A 1970s pin-up of Jack’s Ben Boxer character that appeared in the Kamandi title.
Splash from Eternals Annual # 1 (1977). It was amazing that Jack could write/draw three entire approximately-20-page books and a cover every month, plus somehow he was able to crank out these 35-page annuals.
Love the title: “The Time Killers.” Thena looks like a 21st-century couch potato watching her large flatscreen HDTV. Guess they didn’t have remote controls back in the 1970s so she has to sit right next to the TV to adjust the volume.
Here’s an email featuring an excerpt from his book on Jack Kirby that Stan Taylor just sent in with some more info on Dr. Phibes. Thanks Stan.
From Stan Taylor:
I found out some data myself.
From my bio.
In most lives, especially that of a freelance artist, there are those strange projects that come along and for a period take up ones time and creativity, and then quietly disappear for reasons of their own. The little work product created gets thrown into a lost drawer where it sits until many years later, an inquisitive family member comes along and reopens that long lost drawer. In 1971, American International pictures released a horror movie called the Abominable Dr. Phibes, a scary, slimy gothic horror film of revenge notable only for the scene chewing vitality of Vincent Price, and the Phantom of the Opera rip-offs. It was a modest film of no real repute, but it managed to make the studio some money so a follow up was ordered.
The second film released in 1972 was called The Rise of Dr. Phibes, where Price reprises his role of the horribly scarred Dr. seeking revenge on those who killed his wife. Most of the writing was by William Goldstein, though the second feature was bastardized by other writers. This sequel also made money and Goldstein tried to sell the premise for a TV show. Jack Kirby was hired to produce some presentation art for the show to be called The Sinister Dr. Phibes. Only one sheet exists and that was found years later by Jeremy Kirby going through his granddads things. Jeremy speculated that it was a presentation piece for the movie possibly which would put it circa 1971. Historian William Maynard places it after the second movie for a re-named TV pitch which would place it in 1972-73 which seems more likely. The piece was partially inked and lettered, most likely by Mike Royer who had taken over most of Kirby’s inking by this time, plus the lettering and logo design match up to Royer’s pattern. The piece was never finished as it most likely was shelved in mid-production.
Later, another artist, Jay Stephens, finished the work, he re-did the title back to the original movie title and formatted it to the Kirby style of the early 70’s. He added some muted coloring and produced a very nice sample of quasi-Kirby art. The corner accents are not something Kirby would have done his decorative bits were more geometric and techical. I do like how the new artist re-used the black cloud letter background behind the new art in a more muted color. The new inker was very faithful to Jack’s original pencils and he captured the creepiness of the characters-though I wish the mask was more Vincent Price-like. Placing Jack’s name in a circle was something Jack did often in the early 70’s. All the details of how this came about will probably never be known, but it is an interesting look into the often crazy world of the freelance commercial artist. Hopefully other one-off pieces will show up and help fill in the magical career of Jack Kirby.
Just read your article on the Abominable Dr Phibes picture. It occurred to me that you might not know that the character was from a 1971 horror film starring Vincent Price.
Makes the picture’s origin all the more mysterious!
— Matthew Leo