There has been much debate on who first used the term “graphic novel” and who created the first graphic novel. Like most of recorded history, there are different versions and the Internet is, of course, very good at propagating information, but not at discerning which information is most accurate.
This article, appearing at Comics Alliance, points to the fact that Will Eisner is often credited as the originator of the term “graphic novel” and that one of its first known or most widely known applications was for Eisner’s 1978 publication, “A Contract With God.”
It goes on to say that Jack Katz may have preceded Will Eisner’s use of the term, at least in private conversations and correspondence. Jack Katz is also the first to announce the creation of a graphic novel, if not the first to actually complete one. Given the scope of “The First Kingdom” and the fact that it took some 15 years to complete, it’s not surprising if he was not the first to market with a “complete” graphic novel.
Read the original article at Comics Alliance by Chris Sims here: The Secret Origin of the ‘Graphic Novel’: Where Eisner Heard the Term
This is where things start to get really exciting! Fans of The First Kingdom have not seen any new publications since the last of the 24 books were published in the early 80s. For the first time, two sequels are being published, in hard cover, by Titan Publishing. These are “The Space Explorer’s Club” and “Destiny.” These are volumes five and six respectively. We just received some advance copies of volume five, “The Space Explorer’s Club” and it is beautiful! It is scheduled for release on September 24, 2014. Jack Katz has really hit his stride on these last two volumes, taking up where he left off.
In his Wikipedia, “Katz admits that the first twenty issues are the introduction to the real Kingdom story, issues 21–24. The first twenty issues are filled with past histories that are interwoven and repeat the same doomed cycle: a hard-won ascent from primitivity blossoms into a golden age of scientific advancement which inevitably devolves into war and a preoccupation with survival and superstition. Katz’s fears concerning the human condition are revealed here. His characters haven’t been able to transcend their “early programming” born out of environmental stresses; they can’t escape their base motivations such as greed, envy, jealousy, etc. The chance for humanity to break this cycle comes with the arrival of Queltar in Book 20, who encourages a select few to join him and embrace their true potential among the stars.”
It’s amazing to think that Jack was in his early 50s when he finished the first 24 books and now in his 80s, he’s drawing and writing better than ever. In fact, he’s still working on the series. With his permission, we may be able to reveal some sneak peeks here at some point.
Our friend, Bob Gill, just sent this link to Pintsasia. Guest Author Jack Katz gives us some more insight into how and why The First Kingdom came to be. Read it HERE.
A rare chance to see Jack Katz live, signing his books, The First Kingdom, volumes 1-2, which you can purchase at the event. Jack hasn’t made a public appearance like this since Comic-Con 2013 and may not be due for another for some time, so don’t miss it.
More on The Book Passage website HERE.
Reviewer Martin Thomas gave The First Kingdom, Vol. 1 – The Birth of Tundran five stars, stating,”Jack Katz’s The First Kingdom is an intense work that deserves, or really demands, concentration and devotion from the reader.” Like many other reviewers, he points out that this is super dense work, speaking of both the visuals and the text.
Read the full review HERE.
Thomas also highlighted his review on his blog, Daddy Rolled a 1, which you can read HERE.
“The world is vast, the characters are numerous, and the drawings are so very detailed that it takes ages to get through a page. Do not read this as a negative thing.”
Read the rave review HERE
“Simply put, The First Kingdom: The Birth of Tundran succeeds
as an enormously engaging adventure that keeps the pages turning
and demands your attention.”
- Andy Wolverton, Comics Alternative
Read the entire review HERE.
“The First Kingdom is a historical benchmark in the history of the comic book and graphic novel industry.” – More praise for The First Kingdom Vol. 1 from Bryant Dillon, Fanboy Comics President. Read his glowing review HERE.
“Volume one is a mind-blowing blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and philosophy.” Well that’s a pretty good opening for a review of The First Kingdom. Reviewer Mike Cecchini goes on from there… “Katz cites Hal Foster’s Tarzan strips as an influence on his art, and that certainly shows here. The First Kingdom is told through a combination of dialogue and the “storybook” captions that dominated Foster’s Prince Valiant and Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon.” This is absolutely correct. Jack Katz was not only a great admirer of both Hal Foster and Alex Raymond, but knew both of them personally. They both offered their advice and spurred Jack to invent the graphic novel. There were others involved in those conversations, including Burne Hogarth and Will Eisner, but ultimately it was Jack who had to find a new means of expression for something that had been fomenting since he was only twelve years old. This first book of The First Kingdom may tell the story of the birth of Tundran, but in some ways, it is also the birth of the graphic novel and of Jack Katz. Read the full review HERE.
Retrenders has the same unenviable task as many other reviewers, trying to explain The First Kingdom to a first time audience. I like this line from their review: ”The First Kingdom Vol 1 may not read like one of those Russian novels like ‘War and Peace’, but it’s pretty close.” They also came up with this little gem, “If you like sci-fi/fantasy with that old-school kick…” Read the full review HERE.