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The Return of Gorgilla (Monsterbus p.582)

The previous Gorgilla story was essentially the first half of King Kong. So, instructed to bring him back, Kirby did the second half. Except Kirby gives the creature more dignity: he is never captured. The story is notable for the endless variety of Kirby's creations (and of course the beautiful set piece art). I think this may be the first time we've seen a monster be quite this gentle and innocent. After more than sixty stories Kirby still comes up with something new.

This is interesting for what it confirms about the relationship between Kirby and his editor, Lee. Nothing major here, but we don't have access to their conversations and Kirby's original un-erased pencil notes, so all evidence is useful.

First, this is the "return of" and says it's by popular demand. The timing suggest this is probably true: there is enough time for fan mail to come in. So this was requested by Lee.

Second, the splash page is simply the cover, re-coloured. Either Kirby was very busy, or his heart was not in it, or Lee didn't like his original page. Based on the rest of the story, I'm guessing Kirby's heart was not in this.

The middle of the story has classic Lee repetition, indicating that Lee took more interest than normal. E.g. from page 5: "What should he do? What could he do? What? What???" Or page 6, "He lives! He still lives!!"

There is no narrative reason for this story. The original story had a perfect ending, so I can't see Kirby being excited about ruining that. Bringing him back undermines that ending: the whole point was that Gorgilla belonged there. Wanting to see more humans was a weak excuse as he already had humans in Borneo. And he was living in uncharted jungle, so was probably hundreds of miles from the coast. Nothing about bringing him back really makes sense, and Kirby would know it. But if you're going to do it then you may as well finish the King Kong story.

Unusually, Kirby pushed the comics code by showing an innocent man like creature shot, so he definitely could not come back again.

Lee didn't care that the return made no sense.He thought it might make short term sales, even though it weakened the original story. That was a classic cash grab that harms the source material. Kirby is about creating stories of lasting value. Lee was about that month's sales. Which is why Kirby comics always sold better than Lee comics.