Jack Kirby centennial celebrations continue with Young Animal's Bug!

Contributed by
Feb 16, 2017, 7:30 AM EST

It’s hard to find a comic book that hasn't been influenced in some way by Jack 'The King' Kirby. Whether it stars a character he created, is drawn by an artist he inspired or has a story exploring ideas he originated, the echoes of his creative explosion upon the comics medium can still be felt today, nearly 100 years after his birth.

Publishers have been celebrating The King in different ways, with Marvel putting out their Monsters Unleashed event reviving his classic pantheon of giant monsters, and DC challenging a small army of superstar creators to give their takes on his last boy on Earth character in Kamandi Challenge.

Now DC's Gerard Way-helmed imprint Young Animal is joining the festivities with a tribute to one of his more obscure Fourth World characters, Forager, in a new miniseries entitled Bug!: The Adventures of Forager. The character — a member of a race of evolved insects who lived below the gods of New Genesis — will be taken on a wild multiverse-jumping adventure courtesy of the illustrious Allred family: writer Lee Allred, his artist brother Mike Allred and Mike's wife and colorist, Laura Allred. The family is no stranger to cosmic Kirby coolness themselves, having worked together on Fantastic Four spinoff FF and providing the art for the most recent Silver Surfer series.

Lee spoke to A.V. Club about the family and Kirby aspects of the series:

"Ever since Mike and I read a battered copy of New Gods #9 in the waiting room before guitar lessons, we've loved Forager the Bug … A kinetic action hero on one hand, an alienated, introspective youth on the other — he's the quintessential Young Animal character. We're taking Bug on a slam-bang, save-the-universe romp across DC's Kirbyverse as we search for Bug's true place in life. It's a family project about a family road trip. Don't make us turn this Kirby car around!"

The striking cover suggests appearances from a range of other Kirby creations, such as Kamandi, Orion, Darkseid, the Black Racer, Mister Miracle and Big Barda and even Sandman, all of whom may help or hinder Forager in his quest to put an end to the evil machinations of General Electric.

Not only is this an exciting Kirby project, it's also a notable step for the Young Animal line — which I was one of the first to bring you details on last year — for which this is the first new title to be announced after the initial lineup. It's certainly a positive sign for the imprint's longevity that DC has the confidence to add more titles to the line, especially when they're as relatively obscure as this one. If Bug! matches the exceptional quality of the existing books — and with the creative power behind it, I have no doubts it will — then readers are in for a great ride.

The first issue of Bug!: The Adventures of Forager will boom-tube its way into comic stores everywhere on May 10.