Monthly Archives: August 2011

2001: A Space Odyssey Treasury Edition Splash

Awesome splash from the 2001: A Space Odyssey¬†Treasury Edition. Since this book is so big and has never been reprinted I don’t have color scans of this story. Anybody out there have them? I’d love to compare them to some uninked pencil scans.

Captain Victory # 13, page 17

Excellent page from Captain Victory# 13, page 17. Kirby/Thibodeaux. Anyone else have a hard time remembering how to spell Mike Thibodeaux’s last name. ūüôā I always have to double-check to make sure I didn’t spell his last name wrong.

By all accounts Mike Thibodeaux¬†was an incredibly good friend to Jack and Roz towards the end of Jack’s life. I’d love to learn more about his relationship with Jack.

Sorry about this scan of the published page below being stretched out like that. Earth to Museum Director Rand Hoppe, come in Rand, are you out there? Any chance you can tweak the Museum site settings so I don’t have to lower the resolution on my scans? Something has been wrong with the vertical setting for several months now, so I have to reduce the size of them to fit here,¬†and I’d like to be able to send HQ scans to the museum site, not scans I reduced in size to fit the new parameters. Thanks! (insert smiley)! People are sending me great HQ scans and I’d like to post them here¬† without reducing them in Photoshop.

If you click on the scan you can see it at the right dimensions (sigh).

Does look kinda’ cool and psychedelic stretched out though. I guess…

The Panther

Here’s another short segment from the Jack Kirby biography Stan Taylor is working on. Stan sent in several of the photographs and I added a few also. Thanks for sending this in Stan! I really enjoy reading your work.

Kirby Biography Excerpt

by: Stan Taylor

America was on fire!  Los Angeles was ablaze, In perhaps the worse rioting in American history the black residents of the Watts section of L.A. said enough was enough.  For 6 days in August 1965 they burned and rioted in defiance of a police force they felt had a long history of brutality and prejudice against the black populace.  Seen as part of the civil rights movement that had been active and growing for decades, these riots were the resultant explosions of a long simmering animosity. After the Watts riot, inner cities boiling over became commonplace with it being a rarity for a major city to be spared.

Positive black characters had been a rarity in mainstream comics. Stan and Jack figured it was time to end that lunacy.¬† Their first attempt was in making one of Sgt. Fury‚Äôs Howling Commandos an African American.¬† Gabe Jones was a bugle playing GI in the multicultural commando unit.¬† His race had been a focal point of several plotlines in the early stories and his bravery and dignity ‚Äďlike Jackie Robinson–never faltered.¬†¬†

Art from Sgt. Fury # 3 (Sept. 1963)

But Gabe was still a minor character in a book full of unique characters.  It was time to create a major character strong enough to stand on its own and where else would Lee and Kirby introduce him other than the Fantastic Four Рthe comic where most of the important new characters were introduced.  

In issue #52 July 1966, the Fantastic Four meet up with the Black Panther and his home country of Wakanda in darkest Africa.¬† The Black Panther is the chief of the Wakandans –a small independent country made rich by a natural mineral called Vibranium.¬† T‚Äôchalla, the Panther‚Äôs given name, had used this wealth to promote education and modernity on his small nation and has created a miraculous scientifically advanced country, deeply hidden in the African jungle.¬† But Wakanda had an enemy, and the Panther had to test himself to see if he was ready to take on this enemy.

The final test was to see if he could defeat the greatest team of superheroes imaginable.¬† Though he did not defeat the FF, he certainly held them to a stalemate.¬† The idea of heroes testing themselves against each other was a common plot line for Marvel.¬† The heroes fought each other as often as villains.¬† The fight against the villainous Klaw–Master of Sound -would showcase the Panther‚Äôs bravery, physical prowess and human decency. He was a perfect fit for admittance to Marvel‚Äôs pantheon of heroes.

Later we would learn the unique process used at Marvel when we see the actual steps used to create this character.  He started out being known as Coal Black, a very unwieldy name.

Some have complained that the concept was weakened by making the Panther a super-rich, European educated, African monarch, instead of an American from the inner city.  Others disagree saying that making T’challa an African was even braver by introducing a new hero from the emerging continent of Africa, rather than making him an American. Africa had never had a particularly positive image in American culture. More of an after thought used mostly for Tarzan movie backgrounds where the black populace was useful for carrying bags and feeding the lions. Lee and Kirby transformed Tarzan into a black native Рthe equal to any white hero.

A couple months later in Oakland California a group of black nationalists would form a new group espousing Black Power in all things, chief among them the end of police brutality, full and equal black employment, and self-realization of all black people.  This group would transform into perhaps the most radical black organization of all.  The name of the group was the Black Panther Party.  The Black Panther symbol predated Kirby’s use of the title. It was used in 1965 by the Lowndes County Freedom Organization to help signup black voters in Lowndes County Alabama.  Formed by oft-arrested radical Stokely Carmichael and his Students For a Non-violent Coordinating Committee, the LCFO was on the cusp of the rising black power movement.  Two black Californians, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, asked for permission to use the black panther emblem that the Lowndes County Freedom Organization had adopted, for their newly formed Black Panther Party. It’s initial use was as the sporting logo for historically black Clark College in Atlanta Ga. There had been press on this civil rights group from sources such as Time, and Life Magazine, so possibly these were the inspiration for the name of the new Marvel hero.  

As a World War 2 veteran, Jack was certainly familiar with the proud Fighting 761, The Black Panther all-black tank battalion.  Stan Lee worried about the name being appropriated by a radical group. Ideas were passed. But luckily none were accepted. The Black Panther stayed the Black Panther and he became a part of the Marvel Universe.


Amazing where ideas come from:

We sing our praise to thee.
You are our heroes
And will forever be.
Honor and glory
You bring to old CC.
All hail to thee, O Mighty Panthers
On to victory!

                    Clark College fight song


From Kenn Thomas:

My last two e-mails were about other artists depicting Kirby. This is about Kirby depicting other artists, specifically John Byrne and the other Marvel got to imitate Kirby. Written by Steve Gerber, these pages are from Destroyer Duck #4, October 1983. “Cogburn” has a removable spine, “facsimiles everywhere” and no genitals. This was aimed at the rote imitators, not good artists who happen to have a Kirby influence.

New Kirby Captions

Thanks to Jim W. for sending in this example of some Kirby art re-dialogued and re-captioned. You can see the full story here:

I’ll post the first 3 pages. Page one above, page 2 and 3 below. From FF # 3 (1962), Kirby/Ayers art.

Dialogue is by “Fake Stan Lee.” Maybe that’s the same Fake Stan that wrote this great weblog a few years ago?

I wonder what happened to Fake Stan? He was blogging regularly then just dropped off the map

Jack Magic Volume One

Greg Theakston recently put out Volume One of his long-awaited and much-anticipated ¬†Jack Kirby biography called Jack Magic. Greg is one of the few comics historians out there who actually spent a significant amount of time with Jack, so he gives us a rare insider’s point-of-view into Jack’s life and work that is tremendously valuable.

In Jack Magic Volume One, Greg concentrates on presenting the history and covers Jack’s career up to early 1962. My guess is that in Jack Magic Volume Two, Greg will be able to speak more about his working relationship and friendship with Jack since they were associates during that period. Here’s the cover for Volume Two which I don’t think has been released yet.

Weaving comics scholarship together with his own interviews with Jack, In Jack Magic Volume One Greg paints a detailed portrait of Jack’s career all the way up to the publication of the first several issues of Fantastic Four. There are plenty of important dates and publications for anyone interested in learning about or understanding Jack’s early career.

The book has plenty of great artwork, and there are some terrific photos of Jack that I hadn’t seen before. Greg does a wonderful job presenting facts and weaving them with illustrations. I enjoyed Ronin Ro’s Kirby biography Tales to Astonish, but it didn’t have any photos or artwork, and I think when you are writing about an artist, showing his art is very important, especially if you want to reach readers who are unfamiliar with that artist —¬†so Greg’s Jack Magic is a perfect introduction to Jack if you want to introduce him to a new fan, and a great stroll down memory lane if you are already familiar with Jack’s background.

If you are already a Kirby fan, Greg’s book is a fun read — it’s something every Kirby fan and every comics fan needs to have on their bookshelf. Greg’s interviews alone make this a valuable resource and I suspect the scholarship is very reliable since Greg has been researching comics and Kirby for decades.

Jack didn’t have a whole lot of associates, he mainly worked alone and spent time with his family, so having a chance to read a book written by someone who spent time with Jack is a real pleasure.

I don’t know how many copies Greg has left but if you send $25 to —

Pure Imagination
55 A Moreland Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA

— Greg will mail you a copy. I highly recommend this book and am really looking forward to Jack Magic Volume Two —¬†I can’t wait to read Greg’s take on that part of Jack’s career. I know Greg has been working on this project for a long time, so I want to say congratulations to¬†him for finishing the project. I also want to say thanks to Greg for answering all my questions over the years. And on behalf of all of Jack’s fans, thanks for keeping Jack’s work in print.

So break out your checkbooks Kirby fans and comics fans —¬†send $25 to Greg and get your copy of Jack Magic Volume One¬†today. Help support Kirby scholarship, give a big thank-you to Greg for his hard work, and enjoy reading about the life and work of the greatest comic artist of all time.

Long live the King!

And thanks to Greg for keeping Jack’s memory alive.

FF # 90 Art

Scan from Fantastic Four #90, page 6. I’ve seen many of Jack’s hardcore fans complain about these stories¬†because Jack wasn’t cranking out new characters, but I really enjoyed reading the Marvel’s Greatest Comics reprints of these books when they were on the stands in the 70s. I love Sinnott’s inks on these issues. Beautiful.

I can barely make out what’s left of Jack’s margin notes at the bottom. They say: ¬†“FF depressed — Johnny says – say why don’t we call Alicia.”

Toxl 2

A reader on the Museum Facebook page mentioned they didn’t really like me cropping Jack’s work, and I actually agree. I should have mentioned that I did this a few years ago on the Kirby-l discussion forum when I was¬†discussing how Jack’s art would translate into a film if a filmmaker wanted to cut out the balloons and captions to highlight Jack’s art.

That’s actually a pretty big challenge that I don’t think any documentary filmmaker has figured out yet, which is why I don’t think we have seen a really successful, revolutionary¬†documentary on a comics artist. It’s difficult to take Jack’s art out of context without changing it’s impact and meaning.

I suppose the answer is that if you want to show a comic artist’s art — you have to include the balloons, they are an integral part of the finished piece. At the same time, there is no question, at least to me, that looking at the art without the balloons does make it look more like a typical piece of “fine art,” whereas the captions clearly make the piece “comic book art.”

I¬†look forward to the day¬†¬†when some really great documentary filmmakers make a movie about Jack’s life and art, and I am curious to see how they handle showing his¬†illustrations within the proscenium arch of a ¬†cinematic aspect ratio, as well as¬†deciding what pieces to include from Jack’s approximately 40,000 page career.


Images from Weird Mystery Tales #2(October 1972), “Toxl the World Killer,” inks by Royer from an unpublished Spirit World story. I trimmed the images so they would all have the same cinematic aspect ratio and no text.

Sky Masters 9/28/58

Another Kirby/Wood Sky Masters daily from 1958. This is a scan of the original artwork pieced together in the middle. The content of this day’s strip reminds me a lot of Jack’s 50s romance work.

On the bottom of the strip, you can see¬† a line of white-out that goes across the piece horizontally. I believe it was decided by someone at the syndicate that the strip was too large, so the size was reduced by having someone draw a line across the bottom of the strip, and that segment was cut off when published. I read somewhere¬† a few years ago, don’t have the source,¬†that Jack was so fond of the Kirby/Wood combination on Sky Masters, that Jack himself went back and whited-out that black line on all the Sky Masters strips because it was work he was very proud of.