May 18, 2010

Madam Medusa

Jack frequently used mythology as a springboard for character creation -- here is Jack's unique take on Medusa.

Leave it to Jack to focus on the famous Gorgon from Greek mythology and instead of portraying her with a head of terrifying cobras that turn men into stone, she has super-powered strawberry dreadlocks -- in this frame, her auburn curls knock over a whole army (page 5, panel 6). Talk about having "big hair."

I'll guess the premise of Kirby hair-power comes from fairy tales like Rapunzel and Goldilocks, mixed with a little bit of Sampson, but I wonder if there are other characters from mythology or the science-fiction pulps who could use their braids to beat up enemies.

Here's the first appearance of Jack's Medusa in costume, from Fantastic Four # 36 (1965), art by Kirby and Chic Stone. Medusa's a member of a team of wanna-be criminals called the Frightful Four (page 8, panel 1). I wonder who decided on the matching purple outfits.

Page 8, panel 2. Mister Fantastic and Sue Storm's engagement party.

This is the image that appears in the story right after the one above. It has nothing to do with Medusa, but as I look through all these old Kirby art scans, it never ceases to amaze me how many brilliant examples of Kirby art are in every issue. Packed into this one frame you have the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Avengers (featuring Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Giant Man and the Wasp). This was back in 1965 -- who knew there were so many future movie stars in that room.

Page 13, panel 1. Medusa uses her hair to climb around the rooftops of New York City.

Page 3, panel 2. Medusa on the attack with her ponytail. Look's like Sue Storm is the one having a bad hair day in more ways than one.

Over the years, Medusa became much prettier and she improved her costume design. This is a scan of the original art to Fantastic Four # 77, p. 15 (1968), inks by Joe Sinnott. Medusa is on the right, the other characters are members of Jack's Inhumans (left-to-right: Triton, Karnak, Black Bolt, and Crystal).

Gorgeous pin-up of Medusa with an impossibly thin waist. A photograph of the psychedelic black light poster, printed by a company called Third Eye in 1971. The original image of the Medusa pin-up first appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #5 (1967), inks by Frank Giacoia. The poster measures 27 inches x 33 inches.

I see one of these is for sale on eBay for almost three hundred bucks. I have one in the closet at home I should dust off and sell. This scan doesn't do the image justice -- the colors are so bright they completely overwhelm everything else in the room, which is why I have it tucked away.