Announced at The Beat, IDW is adding Alex Raymond’s “Rip Kirby” to its Library of American Comics series. The five-volume archival hardcover series will contain every daily from the strip’s inception in 1946 through Alex Raymond’s tragic death in 1956.
More info from the release, from the blog of Chris Ryall, editor in chief and publisher of IDW:
Rip Kirby was the first hip and cool detective in newspaper comics. Created by Alex Raymond when he was deactivated from the Marines after World War II, it was a fresh approach to the genre, a departure from the prevailing hard-boiled style of detective fiction. Rip Kirby was urbane and cerebral, and used scientific methods as often as he used his fists when solving crimes and mysteries. But there was still plenty of action — Kirby was an All-American athlete and decorated war hero.
Co-written with Ward Greene, Rip Kirby often addressed contemporary issues, including trafficking in black market babies and the attempt to limit the proliferation of atomic and biological weapons. The supporting cast was comprised of Rip’s valet and assistant, Desmond, and plenty of breathtaking women, particularly Rip’s girlfriend, Honey Dorian, and the raven-haired and aptly-named Pagan Lee. Highly conscious of the fashions of the day, Raymond brought post-war and early-50s chic and fashion to the comics page, dressing his female characters in ultra-chic clothes obviously inspired by Dior’s “New Look.”
Dave Sim has been pontificating on Alex Raymond quite a bit in his series “Glamourpuss,” and “Rip Kirby” has seemed to be one of the big remaining comic-strip reprint projects that no one had taken on. Dean Mullaney, formerly of Eclipse, and IDW have done a great job bringing classic strips to the fore, including recent reprint projects “Little Orphan Annie,” “Dick Tracy” and “Terry and the Pirates.”
– Matt Price