KIRBYSPHÈRE

Influences and connections in the work of Jack Kirby, by Xavier Fournier.

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About Xavier Fournier

Xavier Fournier is a writer, journalist and lecturer specialising in comics, publishing articles on the subject since 1993. After his debut at USA Magazine, he spent 18 years writing for Comic Box magazine. He has previously published four books: Super-Héros : Une histoire française, Super-Héros Français : l’Anthologie, and Super-Héros l’Envers du costume et Comics en guerre. He doesn’t have a secret identity but he’s forever alert to questions about comics!

Xavier Fournier

Cover concepts by Stéphane Perger

About the book

Kirbysphère is a 400-page essay consecrated to the work of Jack Kirby, one of the most famous comic authors of all time. The “King” co-created Captain America, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four and hundreds of other characters. He’s influenced comics, cinema and pop culture well beyond his vast readership.

Kirbysphère is not just another biography about the artist (several of which already exist) but a study of what drove the author, so at ease with writing and drawing, and how it fed into his creations. What idea was secretly passed on from one decade to the next, putting characters into the same narrative? Which episodes refer to Star Trek and Star Wars? How to understand that a minor element thought of in 1967 influenced a modern superhero movie? In other words, Kirbysphère reveals part of the “biosphere” Kirby’s imagination, hence the title.

The book

Basically, this project started with the Oldies but goodies chronicles that appeared on comicbox.com for a number of years, where Xavier Fournier used his erudition to retell various episodes (sometimes a famous story, sometimes a little-known but crucial tale). Reference, re-contextualisation and homage… The density of narration is such in Jack Kirby’s work that it is a titanic task to untangle the thread of decades of work. Who else could so majestically demonstrate which frame alludes to a novel, which background character refers to a politician, which invention echoes a scientific discovery, and which posing Avenger is an homage to an 18th-century mythology painting?

Kirbysphère is 400 pages of explanation and analysis grounded with references and a rich iconography that put the work of this hugely talented creator into perspective. For example – here’s an extract: Captain America se réveille à l’ère moderne et est recueilli par les Avengers.

Kirbysphère is mainly based on Xavier Fournier’s research for his chronicles but many have been rewritten and over a third of the book contains new material to complete the puzzle. The result is adorned with numerous notes that help to form a detailed genealogy of Jack Kirby’s many creations.

Jack Kirby (DR)

Caracteristics

  • 456 pages
  • Format 155 x 255 mm (width: 2,5 cm)
  • 1,2 kg
  • Softcover illustrated by Stéphane Perger
  • Release date: October 2020
  • ISBN : 979-10963-15-54-3
  • 25 € (or less than 6 cents per page, a real catch!)
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