Cartoonist Jack Kirby’s creations form the bedrock of Marvel Comics’ empire in both comic and film, but now the artist’s family is working with an all-star cast of creators to create the next chapter on “the King” last big creator-owned series. This August, Dynamite Entertainment will launch Captain Victory And the Galactic Rangers, a new series reimagining Kirby’s creation for the modern-day by writer Joe Casey and artists like Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg, Jim Mahfood, Michael Fiffe and more.
In Kirby’s original 1984 creator-owned series, Captain Victory was one-part sheriff and one-part space hero, leading a group of like-minded souls called the Galactic Rangers. Since that original series, Victory has shown up in several other Kirby-related projects such as Marvel/Icon’s Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters and Dynamite’s Kirby:Genesis. Unlike his previous creations such as Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the New Gods, Kirby and his family retained the full rights to Captain Victory – allowing and encouraging Casey and his fellow creators to reinvigorate the concept for today.
Newsarama talked with Casey, a well-known Kirby fan, about the series, as well as his own original introduction to the title as a fan back in the 1980s.
Newsarama: Joe, what makes Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangersso exciting for you?
Joe Casey: I loved the series when I was a kid and I'm loving what we're doing with it now. It's a huge honor to contribute to something that Kirby actually owned (and that his family still owns). That's a big responsibility that none of us take lightly.
Nrama: Although the pedigree of Jack Kirby is held in high regard, not everyone is aware of who Captain Victory was – or is. So Joe, just who is he?
Casey: Excellent question. I have a feeling that a lot of readers picking this up for the first time will be asking that very same question. This series will answer it.
Nrama: These preview pages give us hints. Although there was only just over a dozen issues published, Captain Victory and co. went to a lot of places and met a lot of strange characters. What can readers expect to see here?
Casey: More places and more strange characters. We figured this was a good time to try and reinvent sci-fi pulp comics and this is the perfect vehicle to do that. It's what Kirby did time and time again with every genre he worked in (or invented, in many cases).
Nrama: These characters were one of Jack Kirby’s last major publicly known creations for comics, done with allusions to a connection to his New Gods over at DC. How did you come to know of this comic, and how now do you view it as a writer coming in to revive it for modern audiences?
Casey: I was buying it and reading it when it first came out. It was really my first experience with Kirby as "Jack Kirby". I was too young to know much of his mid-70's Marvel work and it was later on that I went back and discovered his seminal Silver Age work (at Marvel and at DC). So, for me this was the first new Kirby I'd ever read. And, as is his gift, I was completely fascinated by what he was doing. Frankly, I still am. When I'm writing this series, I'm doing everything I can to maintain that same sensibility, while placing it in a context that works for 2014 and beyond.
Nrama: Will you be exploring any of those clues Kirby left of ties to the New Gods?
Casey: Maybe... but you'll have to read the book to find out to what extent.
Nrama: Working with you on this is a real super group of artists: Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg, Ulises Farinas, and more. How’d you and Dynamite wrangle this talent?
Casey: Pretty simple process. I outlined my approach to Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci and he agreed, and then I went recruiting. Seems like everyone I contacted was psyched to be a part of it. Either they were fans of Kirby (and, really, who isn't?) or, better yet, they were actually fans of the original Captain Victory series. These guys are some of my favorite artists making comic books right now, so to get them all under one cover (so to speak) has been amazing.
Nrama: Kirby did 13 issues and a special of this series in the early 1980s. Is that the essential research for you, or do you have other things by Kirby that inform your approach here?
Casey: Jack Kirby is such an influence on how I look at the art form, I couldn't even begin to quantify it... on any project I've ever worked on. It just feels like its just part of my DNA now. I would think that for anyone who's ever worked in this medium, it's in their DNA whether they're conscious of it or not.
Nrama: Have you had any conversations with the Kirby family about this? I remember Jack’s grandson Jeremy doing a revised Captain Victory back in 2000.
Casey: Thanks to the good folks at Dynamite, who handle this license with the right degree of care and attention, the Kirby estate is certainly up to speed on what we're doing. So far, so good. We're all in this to honor the best that our industry ever had so, as far as I'm concerned, it's full speed ahead.