“Warriors of Illusion”

His­to­ry: The name ‘Jack Kir­by’ is be one that every comics fan should imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize: the artist behind the cre­ation of some of the most rec­og­niz­able comics char­ac­ters ever, such as Cap­tain Amer­i­ca, the Fan­tas­tic Four, the Incred­i­ble Hulk, the Uncan­ny X‑Men., as well as draw­ing just about every major comics char­ac­ter in exis­tence for just about every comics com­pa­ny around. He was called Jack “The King” Kir­by and “The King of Comics“1 and deserved ever acco­lade giv­en him.

But there was a time when he was­n’t work­ing in the comics indus­try. Dis­af­fect­ed with both Mar­vel and DC, he went to Hol­ly­wood and worked for the Ruby-Spears ani­ma­tion com­pa­ny, where he helped cre­ate the visu­als for such ani­mat­ed series as “Thun­darr the Bar­bar­ian” 2 and “Mis­ter T” 3. But that was­n’t all he did: he cre­at­ed a large set of pre­lim­i­nary art­work for a num­ber of oth­er char­ac­ters and groups which have not seen the light of day until recently.

Descrip­tion: One of these groups was enti­tled the “War­riors of Illu­sion”. From what I have been able to gath­er, these war­riors were all a mas­ter of some form of illu­sion: for exam­ple, the one on the left appears to be a mas­ter of the art of escape illu­sions, judg­ing from the locks and chains motif. The lone female, who used the name Cloak, was a mas­ter of dis­ap­pear­ances. Not sure if they spe­cial­ized only in stage mag­ic but the float­ing yogi with the lev­i­tat­ing rope seems to indi­cate that some kind of mys­ti­cal pow­er was involved. Note that they all share a com­mon insignia, the star­ing eye. Most have it cen­tered on the “third-eye” chakra point, while the one in the cen­ter, appar­ent­ly the leader, has it on his glove.

Not only did they were they magi­cians, they also had a spe­cial­ized vehi­cle: Cloak (above) has a very Kir­by-esque tr-wheel­er while Decep­tor (below) has what one com­men­ta­tor described as “a cross between a ’67 Chevy Impala and a dragon.”

Com­men­tary: Illu­sions are a way to deceive and there­fore manip­u­late and con­trol the mind, so its appro­pri­ate mate­r­i­al for the blog. Besides, the ‘star­ing eye’ motif is so heav­i­ly con­nect­ed with hyp­no­sis that there had to be some kind of mys­ti­cal illu­sions involved, not just the stan­dard stage mag­ic tricks.

Besides, this is Jack Kir­by. What more rea­son do I need to include it?

Adden­da: The art­work was released at a set of trad­ing cards.

[amtap amazon:asin=B002GNKPJK]

I have to include the fol­low­ing card, just for the image in the upper left. “The Bad Guys” were the mem­bers of the Empire of Steel, the oppo­nents to anoth­er of Kir­by’s hero teams, Rox­ie’s Raiders. That is Roxy in the clutch­es of the evil doctor.

Ref­er­ences:

Foot­note:

  1. Not to be con­fused with John­ny Car­son, also known as “The King of Comics”. John­ny once dis­cov­ered some­thing that referred to Kir­by as “the King of Comics” and won­dered who this guy Kir­by was and where did he do his com­e­dy? Comics and TV writer Mark Evanier wrote to John­ny and explained that the two dif­fer­ent fields of “comics” and that Jack was def­i­nite­ly enti­tled to be the “king” of the comics books. John­ny, once he under­stood the dif­fer­ence, apol­o­gized to Jack on air.
  2. The evil wiz­ard Gem­i­ni is a clas­sic Kir­by design, for example.
  3. I’m not going to hold the lat­ter against him. Ruby-Spears pos­si­bly paid Jack more for the few years he worked for them than any­thing he ever got from work­ing all those years at Mar­vel or DC. That was just the way the comics busi­ness was back then.

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