In 1957 and 1958, Jack Kirby created artwork for Harvey’s six-issue series Alarming Tales. These hard-to-find comics from the Golden Age showcase Kirby’s early flair for science fiction. You will see familiar themes like Martians, strange dimensions, conscious robots, and alien worlds. You will witness harbingers of future sciences like genetic engineering and cloning.
And, you will see a few ideas Kirby revisited decades later, such as the walking dogs and rats of “The Last Enemy” who resemble the animalistic characters of Kamandi, and a flying chair that would get an upgrade to seat Metron of the New Gods. Enjoy!
Collector’s Guide: From Alarming Tales #1-4; Harvey, 1957-1958. Issues #1-3 are now collected in a Kindle version!
“created artwork for”. come on, he absolutely wrote these too. a guy like kirby doesn’t have this sort of body of work without being the primary author of virtually all of it (even the marvel stuff in spite of his editor taking credit, not to mention pay, as the writer)
Mars Will Send No More said:
You are correct. Jack Kirby was both writer and artist on many stories from these issues. His long-time collaborator Joe Simon also worked on these issues, and I suppose way back in 2013 I said “created artwork” because I wasn’t clear on which of them was doing what on any given story. Maybe it’s time to update the wording on these older posts. Thank you for dropping by and commenting!
Update: I have updated all the other posts in the collection of Jack Kirby material from Alarming Tales. I left this one alone so future readers won’t be confused by these comments. The others now say that Kirby created “stories”, not just “artwork”. See them all using this tagged link: https://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/tag/alarming-tales+jack-kirby/
Dave Ryan said:
These 5 issues of ALARMING TALES present a lot of the ideas that later evolved about 10 years later in Kirby’s JIMMY OLSEN and KAMANDI runs: cloned humans, manipulating DNA to create new creatures, and talking animal civilizations in a post-nuclear war world.
I’m just awed at the amount Kirby created over his career, particularly from 1958-1978.
Virtually all the stuff Kirby created in that era has been continued by others, or is even the industry standard, at Marvel, at DC, and here, Harvey. Likewise The Fly, and Fighting American.
Among a vast pantheon of other new characters.
I’d personally like to see decorative hardcovers of Simon and Kirby’s BLACK MAGIC, JUSTICE TRAPS THE GUILTY, POLICE TRAP, YOUNG LOVE, YOUNG ROMANCE, FOXHOLE, and others of that 1946-1958 era. The most obscure of Kirby’s vast canon of work.
Although I’m frankly amazed how much of Kirby’s work is already in collected trade or hardcover form. Virtually everything done for Marvel and DC after 1958, many of them in multiple different editions.
It’s incredible how much one guy could produce. And not just quantity, but QUALITY of quantity, among the best of every era, and even the industry standard.
I also have a great affection for Kirby’s pre-Marvel monster stories (of which the above preceded and was in the same vein as).
And TWO-GUN KID, and other war, western and romance stories for Marvel in 1959-1963.
Mars Will Send No More said:
It was fun discovering these earlier versions of ideas that Kirby would develop at greater length in later years. His creative energy seemed to move at such a breakneck pace that some world-changing concept would be treated almost as a throwaway.
Seeing this in Kirby’s work helped me feel more confident coming up with new ideas in my own fiction, knowing that if I didn’t fully explore a new idea the first time around, I could always come back to it later and really get into it. So many stories resulted from revisiting an earlier idea and asking what the deeper consequences of it would be.
Just one of the many things we can learn from Jack Kirby!