Jack Kirby’s Street Code at MoCCA

As I said in my previous entry regarding the MoCCA Festival last weekend, it’s great to see artists at their tables with their comics, mini-comics, postcards and stickers. Not only did I fire up some Jack Kirby stickers to offer at the table, but I got the OK from Lisa Kirby to print a thirty mini-comic edition of her dad’s only solo-produced autobiographical story, “Street Code.”

2009 - Street Code minicomic cover
2009 – Street Code minicomic cover

In 1983, Jack Kirby was commissioned to produce an autobiographical story by Richard Kyle, an instrumental figure in comics in the United States. Richard published “Graphic Story World”, which is called a “semi-pro fanzine” in various places on the web. He and a partner also operated Wonderworld Books in Long Beach, California. (At some point Graphic Story World’s name was changed to Wonderworld.)

The point of the commission was for it not only to be an autobiographical tale, but it would also be reproduced directly from Kirby’s pencil art — not inked as it had always been. But, Kirby’s script was professionally lettered in ink on overlays.

  • In 1990, Richard published Street Code in the second issue of Argosy, with lettering by Bill Spicer.
  • In 2000, Street Code was presented in Jon B. Cooke’s and John Morrow’s book, Streetwise, with lettering by Ken Bruzenak.
  • In 2008, Mark Evanier included Street Code in his “Kirby, King of Comics” book, with Spicer’s Argosy lettering.

Within the last year or so, Kirby scholar Greg Theakston has gifted many of his Kirby papers to the Kirby Museum. Much of it still needs to be cataloged, but while browsing through a looseleaf notebook filled with photocopies of Kirby art, I discovered Street Code. What caught my attention was that these photocopies included Kirby’s own pencilled-in lettering.

As Street Code is a favorite of many, myself included, I thought this would be a great choice for a mini-comic to offer at the MoCCA festival. I’m sure only a handful of people have seen Kirby’s hand lettering. It’s rough, but authentic.

It’s a ten page story, so it easily fit into a twelve page booklet — leaving me to only have to produce a front and back cover. Again, James Romberger was a big help.

2009 - Street Code minicomic back cover
2009 – Street Code minicomic back cover

Again with the fund raising! The Museum offered Street Code as a premium for the $40 annual membership, just like the first level posters. We also offered it as a $10 add-on to memberships. Maybe I’ll get it hooked up into our Paypal membership form.

  • In 2009, the Kirby Museum published Street Code (all pencil version) in a thirty mini-comic edition, with Kirby’s own lettering.

    2009 - Street Code minicomic pages 9 and 10
    2009 – Street Code minicomic pages 9 and 10

Stickers and Mother Box at MoCCA

The great thing about the MoCCA Festival is seeing comicbook artists at their tables with their comics, mini-comics, postcards and stickers. The publishers’ tables offer wonderful things, but the MoCCA Festival is really about the creators.

When I learned that the Kirby Museum would have a table at the Festival (I registered late and was wait-listed), I knew I needed Jack Kirby stickers. But what kind of stickers? After some consultation with Museum member James Romberger, I picked two images. The first is Kirby’s late 1960s/early 1970s “logo signature” as was used on the Marvelmania posters he produced around that time.

Feeling very much in the MoCCA Festival’s D.I.Y. head, I ordered some 2″ white weatherproof vinyl labels and some 1 1/2″ orange fluorescent labels, and got to inkjet printing on my HP Photosmart 8750. I just had to make some fluorescent stickers, as I love the Third Eye posters from the early 1970s. (Really should have an exhibit of those posters here.)

2009 - round stickers

The second image was, well, since the Festival was in New York City, what better choice than the dramatic “NY” figure from the series of football-styled images that John Morrow included on the back of the recent Kirby Collector? I cut and pasted the KIRBY lettering from the Marvel poster that the Museum offers as a premium, and then printed out in two sizes on clear mailing labels.

2009 - NY Kirby labels
2009 – NY Kirby labels

Right. Now how to make the labels a fund raising tool? The costs entailed attending the Festival add up! Got it. I figured it’d be fun to have a Mother Box (a device having various configurations in Kirby’s “Fourth World” stories) with a piggy-bank-like slot on the top and make a sign with “suggested donations” listed. (I had to include “Kirby is Here!” and “Don’t ask, just donate!” on the sign. ;^) )

Consulting with my crafty wife Lisa, we made the proportions of this Mother Box similar to Vykin’s from the Forever People. I didn’t want it to just be a flat red with a yellow disk on one side like Vykin’s, though. So, I dove into the Museum’s Original Art Digital Archive, and printed out some amazing Kirby art I’d scanned last July at the San Diego convention. Lisa cut, wrapped and taped it around the box.Best moment was when Scott Eder stopped by the table, recognized the art and complimented me on the color accuracy of the printing.

2009 - Mother Box
2009 – Mother Box

As far as I’m concerned the labels were great little fund raisers. Every so often, we at the table would say, “Ping! Ping! Ping!” when someone dropped a bill (or bills!) into the Mother Box’s slot. (Someone from Vermont even dropped a “Where’s George” single).

Next: the Kirby Museum’s MoCCA Festival mini-comic.

The Best of Simon & Kirby

Have you seen the wonderful “The Best of Simon & Kirby” from Titan Books? Great restorations by Simon & Kirby blogger Harry Mendryk. Here’s to high hopes for a long and successful series of Simon & Kirby books from Titan. Thanks for a great effort to Joe Simon, Lisa Kirby, Steve Saffel and Harry.

Poster available – % of sales to Kirby Museum

From the “If You Could” project of London design studio HudsonBec:

Kam Tang – “Power Cosmic”

2008 - Kam Tang's Power Cosmic print
2008 – Kam Tang’s Power Cosmic print

London-based illustrator Kam is one of the most successfully diverse graphic artists working today. A constant re-invention of his aesthetic means his output is consistently exciting, cementing himself as a leading figure in the industry for many years to come. A list of collaborations and clients as long as your arm include The Chemical Brothers, Gnarls Barkley, Burberry, Adidas, the London Design Museum and Royal Mail.

The November print expires in 22 days from posting of this message

Kam is generously donating a percentage of his sales to the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center.

More Kirby Birthday Celebrations

Kirby Birthday Celebrations

Kirby’s 91st Birthday – Many Updates in the Offing

We’d hoped to have an upgrade to our web site all ready for a big virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony today, Jack Kirby’s 91st birthday, but the darn t-s wouldn’t cross and i-s wouldn’t dot. Best we can do is announce a few things.

Kirby Documentary

As Rand announced at the Jack Kirby Tribute panel at Comic Con International: San Diego, the Kirby Museum is starting fund raising and pre-production on its feature-length Jack Kirby documentary with Jon B. Cooke and Andrew D. Cooke. You may know the Cooke brothers by their work as Montilla Pictures on the wonderful “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist“, and Jon from his exceptional Comic Book Artist magazine. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Museum is going to be funding the production through fund raising. In fact, we are seeding the project with funds from our members’ Annual Dues. No doubt, this documentary will be a powerful tool in getting the word out about Kirby and his work, as well as a valuable resource to aid in funding of further Museum projects. Please consider lending your support to this project.


Also through the generosity of our members, and mentioned at the CCI:SD Kirby Tribute panel, the Museum has started a small original art acquisition program. These pieces will be the foundation of our Traveling Retrospective, as well as being helpful resources when we are queried by our peer educational, cultural and literary organizations looking for Kirby assets.

2008 - Jack Kirby Quarterly 15 cover
2008 – Jack Kirby Quarterly 15 cover

Kirby Kinetics and Web Site

Once we’ve finished moving the core of our web site over to the open-source Drupal Content Management System, we’re going to be premiering a new blog titled “Kirby Kinetics“, written by Norris Burroughs, which will focus on analyses Kirby’s art. Norris was inspired by Greg Theakston’s article “That Old Jack Magic” in Amazing Heroes 100 from 1986, which Greg has given permission to post, as well.

Also in the queue are an article on the Boys Brotherhood Republic by Stan Taylor, videos from San Diego and audio files from Jack Kirby Quarterly’s Chrissie Harper.

Special thanks

The Museum would like to thank Dez Skinn and Chrissie Harper, publisher and editor, respectively, of Jack Kirby Quarterly 15, for committing to donate a percentage of their revenue to the Museum.

A BIG Thanks again to Trustee John Morrow for the support at San Diego, and the percentage of Kirby Five-Oh! and Kirby Checklist – Gold Edition.

Kirby Museum at Comic Con 2008

Museum Trustees Rand Hoppe and John Morrow will be based at John’s Twomorrows booth, #1215. Please come by and say hi. Museum volunteer Tom Kraft will be helping with scanning original Kirby art, and he and Rand will also be shooting some video, as they did at the NYCC (see 9 June entry below). They’re planning on capturing the Kirby Tribute Panel on Sunday morning at 10 am in Room 7AB, and hopefully more! Stay tuned here, as the Kirby Museum will be announcing some exciting new programs.

Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus and Kirby: King of Comics in New York Times Book Review

John Hodgman, author, humorist, resident expert on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “PC” on the Apple “Get a Mac” ad campaign, compiler of hobo names, provided the New York Times with a sweeping review of not only the Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4 and Mark Evanier’s Kirby: King of Comics, but also Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze and Brian K. Vaughn & Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man. Of special note is Hodgman’s acknowledgment that Age of Bronze and Y: The Last Man are experiencing the kind of success that Kirby had envisioned in the 1970s for comics’ future.

Quick updates

Below is only a portion of Kirby Museum happenings since our last update of this page:


The Trustees have agreed to a team and their proposal. Rand HOPPE is working with the team on pre-pre-production issues. More news as the project progresses.


We are hoping to produce a showcase or reading of a play about Jack Kirby written by a Museum member. Efforts are afoot with the intent to have it appear in New York City in April. Again, we’ll share details as they firm up.

Big Apple “National” Convention

Thanks to Jon B. COOKE, Allan ROSENBERG and Mike CARBONARO, the Museum had a table at the New York Big Apple “National” Convention this past November. Once again, Richard BENSAM and Lisa HOPPE volunteered and helped Rand the whole weekend at the table, which was situated next to Mark EVANIER and Sergio ARAGONES. Original Kirby art was scanned through the generosity of Richard HOWELL, Anthony SNYDER, Becharra MAALOUF and more. Somehow, we missed Simon & Kirby blogger Harry MENDRYK when he stopped by Sergio’s booth

Carl Solomon Book Fair at the Howl! Festival in Tompkins Square Park on NYC’s Lower East Side

Thanks to James ROMBERGER and Marguerite VAN COOK, Rand manned a table at the Carl Solomon Book Fair at the Howl! Festival in Tompkins Square Park on NYC’s Lower East Side. Lisa HOPPE and Richard BENSAM generously volunteered their time both days, and Trustee John MORROW generously donated some of his Kirby publications for us to sell and build the Museum’s coffers. Simon & Kirby blogger Harry MENDRYK stopped by, as did Andy COOKE, director of the documentary “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist.” All those manning the booth enjoyed talking Kirby with the folks who stopped by.