Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jack Kirby

From the Sunday NY Times editorial section, for anyone what didn't see it. Discuss.


Kali Fontecchio said...

How come he isn't well known?

Jim Smith said...

Kali: My theory is: I don't know. He has been a hero to many cartoonists for decades maybe centuries. My friend in junior high thought it was garbage but he was a die-hard DC fan. Jack's work only gets better with time which is the big test of art I believe. On a related subject,I got to meet another hero in San Diego. Neal Adams was crossing the street and I said "Do you know who you are?" and he said "Yes". It was cool. I might do an interview of Neal if he agrees to being in Girls and Corpses magazine.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Oh yeah that reminds me! Good luck at your show Wednesday! Your guitaring kills me!

pappy d said...

Jack was the greatest artist of pubescent rage of all time. No panel could contain him. Gravity quailed before his might. There is so much energy in his poses that his people are dynamic standing still.

And I don't even like comics.

pappy d said...

P.S. Where are you playing Wed.?

Jim Smith said...

Pappy, it is a book signing for Girls and Corpses at Dark Delicacies on Burbank Blvd in NoHo. I'll post the address and schedule.

Drifta39 said...

Reminds me of Bob McKimson... we heard so little of him yet he made those great Foghorn cartoons. Hell, I hadn't heard of him until I saw him mentioned on John Kricfalusi's blog.

amir avni said...

You can't say the same about Milt Kahl, even though McKimson's animation is just as skilled.It shines through much smaller budget productions.

I just think being renowned doesn't make you the best, you can be the best and remain unknown, or unpopular. Or worse, being renowned for work that is far from your best.

Up until now artists who wanted to be remembered should have worked at Disney's, but I think the Internet and ASIFA-Hollywood Archive is changing that. John too, I found out about so many great cartoons thanks to him.

Jack "King" Kirby still Rules.

Anonymous said...

>Reminds me of Bob McKimson... we heard so little of him yet he made those great Foghorn cartoons. Hell, I hadn't heard of him until I saw him mentioned on John Kricfalusi's blog.

WHAT?!?! Did you never see a Looney Tune?

Jose said...

all right, new post!

thanks for the artice scan...

kirby not known? really? to who?

i mean i know it'd be hard getting noticed with stan lee-as-brand-name in front of ya, but come on! this is king kirby!

Jim Smith said...

There are more than a few like Kirby who were bonafide geniuses like Feininger, Sukalsi, Gross, and such who only got recognized by other artists. Steve Ditko was a prime moving force on Spiderman yet got barely a mention in the movie, though he might prefer it that way. I'm glad to see Kirby get some due after all these years of me worshipping and being told that comics were stupid, waste of allowance money. Sad to say I still get an allowance. Nobody undertstands!

Drifta39 said...

>>WHAT?!?! Did you never see a Looney Tune?<<

As a kid I NEVER looked at credits.

Jose said...

ah. when you mention steve ditko... yeah. so kirby wasn't recognised in an overall sense - publicly -you mean? like say stan lee and the spotlight on him.

yeah, ditko later ended doing spiderman pratically alone, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

It's about time Kirby was reminded to the general public. The only recent mention of him was in that Adventures of Superman cartoon; there was a cop that not only looked liked Jack, but had his mannerisms& Manhattan accent.

Ironically, the character was killed by Darkside, when the idiot yelled and calling the evil overlord a coward.

This reminds me. I'm going to pick up Vol.1 of Marvel Omnibus Amazing Spider-Man & the Fantastic Four. These volumes collect the beginning run of their respective series.

For example, The Spider-Man one collects Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-38 and Annual #1-2 - plus the Spider-Man stories from Fantastic Four Annual #1 & Strange Tales Annual #2, and the covers to Marvel Tales #3-28 & Annual #1-2.

They have a very nice hardcover, both illustrated by Alex Ross. They are somewhat pricey, but they are worth it. Both are huge books, and they contain all of the Lee/Ditko/ Kirby goodness that there ever was, or will be. I just thought you might be interested, since you were heavily inspired by the guy during that Rippin’ Friends skid you did with John. That, and the books are pure, corny, good fun.

Jim Smith said...

Yeah, Jose - seems like everybody in the galaxy knows who Spiderman, Hulk, Capt. America, FF, but how few know who the creators but that's the double edge. The art has been around since the thirties (or earlier for the newspapers), standing the test of time but made at a time when the comic book artist was anonymous. Stan Lee is smart about promoting and deserves a lot of respect for the way he spiced up the stories - they seem dry without his touch and many of the ideas were his. But without the art it is just so much typing. Great writers seem to be really far and few in betwixt. Thanks for chiming in.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jim, what about Alex Toth?

pappy d said...

Here's a good intro if you're not familiar with Alex Toth.

He did some character designs on Johnny Quest & Superfriends at H-B. His drawing is so simple, capturing form & exquisite graphic design with perfect mastery.

As a boy animator he made me cry out of sheer shittyness.

Jim Smith said...

Alex Toth was a god to me before I even knew his name. First it was Clutch Cargo and Space Angel, two of the weirdest shows ever, then the Hanna-Barbera shows. When Space Ghost first hit the air I was awestruck by th drawings, despite the limited animation. Though it was a Doug Wildey creation, Toth was the primary designer, I believe on Jonny Quest, which was the first cartoon (with the Flintstones) to air in primetime. Also you had Top Cat and The Jetsons on at night - good Lord that was cool. There was no cable at the time so these were like an oasis in the desert to a dying man. I recommend the the book Alex Toth came out with back in the 80s I think.

Jim Smith said...

Pappy D, thanks for the Toth website info.

PCUnfunny said...

The last two paragraphs were very interesting. So all those all those dramatic fights came from real life observation. And also Kirby's focus was incredible.

Jim Smith said...

Pcunfunny: Yes he was observant alright. Also he was a machine who cranked so many drawings that by the time the 60s came along he could do a page from top to bottom with hardly any roughs or thumbnails (or so I'm told).10 pages a day also but that may be part of the legend. I prefer to believe it.
Regarding a previous post, Doug
Wildey designed the whole Jonny Quest show and was the primary designer until Toth started doing a lot of the work, including storyboards. I learned this from John Dorman, who worked with Wildey and hung out with him; sorry for the misinformation.

Ethan said...

Kirby is the fucking man.

Jim Smith said...

Ethan, I'm sure Kirby would be flattered. Fuckin'a.

PCUnfunny said...

Jim: HE WASN'T HUMAN I TELLS YEAH ! Seriously though, that is OD.

Paul said...


Do you remember that issue of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entitled, Donatello #1? That particular mag was a tribute to Jack, and even featured him as a character dubbed, "Kirby." In the back, there is a petition that people could sign to help Kirby get his artwork back from Marvel. Donatello #1, in full, is up on the TMNT website. If you'd like to see the petition from that issue, though, I'd have to scan it.
Laird also converted that particular comic into an episode of the TMNT cartoon a couple years ago.

Ethan said...

Fuckin'a is right! Every man, woman and child should own a sample of Kirby's work. If anything, looking at Kirby's art will make you draw, because you'll try to figure it out and be like, "How the fuck did he do it?"!

crsP said...

Greetings and salutations Jim Smith,

I read that article, you know, the one you put up. The one you posted, on the thing, you know the post thingy on Jack Kirby!

I was somewhat surprised to find out that he not so well known. I mean, I'm not a comic collector [really like comic artwork though'] and even I was aware of him, and instantly recognised his style being swiped in the Dexter's Lab 'tribute' I though the author of that article only presumed he was not given his dues because he had no Hollywood movie about him. So I thought I would check out my facts, and whilst at it, search for some pencils [I wanted undiluted Kirby]. He seemed to have a following, in so much as he is counterfeited [in the literal sense of the word] a lot these days and apparently this goes on for the more popular artists. But then I read that he made a few comics in the 90's that were largely ignored at the time. What a shame.

As for the amount of pages he did per day, I read it was 3. But I just found this:

"To find out for sure, I went to everyone’s favorite Jack Kirby expert, Mark Evanier, and here’s what he had to say:

Jack often did more than three a day. During the 1963-1967 period, he often did five or six a day. His 1970 deal with DC required fifteen a week and he sometimes did twenty."

Quite remarkable. And those not in the know should be pointed out that comics aren't drawn at the size of comic books, but at larger sizes and reduced. At least that's my understanding as a non-expert.

I also found it interesting that he started in the animation business. And got sick of it. Not the rosy place to be even in those days, it would seem.

Jim Smith said...

crsp: Thanks, and yes he worked for Fleischer on Popeye. They even have some of his drawings from those days, somewhere in a book I saw once a while back.

Anonymous said...