The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

2001: When Two Sorts of Genius Collide

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At The Dissolve, Noel Murray considers Jack Kirby’s comic book adaptation of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey directed by Stanley Kubrick:

It’s not essential to know how Kubrick’s fascinations with avant-garde film and music influenced 2001, or to focus on how a mid-1960s conception of computers and technology affected the character of HAL, who’s like an elaborate version of one of those early chess-playing robots. But it does recontextualize 2001 to think of it as the product of an individual, working in concert with other individuals, none of them delivering messages from on high. And for all the angry letters Marvel received (and, to its credit, published) from 2001 fans who felt Kirby was besmirching their favorite film, it helps to remember the pressures that Kirby was under at the time, internally and externally, and to see the 10 issues and one tabloid edition of his 2001 as the product of a scatterbrained genius grappling with his own relevance. Kubrick and Kirby—these were both just people, grasping at something just beyond them, while planting guideposts for others to follow.


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