Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kirby, Barda, and "Women of Valor"

Last week I stopped by the CSUN Art & Design Gallery to see a show titled "Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby" – and it was made of awesome, as expected. Any comic book fan is a fan of Jack Kirby – he created most of the Marvel super heroes, as well as an entirely new pantheon for DC called the New Gods. Stan Lee called him the King.

It was great to see original panels drawn and inked by Kirby, as well as the actual comics made from those panels... but also to see some of the groundbreaking collage work that Kirby created for a lot of the comics he drew. Masterful work.

And of course, it was fun to see some of the characters and comics I'm cutting up for my show (which opens this Sunday, October 18), including Big Barda – one of the New Gods. In a reversal of the stereotype associated with female characters at the time of her creation (in the mid 1970s), Barda is physically more powerful than her husband, Mister Miracle, and very protective of him. They're a cute couple.

Kirby artwork on the left; my papercut "Aleph Barda Gimmel" on the right.

I've got three pieces in my show based on the same stucture, which incorporates the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet: "Armor Bet Gimmel," "Aleph Barda Gimmel," and "Aleph Bet Gwen." It's the second of the three that features Barda (obviously) and emphasizes the Hebrew letter "bet." The first one features Armor (a young mutant hero in the X-Men), and the third features Gwen Stacy – known early on only as a romantic foil for Peter Parker (Spider-Man) but in recent years an alternate dimension version of the character has arisen as the very powerful (and popular) Spider-Gwen.

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