Another piece from my collection of original art. This time out were looking at the splash page—literally!—of New Gods #6 by Jack Kirby.

Kirby’s departure from Marvel in 1970 was a seismic event in comics history. In many ways it marked the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the bold new era of the Bronze Age. While DC was keen for him to take the helm of Superman, Kirby took the opportunity to introduce new ideas and concepts with his Fourth World magnum opus. For good measure he took over writing and drawing the weakest selling Superman title, Jimmy Olsen, using it to expand his concepts.

The core book of the Fourth World saga is New Gods and after about a year Kirby really hit his stride with a trio of brilliant comics in issues 6, 7, and 8—surely three of the best comics ever done. “The Glory Boat!!” is the culmination of a story begun in the previous issue and provides a rip-roaring ride of excitement and spectacle on the high seas as Orion and his fellow New God Lightray take on the Deep Six and prove that being a pacifist doesn’t mean the same as being a coward.

The splash page is an unusual, though classic, point-of-view composition that drags the reader right into the heart of the story. Flip the page and you’re confronted with one of Kirby’s trademark double-page spreads as the mutant sea creature smashes through the ship. I’m not going to pretend this opening page is the best page Kirby ever did, or that’s it’s even a particularly great example of his work, but it’s my piece of the King’s greatest work and I’m pleased to own it.

Inks by the incomparable Mike Royer. Click on the images for a better look.

New Gods #6 original art, Jack Kirby

New Gods #6 splash page, Jack Kirby

Here’s the cover to New Gods #6 (January 1972). Great value then with a full-length New Gods story up front and a classic Simon & Kirby Manhunter tale at the back. All for just 25c!

New Gods #6 cover, Jack Kirby

During the early 1980s Kirby returned to DC after being given the chance to finish up his saga. In anticipation of what ultimately became The Hunger Dogs graphic novel, DC reprinted all 11 issues of New Gods in a fancy six-issue series printed on baxter stock. For this Kirby produced six brand new wraparound covers. Here’s the one he did for issue #3, the one that reprints “The Glory Boat!!” (click for a better look):

New Gods reprint

Images ©2012 DC Comics