After the Kirby Enthusiasm art opening in the front room at Maxwell’s on Saturday, the rock show starts in the back room at 7 pm! Weep (featuring Doc Hammer from the Venture Brothers)! WJ & the Sweet Sacrifice! The Boom Tubes (formed for the show featuring members of The Neutron Drivers and Starbolt 9)!
This Saturday at 5pm, legendary rock club Maxwell’s in Hoboken will open its Kirby Enthusiasm art show in its front room. More than 30 visual artists have contributed work paying tribute to “The King of Comics.”
At 7pm, in the back room, the Kirby Enthusiasm rock show will start, with WEEP (featuring the Venture Brothers’ Doc Hammer), WJ & The Sweet Sacrifice and (formed for this occasion) The Boom Tubes!
If you’re at New York Comic Con, Maxwell’s is easy to get to from the Javits Center – take a ferry at 39th Street across the Hudson to Hoboken North and walk a few blocks to 1039 Washington St.
The art is awesome – the music is gonna rock – Kirby Enthusiasm!
In her recent decision in favor of Disney/Marvel vs. Jack Kirby’s family, Judge Colleen McMahon stated that its basis was strictly a legal one; her introduction mentioned that fairness had nothing to do with it, it was all about the business arrangement between Martin Goodman and Jack Kirby. Putting legalities and business agreements aside, then, it’s fair to look more closely at the creative work that Jack Kirby, or any comic book cartoonist, has produced using the auteur theory as a guide. What skills are brought to bear in producing a comic story? Who controls the presentation of a piece of visual storytelling?
The panel will start with a presentation then move into discussion among the panelists guided by CSC’s Peter Coogan.
When we first established the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center in 2005, it was intended, as our mission statement illustrates, “to promote and encourage the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of Jack Kirby.” Being a true bootstrap enterprise, a “brick and mortar” presence for the museum was not necessarily practical or an immediate concern, despite our desire to see it happen.
But – whenever we set up at comic book conventions or attend any event, we’re always asked the crucial question: “Where is the museum located? I want to visit!” It’s a question we’ve fielded via snail mail, telephone, email, tweet, and Facebook, and one we’ve decided to finally tackle head-on.
Summer 2011 should have witnessed an explosion of interest in Jack Kirby and his legacy. Three feature films were released between May and July featuring characters that Jack created or co-created (Thor, X-Men, Captain America, and most of their milieu). As of this writing, those films have combined to capture more than $1 billion in box-office receipts – this is in addition to the revenue generated through advertising and licensing. Clearly, millions of people know Jack’s characters and stories. His original work on these characters continues to be reprinted and spotlighted as the genesis of these multi-million dollar properties, and Jack’s art is reaching thousands of new fans every day.
So, why is Jack Kirby still a secret?
As a potential answer to that conundrum, I’ve spent some time this summer with the Museum’s new volunteer assistant director Michael Cecchini scouting locations near where Jack grew up on New York City’s Lower East Side. When Kirby lived there, the Lower East Side was a hellish ghetto that he moved his family out of at the first opportunity. Now it’s one of Manhattan’s most interesting neighborhoods; there are shops, restaurants, clubs and galleries.
Our intention is to set up a temporary, or “pop-up,” brick-and-mortar location for the Jack Kirby Museum. We think the perfect opening time would be during New York Comic Con in October and have it run through the end-of-year holidays to the next January. The ideal size for this purpose is between 800-1,200-square-feet, and would feature original artwork, artifacts from Jack’s life, prominent guest speakers, educational programs and installation pieces inspired by and celebrating the unique work and life of Jack Kirby.
A space like this dedicated entirely to the life and work of Jack Kirby would be equally appealing to seasoned art patrons, pop-art connoisseurs, casual fans, tourists, and families. Successful implementation of this pop-up museum will allow us to pursue the ultimate goal of a PERMANENT space for the Museum in the near future.
Again, nothing like this has ever been attempted. And, in order to make this happen, we need funding.
This is where the Kirby fans come in. If you are a Kirby Museum member in good standing, know that your membership dues have helped us get to this point, but our trustees have required that we fund this exciting project independent of your membership fees. So, please, if you’re considering joining up, we’re happy for your support, and the same membership premiums apply. But if you’d like to help us attain this wonderful goal of giving the Jack Kirby Museum a home for a little while in the now-vibrant Lower East Side, please contribute specifically for that purpose using the “Brick and Mortar fund” button on this page (or just mention “brick and mortar” or “popup” fund in any payment).
We understand that trying to raise significant funds in such a short amount of time is ambitious. Our current estimate is that we’d need more than $30,000 to fund the real estate end of the project (rent, legal, security, insurance, etc.) for ten to twelve weeks. While this sounds like an awful lot of money (and… it is!), it’s really just a question of finding 1,000 Jack Kirby fans willing to donate more than $30 each! Simplistic? Perhaps. We prefer “optimistic”, though. We don’t underestimate Kirby fans. Naming and sponsorship opportunities for exhibits, publications and programs are still being developed; we welcome any discussion going forward.
Everyone who donates $20 or more will have free admission to the pop-up Museum. If you’re already a Museum Member, a donation of $20 or more allows you to bring a friend for free. Everyone who donates will get some Kirby Museum postcards and stickers (new postcards and stickers coming in time for New York Comic Con in October!).
If we don’t meet our goal in time to open this October, we’re going to press on, keep raising the funds and open the pop-up as soon as we can (just not in the cold of winter). We’re making this project a major focus of the Museum until further notice, as we realize now, in light of recent events, that by far the BEST way to open eyes and minds to Jack Kirby and his legacy is with a physical location. And in the event that the generosity of Kirby fans allows us to exceed our goal? Well, then we’ll just have to keep the gallery open even longer, or maybe even investigate a long-term, permanent lease.
Remember, the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, so please, before making a significant gift, you should consult with your financial, tax, and legal advisors for a thorough analysis of your individual situation and the tax consequences.
If you know anyone willing to help with this project, please point them our way. We’d be honored by your generosity and support.
Thanks for your consideration and support,
– Rand Hoppe
(as well as Mike Cecchini and the board; David Schwartz, Tom Kraft and John Morrow)
“I think that the human being is very important.” – Jack Kirby, 28 August 1987
Jack Kirby’s 94th birthday. Another day to celebrate one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest, yet secret, creative forces.
Jack Kirby created compelling, dynamic and imaginative comic book stories and characters from the start of his comic book career in 1939 to his retirement in 1987. Kirby loved movies, was a fan of science fiction, and, due to his outrageous experiences in New York City’s worst ghetto and the European Theater of World War Two, had a unique take on the human experience. He worked extremely hard to make exciting comic book stories that would sell, to keep his family financially secure. It’s a shame that someone has to clear a long-hovering cloud of hyperbole and look past the silence of Martin Goodman’s corporate heirs to learn about one of the creative powerhouses behind the Marvel works. Why is Jack Kirby a secret?
It’s been 17 years since he passed away, and he and his work still exert a deep influence on our cultural landscape. Right as two high-profile movies are released based on his work – usually something to celebrate, in a way – Judge Colleen McMahon determined that Kirby’s work for Martin Goodman between 1958 and 1963 was owned by Martin Goodman at the moment Kirby drew it.
I started writing a criticism of McMahon’s “Memorandum opinion,” but what’s important is that the Kirby heirs have filed an appeal, and obviously, the Museum supports them with their efforts.
Considering the recent, and forthcoming, high-profile movies as well as the maddening court decisions, I’m thankful there are a number of people out there supporting Jack Kirby:
At NYCC, I’ll be presenting a panel with pop culture historian Arlen Schumer that draws a line in the sand regarding the comic book cartoonist/storyteller, with Jack Kirby being main subject. Also participating will be TwoMorrows Publisher/Museum Trustee John Morrow, as well as other luminaries. More to come.
We will, of course, be scanning Kirby art for our digital archive project, so please bring your Kirby art to NYCC!
We’re also working on an amazing, incredible project for November/December, that we hope to make a big announcement about real soon now, with which we will need all your support and help. It’ll be an awesome tribute to Jack Kirby, if it all comes together. Jack Kirby must not remain a secret! Stay Tuned!
Here’s a recording from 28 August 1987, Jack’s 70th birthday, when Jack was a guest on Robert Knight’s Earthwatch radio show on WBAI in New York City. Knight’s special co-host that night was Warren Reece. Max Schmid of Old Time Radio was on board, as well. Unfortunately the recording starts with the show already in progress. Near the end of the show, Stan Lee calls in. Enjoy!
The Kirby Museum will be at its own booth, #1504, this year!
We’ll be scanning, as usual, so consider this yet another call to all Comic-Con attendees – Bring Your Kirby Original Art! There are almost 1400 pages of art scanned at archival quality in the Museum’s Original Art Digital Archive, and it just keeps growing.
Of course, we’re looking forward to meeting all the Kirby fans at the con. We’ll have a limited number of prints, portfolios and posters at the booth to offer as gifts to new and renewing members. The Museum’s Mother Box will be there, as well, to take your donations for our stickers and postcards.
The annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel is Sunday, 24 July at 10:00am in Room 5ABC. Moderator Mark Evanier will be welcoming Walter Simonson, Erik Larsen, Mike Royer, and Richard Kyle this year. TwoMorrows publisher John Morrow, Jack Kirby Museum curator Rand Hoppe and What If Kirby’s Tom Kraft will be there – we hope you will be there, too!