up to create the satirical Destroyer Duck!

Only, with Doctor Strange and Doc Ock both in the picture, guest art by Steve Ditko! Steve and Jack did work on the Hulk at different times for several issue runs in the 1960s. Steve Ditko, as you know from past posts or elsewhere, took over Machine Man when Kirby left for the animation field.

And here, introduce future 2020 villainess Sunset Bain, later co-created with Tom DeFalco. I kinda liked Gears Garvin, too, but I would've kept Tracey Warner, the reporter (what to do with her?). Maybe she will be the real primary character; that's what STeve GErber would do if he were writing this issue.

Doc would probably have a smaller role, though I really need to put Machine Man and Dr. Strange together in a scene, right? But Strange may be called on to face some horror in a dimension outside space and time.

Then I want to turn Machine Man loose with Valkyrie, Black Panther, and Power Man & Iron Fist as his fellow Defenders. Let's take some inspiration from ideas we know Kirby already had, as they appear when he takes over the Black Panther strip around this time.

The villain struggling with Doc Ock behind the scenes is Klaw. I'd been saving Klaw and Black Panther, but this soon after Cap in #10, it would be an effort to attract Marvel readers, plus ask Kirby to revisit two of his creations that he did, in fact, draw and write earlier in his return to Marvel.

All it needs is a plot. If only we could see what Kirby would do with the idea! The whole thing would probably hinge upon a Vibranium heist. I like the idea of Aaron Stack (Machine Man) running around in Africa, particularly Wakanda, where the ancient masks the futuristic. It could be the whole thing should slow down long enough to become a story about identity; it's the recurrent theme in this magazine.

So that's 10-13.

Now...I'd talk to Jim Starlin about Magus...and ask Kirby if he's in the mood to draw some Eternals...maybe a Celestial? Ooo...and I'm not out of ideas, yet! Two more original characters would be coming soon. Tell you more later!

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