Happy birthday, Jack!

“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:

Did you know Steve Bissette is boycotting Marvel product until Marvel pays the Kirby family, and acknowledges Kirby as the co-creator of all of the properties he co-created? Frank Santoro is doing so. I am doing so, as well.

Jason Garrattley’s Kirby-Vision blog is hosting a Kirby Tribute gallery today. Jason’s had a number of great pieces on Kirby-Vision recently.

And, of course, the Kirby Museum has a number of projects in the works:

In October, we’re manning a small-press booth in the Javits Center at New York Comic Con. To coincide with NYCC, we’re also mounting, with help from Karl Heitmueller, a Kirby Tribute art show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is only a short ferry ride away from the Javits Center. I’m excited that folks like Tom Scioli, Frank Espinosa, Mark Badger, Jason Atomic, Norris Burroughs, Andrei Molotiu, and Mark Frauenfelder are interested in participating, as well as some of the best local Hoboken cartoonists. More artists are being invited and added to the roster every day. The art show will have an opening event, but the date hasn’t yet been nailed down. There’s also going to be a musical Kirby tribute on Saturday night – we’ll announce the acts shortly!

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!

In early December, the Museum plans to man a table at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival.


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!

Please support the Museum by joining, and helping. Your support is what keeps the Jack Kirby Museum going.


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!

I shrunk the YouTube player down, well, because it’s audio only. Here’s a link to the YouTube page.

(Many, Many Thanks to J.J. Barney for sending the Museum this recording for our archives. If you or anyone you know has a recording of the complete show, please let me know!)

Kirby Museum at San Diego Comic-Con – Bring your Kirby!

The Kirby Museum will be at its own booth, #1504, this year!

1941 Capt. A. - 14" by 23" poster
1941 Capt. A. – 14″ by 23″ poster

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!

Recommended reading: Joe Simon’s Autobiography

I enjoyed reading Joe’s MY LIFE IN COMICS; in fact, I breezed through it in almost one sitting.

If you’re interested in what it was like to be a pioneer comic book creator, look no further. Want to learn more about Joe and Jack Kirby’s partnership? Here’s some prime material.

I especially enjoyed the section where Joe reminisces about a hot fudge sundae he had in Times Square. If only Hugo Weaving knew! Real fun. Read the book!

Thanks, Joe!

NYT’s Brent Staples re: Kirby and Disney/Marvel

Brent Staples, who wrote a wonderful piece in the New York Times in 2007 titled “Jack Kirby, Comic Book Genius, Is Finally Remembered,” has written “Marvel Superheroes and the Fathers of Invention.”

I posted to the Museum’s Discussion group on June 8th:


Obviously, I am not a lawyer or a copyright expert, but it seems that the case hinges on the legal state of what appeared on the page via a pencil in Kirby’s hand during those years.

It looks to me like the Marvel/Disney argument is a work-for-hire argument – that the rights to whatever Kirby put on paper were owned, at the moment he created it, by Martin Goodman who transferred to Perfect Film, which renamed to Cadence Industries, then… bla bla bla Disney.

And that the Kirby argument is that the rights to whatever Jack Kirby put to paper were owned, at the moment he created it, by Kirby, who then assigned his rights to Goodman… Disney.

This is, as I understand it, the scope of the laws that have been put in place by our US legislators, which allows creators, or their estates, to terminate the assignment of those rights a determined number of years after the works’ creation.

Look again at the back of Dick Ayers’ check from 1974. A scan is attached, hope you can see it. The text that the company stamped on the back is about the signer assigning rights to the work to Magazine Management. That means the creator/signer had rights to the work when they created it. This is important!!!!

Work-for-hire means the creator/signer is an employee who has no rights to the work when they created it. Marvel’s text on the back of the checks after 1976 (Ayers’ 1986 is also attached) does not mention any assignment of rights.

Was Jack was an employee of Goodman’s in the early 1960s? This is why there is all the talk of health insurance, vacation time, supplies, pay for rejected work, in the filings…

I re-recommend “Who owns Light Man?” an informative podcast by real, serious, hardcore US copyright experts/lawyers: http://goo.gl/k11LA


It’s Father’s Day: Neal Kirby writes about his dad, Jack

Neal Kirby wrote a touching Father’s Day tribute to his dad, Jack, on CO2 Comics: http://goo.gl/8VxTn

(I tweeted this a few days ago, but since today is Father’s Day, I think it’s fair to repost.)

The Kirby Museum will be at the Calgary Entertainment Expo this weekend!

We’ll be at the show with a scanner, so bring your Kirby original art! We hope to meet with all kinds of Kirby fans, meet Museum members new and old, offer stickers and postcards for donations, and just talk about Jack all weekend. Be sure to stop by!


1951 - Boys' Ranch 4 pages 15-16 original art colored by Kirby
1951 – Boys’ Ranch 4 pages 15-16 original art colored by Kirby

Kirby Museum will be at the Hawthorne NJ High School Comic Convention

Tom Kraft, Museum Trustee and WhatIfKirby.com genius, and I will be attending the Hawthorne High School Comic Convention in Hawthorne, New Jersey this Saturday.

We’ll have a table with a small Kirby display, some membership premiums, and a scanner. At noon, I’ll be talking about “The Jack Kirby Legacy” in a classroom down the hall.

The convention is a fund-raiser for the school’s Cartooning and Art Clubs, and admission is $4.

Google Map link

New Kirby prints at MoCCA!

The Kirby Museum will be at NYC’s MoCCA Festival this weekend – table D8. This year, we’re offering a pair of 11×14 prints called “Psychedelic Fliers.” As with the SPQR portfolio, I’m printing HP Vivera ink on 100% Cotton, 50lb Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper. A small first edition will be run and offered in an archival print sleeve as a membership premium. (The $ level has yet to be decided.) They’re beautiful!

2011 - Psychedelic Fliers 11x14 prints
2011 – Psychedelic Fliers 11×14 prints

Yes, we’ll be selling postcards and Kirby books, as well as offering mini-comics, posters, portfolios and prints to our new and renewing members. We’ll have our backpack raffle. Feed the Mother Box and take some Jack Kirby stickers!

Thanks to Lisa Kirby and John Morrow for their help with the “Psychedelic Fliers.”

This Thursday – the voice of Resistance (Gallery) shouts, “Hail To The King!”

Kirby Museum members Jason Atomic and Garry Vanderhorne are curating “Hail To the King!” – a Jack Kirby tribute art show at Resistance Gallery at 265 Poyser St. in London, England.

“Hail To The King!” presents pieces by several internationally renowned artists that express how Jack Kirby’s work has influenced them.

The opening this Thursday, 7 April, starts at 7pm and runs through 11pm.

We’re scanning at Wondercon, bring your Kirby!

Museum trustee and WhatifKirby.com mastermind Tom Kraft will have his scanner at Nostalgic Investment’s booth 1011.

1965 - Fantastic Four 40 cover original art
1965 – Fantastic Four 40 cover original art

(Scan above courtesy Hans Kosenkranius of Tri-State Original Art)

Almost 60 pieces were added to the Kirby Museum’s Original Art Digital Archive a few weeks ago at the Comic Art Fest in Secaucus, New Jersey, let’s make the effort in San Francisco a memorable one, too!

In addition to Hans (above), thanks to Mike Burkey of Romitaman Comic Art
Rich Donnelly of Cool Lines Art
Saul of Kirby Art
Bechara Maalouf of Nostalgic Collectables
Will Gabri-El of Will’s Comic Art Page
Anthony Snyder of Anthony’s Collectibles
and art collector Robert Altamura, for their help in Secaucus!