John Byrne’s establishing shot of the evil planet Apokalips may well be the high water mark for Legends. The series attempted to simplify and reintroduce some characters in the wake of DC’s continuity-destroying Crisis on Infinite Earths. Other than kick off what many fans remember as a cool run for the Suicide Squad, the series won’t be remembered for much. But, we will always remember this stunning planet, seething with electric and cosmic energy, bathed in a wash of interstellar light effects, its complex surface suggesting massive structure with tiny lines. From a student’s perspective, this panel abounds with art lessons. Welcome to the John Byrne Academy of Awesome!
– From Legends #1; DC, 1986;
It’s something to behold. Whatever else Byrne’s faults are, he has always been a great artist. But ya gotta admit, there’s more than a little Kirby there, I know people are sick of hearing about the guy, but, I doubt Byrne would’ve come up with something like that out of nothing. He’s reworking Kirby. Has he ever created anything on his own?
Mars Will Send No More said:
Kirby clearly exerted a great influence on Byrne, who paid tribute to Uncle Jack with a brief revival of New Gods and a Darkseid vs. Galactus graphic novel – not to mention several satisfying years on Fantastic Four. Byrne’s most powerful Kirby tribute may be the 4-issue OMAC series he drew and scripted. It’s an amazing visual event with a tight time-travel story.
Like many comic book artists, he also has his own take on Kirby Krackle. The Krackle here, with Karl Kesel inks, looks very much like Kirby’s. But when Byrne inked his own work for Next Men years later, the perfectly round dots become dabs and strokes from a brush.
Still, you would be hard pressed to find anyone working in mainstream superhero comics that doesn’t show some Kirby influence or hasn’t drawn some of his characters. Say what you will about John Byrne, but we feel he has contributed a lot more awesomeness to the world of comics than merely “reworking Kirby!”
Looks a bit like Coruscant. (I posted a comparison pic of the two on Facebook a couple of years ago, but nobody got it. I need to start running with a better class of people.)
Mars Will Send No More said:
Apokalips definitely resembles Coruscant, though casual Star Wars fans may first think “Death Star.” We also imagine that Trantor, from Asimov’s Foundation series, would look like this from space: less sinister, maybe, but conveying the idea of a planet completely covered with mechanization and urbanization.
If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with a Top Ten Planets Turned into Giant Cities or Machines. Seven more to go!
You’re right, Mars. It was an unkind and dumbass remark I made about a guy who really is a great artist and writer. I was in a bad mood about something else, which can get a guy in trouble if he types before he thinks. My bad.
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