Updated: Jan 25, 2020
FOR REAL #1
Writer: James Romberger
Artist: James Romberger
Publisher: Uncivilized Comics
Jack " The King" Kirby, the most prolific American comic book creator of the 20th century, was a force to be reckoned with. He is on the Mount Rushmore of comic book creators and there will never be a creator that could take his spot. He gave us some of the all time great characters ( Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, The New Gods, Black Panther, Darkseid, Mister Miracle) and forever left his indelible mark on past and future generations with his profound work. I too can attest to the effect he has had on my life with his creations. Perhaps, I might not be here writing this review or running this site if it wasn't for him and he helped save comics in the early sixties as the industry was floundering.
But he wasn't just an amazing artistic talent, as many people who knew him would say, he was a kind, honest, dedicated and hard working. It is through this amazing and beautiful comic that we get a little insight into the real life world of Jack Kirby. James Romberger is a world renowned cartoonist and he brings such heart to this unique book. "The Oven," is a story that melds two battles fought by Jack Kirby in two different eras. The first battle is his cancer diagnosis, which serves as a springboard for the other battle: one of his most harrowing experiences during World War II.
Obviously, as Romberger attests to later, the scenes of Kirby going through this doctor visit is "fictionalized guesstimation". As only Kirby truly could explain his feelings of what he went through. Using his battle in the war to mirror his cancer battle was a stroke of brilliance. While this is tells of only a simple doctor visit, the beginning of his battle, it was something that touched me to my very core. I found myself connecting to Kirby in a way I never have before.
This book isn't just a comic though, it's accompanied by an essay, "The Real Thing," which elaborates on those issues in relation to Kirby's biography. It's here that Romberger shares personal experiences he had with Kirby while also detailing some of the time periods discussed in the comic prior. This is another reason that this book will hold a special place in my collection. This is unlike any Kirby product I've ever read. I hope this isn't the end of this book and that Romberger brings more Kirby tales for all of us enjoy.
For Real is a true celebration and a subtle look at one of America's greatest cartoonists to ever put pencil to paper. This is must for Kirby and comic book fans a like. Don't miss out on this amazing book!
If you can't find this at your LCS, you can buy it directly from Uncivilized Book at the link below.