New Gods Cover by Shane Davis & Michelle Delecki
DC Comics is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the masterful comic book creator Jack “King” Kirby this August with a series of six Kirby one-shot specials featuring characters that Kirby created during two stints with DC. Kirby first worked for DC during the early 1940s, and later in the early 1970s after he left Marvel Comics (after co-creating with Stan Lee the majority of the major characters in the Marvel Universe).

The Kirby One-Shots were announced last week (see “DC to Release One-Shots of Jack Kirby Creations”), but DC has now released information on the creative teams involved in the production of the six one-shots, which are all 48-page full color books with a cover price of $4.99.

DC Comics first hired Jack Kirby in 1941 in large part because of the success of Kirby and Joe Simon’s Captain America, which was a hit for Timely Comics, and three of the one-shots feature characters that Kirby and Simon created or revamped for DC during the 1940s.  The most interesting of this group is Howard Chaykin’s The Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos Special #1, which includes both of the “kid gang” comic teams that Simon and Kirby created for DC, the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos.  Simon and Kirby created the template for this sort of patriotic “kid gang” comic with The Sentinels of Liberty (Young Allies) that they previously created for Timely.  Chaykin is the “auteur” here, writing and illustrating the comic as well as providing the cover.

Simon and Kirby also took over DC’s Manhunter starting in Adventure Comics #73 and lasting through #80 (Nov. 42), and turned the character into a big game hunter who turned crimefighter.   Keith Giffen and Dan Didio are writing the Manhunter Special #1 with Nick Bradshaw providing the pencils.  A bonus”Etrigan the Demon” short story by Sam Humphries and Klaus Janson is included along with a Golden Age reprint.

Simon and Kirby also revamped DC’s Sandman character in the early 1940s, but Kirby (and Simon) revisited the character again during Kirby’s 1970s stint with DC and it is that 1970s Kirby Sandman that is the model for The Sandman Special #1 by Dan Jurgens and Steve Orlando (writers), and Jon Bodganove and Rick Leonardi (art).  A seldom reprinted Sandman story from the 1970s will also be included.

The other 1970s inspired Kirby one-shots are headlined by The New Gods Special #1 written by Shane Davis with art by Davis and Michelle Delecki, who have produced a full-length story featuring Orion and Lightray.  Also included in this 48-page special are a classic Kirby New Gods tale and a back-up feature by Walt Simonson about the young Orion and his friend Seagrin.

Not to be missed is the Darkseid Special #1, which is written by Kirby biographer Mark Evanier with art by Scott Kolins.  Evanier is uniquely equipped to create this tale of one of Kirby’s greatest villains, the dark Lord of Apokolips, and this one-shot also includes an OMAC back-up story written by Sam Humphries with art by Steve Rude, as well as the reprint of classic Kirby Fourth World tale.

The final Kirby One-Shot, which is due out on August 30, is The Black Racer and Shilo Norman Special #1, which features Kirby’s avatar of death from the New Gods (The Black Racer) and Shilo Norman (aka Mister Miracle), who is literally running from death in  a cosmic chase across the galaxies.  Reginald Hudlin has provided the story with Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz handling the art chores, and a classic Kirby Fourth World tale will also be included.