Review: Jack Kirby’s the Demon

DC comics might be going down the toilet at the moment, but their collected editions program is awesome enough to make up for it.  Their latest must have book is Jack Kirby’s complete run on the Demon.

Now, the Demon Etrigan is just about my favorite character to have come out of DC’s long history.  He’s just like nothing else from any of their other books.  As the name implies he is a demon from Hell, but a usually benevolent one due to his having been bound to Merlin.  He also shares a body with Jason Blood, an immortal demonologist who spends most of his time in Gotham City.  Oh and since the mid 80’s he only speaks in rhyme (or occasionally blank verse).

But this is back when he could still speak like a normal person (relatively speaking, it is a Jack Kirby comic after all), and these early tales are some of the King’s best work.  Although derivative at times (there are both Phantom of the Opera and Frankenstein stories here) every page here is a masterpiece from Kirby at his peak.  And when Kirby does try for something totally new, the book soars.  The highlight here is without a doubt the Demon’s two encounters with Klarion the Witchboy, an unbelievably creepy Puritan sorcerer from another dimension that is totally unlike anything seen elsewhere.

Of course the one problem with premise this odd is that it’s really hard to carry it as an ongoing series.  Thus the book died after a mere 16 issues, and Kirby’s time at DC was nearly over.

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