by Frederick C. Szebin



Somewhere in the dawn of Time, we began—somehow,  in these perilous times we keep moving on—and some time in the future, something will happen to change us! The process of change began eons ago with a creature called—BEAST KILLER!  The monolith may be the cause! It does not belong to this world—yet it does belong to us all!  Read on—and behold its awesome secrets!

With this typically purplish prose, comic book legend Jack Kirby put his own spin to the 2001 saga in the premiere issue of Marvel Comics’ 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1976. In that Bicentennial summer, Marvel had released a comic book version of the film under their over-sized Marvel Treasury banner, and followed it quickly with this series written, drawn and edited by Kirby, co-creator of the immortal Captain America, and driving force behind such DC Comics heroes as The New Gods, Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth, and The Demon, as well as early artist behind such historic four-color creations as The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and The Incredible Hulk.  Marvel wasn’t the first to set The Ultimate Trip to four colors, with Howard Johnson offering an eight page giveaway in 1968 that adapted the epic scale of the movie and downsized it to six comic book pages, then offered two more pages of games and puzzles. Kirby’s brazen, eye-catching, but sometimes clunky style worked well on the whole with the larger-than-life intentions of the 2001 mythos.  Although not every issue is a keeper, the stories that stay within the poetic adventure of Arthur C. Clarke’s and Stanley Kubrick’s alien-manipulated universe are far different from any other comic book in the medium.

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