Sunday, December 12, 2010

For The Morbidly Curious

Some time back on the now defunct Kirby-L there was some debate as to whether Jack Kirby had actually had a heart bypass operation.  One Kirby friend claimed he had been swimming with Kirby and had never seen a bypass scar, but just recently I was viewing some Kirby video and I think I see some evidence of a bypass scar.

Judge for yourselves by looking at these screen captures:

I know that hair does not grow in scar tissue, so when you look at this earlier picture of Jack with all the visible chest hair, it's fairly obvious that something changed:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kirby-L R.I.P.


Well, Kirby-L was finally shut down last night.  I'm not sure what the point of doing that was.  This incarnation of Kirby-L had been around since 1999 and was an off-shoot of a list by the same name which had been started even earlier by Chrissie Harper in 1996.

A number of splinter groups have been started in an attempt to replace Kirby-L, but, as of this writing, none of them even come close to the number of members Kirby-L had at the time of it's closing which was well over 700.

At this time

"Jack Kirby Creates" has 27 members

Kirbyville  has 32 members

JackKirby  has 51 members

Personally, I think it would have been more admirable of the Kirby-L moderator to offer the list back to it's original creator Chrissie Harper than to simply "nuke" it in this inelegant way.

Jack thinks killing Kirby-L "stinks"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kirby Double Page Splash

Kirby made great use of the double-page splash.  Click HERE to see 103 of them on one site!  (Thanks to Dr. Marc Miyake for pointing me to this page)

Jack Kirby

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kirby at the Drawing Board

The KirbyMuseum has just uploaded a video onto YouTube of Mr. Kirby at his drawing board.  Originally shot by Kirby friend and associate Greg Theakston in 1983.  It's an interesting glimpse of Jack at work.

I would have preferred the camera be situated on the left so that one could actually see the lead hitting the paper, but it is still a treasure, and it's great to hear Jack and Roz once again.

Click HERE to enjoy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joe Simon turns 97

Jack Kirby's longtime partner, Joe Simon, turns 97 today!  Happy Birthday, Joe, you are immortal!

Joe and his most famous creation, Captain America

Joe does "The Last Supper" his way

In the 1970s, Sandman #1 was the final Simon and Kirby collaboration.  The first issue was a tremendous seller, so the Simon&Kirby team ended on a high note:

Alternate unused cover based on a design by Jerry Grandenetti
Jack Kirby-pencils/Joe Simon-inks

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kirby on Television

Jack managed to make it on to television a number of times.  Here's a few images from his appearance on the 1970s "Hulk" television show where he played a police sketch artist:

Below are some images of Jack and his wife Roz on the short-lived Bob Newhart program "Bob":

Roz Kirby

Kirby was also interviewed a number of times.  Below are some images from "Entertainment Tonight" where Jack was interviewed by Catherine Mann:

And here's Jack being interviewed by WXII  Channel 12 Winston-Salem North Carolina:

It's a shame that, despite numerous television appearances and newspaper interviews, Jack Kirby is not more well-known to the general public.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kirby Casual Friday

I got a number of emails regarding the Kirby Casual Friday photo:

I thought you might like a closer look at the Kirby-Tech image Jack was working on:

Thanks to Kirby-L whipping boy Robert Steibel for sending me the above scan many moons ago. :-)  Check out his blog:  Kirby Dynamics

Jack Kirby

Monday, October 4, 2010

Toth Inhibited

Regarding my last post:  Marc Miyake and Bosch Fawstin reminded me of this Toth interview that first appeared in the Anvil Anthology and was later reprinted in The Jack Kirby Collector:

TOTH- "...I inked a page of Jack Kirby's once, and I really didn't want to do it, but I did it, because it... wasn't the polished page. I loved the pencils. Beautiful pencils. But I always had the feeling that nobody should ever have inked Kirby except Kirby. I found that out when I tried to ink that page, because I told the fellow that I was doing it for, I said, "you're gonna be very disappointed. You're hoping to see a blend of Toth and Kirby and it just ain't gonna happen because I'm very inhibited about this and there's only one way to ink this page, and that's the way Kirby would ink it, so there's no way to disagree with him, on the page. 

Hmmm, I think Toth is making excuses for his inking style and his inability to wrap his mind around the assignment.  Mr. Toth continues:

TOTH: You've got to go along with what's there, even though this is not a polished page in pencils." But I knew what he was getting at. I wasn't going to pop in a lot of blacks because that's the way I do it, it wouldn't work

Personally, I think Toth tends to use blacks too much, sometimes as a crutch, and it's a gimmick that can attract too much attention to itself, thereby distracting the reader from the flow of the story.

I also find Toth's assertion that the inker has to "go along with what's there" to be rubbish.  Look at what Frank Miller (another black ink "gimmick" guy) can do with Kirby's pencils:

The Kirby purists who don't like it when Vince Colletta simplifies Kirby's background buildings will freak out when they see what Frank Miller has done to the backgrounds here, but Miller has done what Toth said couldn't be done, he's defied Kirby's line.

Here's another Kirby/Miller combination from "Satan's Six":

Whether the Kirby/Miller combination works is purely subjective, it's a little too gimmicky for me.   It makes for an interesting change of pace, but I certainly wouldn't want a steady diet of it.  

TOTH: So I was very inhibited and I totally submerged myself as much as I could and tried to do it the way he might.

Another master of shadow and light was Wally Wood:

 Wood, like Miller, doesn't seem at all "intimidated" by the idea of bringing his own style to Kirby's work.  Here, in my opinion, the combination works beautifully, unlike Toth's attempt (below) which fails miserably.

Interviewer: How did you feel the piece came out?

TOTH: I just never wanted to see it again.

Join the club, Alex....join the club.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to ruin a Jack Kirby drawing.

How do you ruin a Kirby drawing? Simple, have Alex Toth ink it.

Below we have a fairly nice Kirby pencil drawing of the Boy's Ranch gang.

Next we have the same drawing as inked by Alex Toth:
Ya know, it's fairly easy for a competent artist to ink Kirby.  As Jack himself said, "it's all there" in the drawing, but somehow Mr. Toth has managed to wreck this thing.  It's like Toth has no idea how to vary line weight.  How flat it all looks.  Are those supposed to be clothing folds?  Really?  Another term for inker is "embellisher", obviously, Alex has not "embellished" here.  Can you hear this drawing crying out?  It's saying, "Get me Joe Sinnott, Vince Colletta, or Mike Royer...Help!"

Speaking of "embellishers" , there are purists who say inkers should never alter a line, but I tend to disagree, especially if the original line is not a strong one.  Take a look at the Captain Victory example below:

The original pencils on the left were drawn when Jack was up in years, and frankly, it's rather ugly, it doesn't look so much like Captain Victory as it does Quasimodo.  The inker, Jerry Ordway, has taken quite a few liberties, but, in my opinion, has improved on it.  Ordway has embellished the original drawing.  Contrast this with the Boy's Ranch drawing where Toth has detracted from the original.

Demon Dogs! Thundarr has arrived on DVD!

"From out of space comes a runaway 
planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, 
unleashing cosmic destruction. Man's civilization is 
cast in ruin. 

Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn... 

A strange new world rises from the old: a world of 
savagery, super science, and sorcery. But one man 
bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions 
Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, 
his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the 
forces of evil. 

He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!" 
Yes, the 1980's cartoon, "Thundarr the Barbarian" is finally 
available on DVD.  This Saturday morning cartoon was created 
by Steve Gerber,  and while the three central characters were 
designed by Alex Toth, the general look and feel of the show 
belongs to Jack Kirby.

Below are a few screen captures which show a sampling of characters 
likely designed by Kirby.

Kirby-Tech and futuristic Kirby cities also found their way into the Thundarr series.  Of course, all of Kirby's designs were simplified due to the limited animation constraints of the time:

The Thundarr dvd can be ordered here: THUNDARR DVD

The site does warn that the dvd has NOT been remastered, so don't expect HD 3-D or any other modern enhancements.   Unlike Space Ghost and some of the other sci-fi cartoon shows of the past, Thundarr is fairly well-written and can be enjoyed by adults as well as children, so order yours today and relive the future of your past.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Captain America - Madman!

Here's a sketch Jack Kirby did back in 1976 for Connie Fox, a reporter for KTTV in Los Angeles.

Now fast-forward a number of years and we find a Kirby drawing of Mike Allred's Madman.  Again, I wonder if Jack did any of the alterations, or if he left it all up to the inker.