2001: A Space Odyssey [comics]

Tagged: Comics

1. US oversized tabloid-format perfect-bound Comics publication. Publisher: Marvel Comics. Editor: Jack Kirby. One issue dated 1976.

This "treasury edition" comics adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was part of the deal which led to Jack Kirby's brief return to Marvel Comics in the mid-1970s. Though generally faithful to the film, Kirby made some alterations, for example giving the Computer Hal 9000 lines of dialogue from an earlier version of the script; some additional dialogue was also taken from the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by Arthur C Clarke. Kirby interspersed his artwork with black and white stills from the film. Frank Giacoia (1924-1988) also contributed artwork; comics author and critic David Anthony Kraft wrote a ten-page article discussing the film's influence on sf Cinema. The publication led into Kirby's monthly regular-format comics series with the same title: see 2 below. [GSt/DRL]

2. US Comics series published by Marvel Comics. Editor: Archie Goodwin. Ten monthly issues, January 1976 to September 1977.

This short-lived title, part of Kirby's ill-fated return to Marvel Comics in the mid-1970s, followed quickly on the heels of the film's comics adaptation (1 above). It sequelled the film with stories about the experiences of other humans transformed by encounters with 2001's mysterious monoliths. The series soon failed, perhaps because too far removed from the Superhero fodder to which Marvel's readership was then accustomed. The final three issues introduced a highly advanced sentient Robot initially called Mister Machine, part of a line of robots known as the X-51 series. All save Mister Machine were destroyed in a revolt against humanity. Taking its inventor's name Aaron Stack, the robot became known as Machine Man, and was ultimately able to blend into human society. The title is now best remembered for this character, who proved popular enough to be brought back to the 1970s via Time Travel to star in his own short-lived comic Machine Man (1978; revived 1984-1985; revived 1999 as X-51, The Machine Man). He continues to make occasional guest appearances in Marvel titles as a superhero in his own right. [GSt/DRL]

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