Monthly Archives: May 2013

From Facebook

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From Facebook

Jim Brocius Re: your Evanier request. When you ask for a persons time, for free, you are asking for thier most valuable, irreplaceable posession, for free. Please don’t be offended is such requests are not granted.

Thanks for the comment. I’m just saying if anyone out there knows Mark Evanier personally, maybe forward my request to him. His email provider may be flagging my email as spam or something.

And if Mark is too busy to answer my emails? Great. He’s one of the only people I know who is still making a living as a full-time writer. It’s honestly not even a big deal if he gets back to me, I’m busy too. I might not have time to answer him. 🙂

In the past he answered every Kirby question I ever asked, and very quickly, so I mainly wondered if something was up. Every now and then I learn someone in comics is mad at me for my opinions, specifically on Stan Lee, and a lot of times they’re mad at me for something I didn’t even say. I consider Mark an important Kirby historian so obviously I’d like to at least have a cordial relationship with him.

Regardless of any drama or total lack therof, I think Mark is great. I don’t read his blog because I don’t read blogs, but as a Kirby fan, to me, Mark is a very, very valuable Kirby resource. He has taught me a lot about Jack. And if he finishes his Kirby book, it unquestionably will be an important resource all future Kirby students will have to read.

So I sent out my little request via cyberspace to simply say: If I can take a moment of his time? Great. If not? It’s not a problem. My question is probably stupid anyway. 🙂

A New Direction…

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I thought I’d go ahead and add a few things to today’s post. I’m going to be moving in a different direction here at Kirby Dynamics for a lot of different reasons. I’ll discuss that in more detail when I wrap up this series on the 70s Captain America books and the shameful coup d’Ă©tat that was taking place in the 70s Captain America letters pages.

By the way, to Kirby Museum Director Rand Hoppe, can you please increase the font size on Kirby Dynamics? As I write this post on WordPress, I cannot read it. The text is too tiny. I can’t tell you how stupid I feel writing a weblog that I cannot read. Seriously. It’s like a bad sitcom joke. Just please take a moment and increase my font size. I’d also like readers to be able to read my weblog. Many read things on small handheld devices. I’d like them to be able to read the text here without having to use a microscope. Thank you.

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Okay, getting back to my original thread, let me start by saying obviously we all learn (probably around 5-years-old or earlier) that all humans have different opinions. So I realize a lot of people out there will disagree with what I’m about to do (if you are fairly observant, you’ll pick up what Kirby Dynamics’ new direction is going to be after checking out the next 5 posts).

I know most of you will ignore the suggestion I’m about to make for a long list of reasons, but I encourage you to participate with me in the process of examining single HD images — what I’d like you to do is go ahead and upload the single panels I am posting, and look at them closely. Zoom in. Imagine them as a single stand-alone piece of art and take a moment to soak them in, like if you were at a Museum walking up to a painting and checking out details a photograph can’t capture.

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That’s one of the reasons I invested what for me was a substantial amount of money in Kirby artwork in the mid-2000s. Believe me, I worked my ass of to afford every single page. I’d save $50 bucks here, $100 there, and it was hard. But it was also fun. I was part of that whole global flea market atmosphere that took place during the 2000s where every body was unloading their junk and the spirit of the chase was part of the pseudo-excitement. I was what I call a C-list Kirby collector. Meaning I could not come even close to affording the A-list stuff which sold for 10s of thousands of dollars. I also couldn’t afford the B-list stuff which sold for 1000s of dollars. I was what I call the Kirby bottom-feeder. I was able to grab pages the millionaires weren’t interested in. I’d say I paid on average $400 a page, which was (and is) a HUGE friggin’ amount of money for a comic book page. I basically broke even when I sold the collection so it was a good investment. It was an honor to be the caretaker of that art for about 5 years or so, but I’ve moved onto other things so I hope the new owners enjoy the mini-masterpieces.

I loved having a chance to examine the art closely. Only a super-HD scan like the one I am presenting here today (in that last post) comes close to capturing the wealth of detail you can see on Jack’s originals. No, I didn’t sit around for years drooling all over this stuff like a psychopath and I’m not asking you to do that either. Maybe once every couple months on a Saturday I’d go out in my backyard and I’d let the sun hit the pages and I’d enjoy looking at them for maybe a few minutes, then they’d go back into their box. So although I suspect most of you won’t be interested in zooming into single panels of Kirby art (and quite frankly I know you all are very busy just trying to survive) this is pretty much the new direction I’m going to move into. As long as I can, I’m going to be posting single HD scans of Jack Kirby panels. Again, I’ll discuss my specific reasons for this change of direction in more depth later.

Looking at the Kirby Dynamics WordPress stats for this month you can see I’ll probably hit about maybe 10,000 hits for May 2013. That big spike in early May was when Tom Supurgeon mentioned Kirby Dynamics on comicsreporter.com. Thanks to people like Tom for helping Kirby fans promote Jack.

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If the numbers here drop like a bomb, I’ll do this weblog for another year and then just turn this into an archive — the last thing I want is for this to be some lame blog that sucks. I personally love looking at these HD images, but if readers bail, I’ll pull the plug.

So at least into 2014 I do want to continue to post something about Jack every day because I think that helps keep his memory alive. I feel I can set aside a few hours each week to keep broadcasting, especially now when Jack’s creations are generating billions of dollars, and entertaining and inspiring billions of people — and they will continue to entertain and inspire billions for as long as human civilization (and Disney) exists. Now is the time to discuss Jack and promote his legacy.

One final thing. Is Mark Evanier still alive?

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Red Alert! Red Alert! Mark Evanier, come in Mark! Over.

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I had a question for him. I emailed him twice and never heard back. Anybody out there who knows Mark Evanier? Can you email him and let him know Rob Steibel from Kirby Dynamics would like to ask him a question. My email is: robsteibel@yahoo.com

I certainly hope Mark hasn’t added himself to the relatively tiny list of people who “hate” me because of my criticisms of Stan Lee. Or who knows, I’ve written 1300 posts here, if, God forbid I offended Mark, my sincere apologies. I genuinely respect Mark, I have defended him on many occasions, and he answered several of my questions about Jack in the past which I appreciate and continue to be grateful for.

Anyway, if possible, Mark, if you are out there on the interweb please get in touch, I only require like 2 minutes of your time — I have a Kirby question for you. It’s kinda important (to me) because it would require a certain time investment to follow through on what I’m asking, and I really don’t have that time to begin with, so I wanted to touch base with you. Thanks.

And if I have offended yet another comic book insider? (Shrugging my shoulders) I’m not doing this weblog to win a popularity contest. I did this to celebrate the life and work of Jack Kirby. If somebody disagrees with me? Good. That was my goal: to challenge the comic book status quo I discovered when I stumbled back into the hobby in 2002. A lot of old-school establishment comic book collectors got angry when I did this, but I decided to take a hard line on this subject instead of bowing down to Marvel. I’m glad I still lived in a free society that allowed me to do that.

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Jack isn’t my “hero.” I don’t worship humans. I have great respect for Jack’s generation. The survivors of the Great Depression and the soldiers who helped stop the Nazis.

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This weblog has been my admittedly meager tribute to them — to what they stood for. The way comic book fandom allowed (and continues to allow) Marvel to steamroll Jack Kirby’s legacy is shameful. I’m embarrassed to be even considered a part of comic book fandom if I am.

And I didn’t do this weblog because I’m some freedom fighter.

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I did it because I’m stupid. I knew nothing about Jack Kirby in 2002. I’ve learned a lot since then and I thank the literally 1000s of people who have helped me get to this point. There is a lot to be learned from studying the life and work of Jack Kirby. I suggest you do so yourself. But I also encourage you to do your own research. Don’t just buy one book and parrot the narrative you read there. Gather as much information as you can and follow the information trail. That’s where the real truth can be found. And as I have said all along, this weblog is about more than Jack, I focus on the microcasm of Jack Kirby in order to serve as a springboard to examine the macrocasm which is the 21st century and our future. Jack’s story is the story of America. Jack’s story may be the story of our world.

Jack’s work transcends the petty and irrelevant quarrels that take place amongst comic book collectors. Jack’s work transcends the billionaires who own the rights to his creations and his stories. Jack’s work may just be plain transcendent because that is what great art can be.

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Jack Kirby’s life should also serve as a cautionary tale. If a genuine visionary and a genius like Jack Kirby could be virtually erased from popular culture by a clown like Stan Lee and a bumbling corrupt corporation like Marvel, what do you think is going to happen to you in this “New World Order” a handful of elite global billionaire bankers are trying to shove down our throats? America and the whole planet is facing very real disaster on the horizon, something akin to The Horde scenario that frightened Jack when he was writing that novel. Our economy is teetering on a tightrope over a bottomless cliff, I hate to ruin your day but we are all in big trouble. This isn’t a “conspiracy theory,” economic collapse is already happening and it will get much worse.

But in inevitable hard times, Jack Kirby’s story can also be inspiring. With tremendous dedication to his craft, genuine devotion to his beloved family, with sincerity, humor, class, character and an incredible amount of imagination, ingenuity and creativity, Jack Kirby showed what a real American hero can be. We will need to look to the memory of men like Jack Kirby for guidance as our world goes through changes that may eclipse the horrors of the Great Depression and the Second World War in terms of brutality and misery. Humble, hardworking, creative people need to be our new role models, not the vacuous, soulless corporate eunuchs pop culture so deifies today.

Studying Jack Kirby’s work and giving my honest opinions on what I learned here at Kirby Dynamics has been an honor and a privilege. My thanks to all of you out there for sharing your opinions on the subject. Long live the King.

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70s Kirby – Captain America # 211, Page 16, Panel 1

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I used to own the original artwork for Captain America # 211, Page 16. Above is panel 1. Fantastic Kirby-Impact.

I had a nice pile of Kirby art collected in the 2000s sitting in an old Fed Exbox, and I realized I’d be better off just selling the stuff — I had enjoyed it for many years and rarely had time to pull it all out and look at it — so I sold it all. It was a great investment, sort of like a 401K that didn’t lose a ton of money when the economy tanked.

I really enjoyed owning pages like this. These HQ scans actually do a pretty good job of showing you exactly how the pages looked, which was another reason I sold my Kirby art, my print copies of the art look almost identical to the published art.

I’m going to break the panels up into single posts because I’d like you to treat each panel as an individual piece of artwork. I think any single panel of Kirby art can stand alongside any piece of traditional “fine art.”

I can’t say enough about Mike Royer’s inking. Yeah, I know he has some critics, but I think his work on Jack is amazing. He truly is a talented craftsman and as a huge fan of Jack’s 1970s work, I’m really glad we had the Kirby/Royer team.

70s Kirby – Captain America # 211

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I have to say, the contrast between the spectacular Kirby artwork, and the wonderfully imaginative stories is such a contrast to the mean-spirited mutiny taking place in Jack’s letters columns by the “staffers” who are trying to hijack (if you’ll excuse the pun) his book from right under his feet.

Here’s a handful of pages. Another book I owned as a kid, and I remain totally blown away by that double-splash. In the 1970s, if you were a fan of visual entertainment, there was simply nobody on planet Earth doing this type of stuff in comics. Just totally innovative, dynamic storytelling. Jack clearly at his peak, despite a handful of cowards in NYC trying to create a fake “controversy” they hope will result in him leaving Marvel… which he will do in a few issues. There are so many amazing pages in this book, I’m going to have to live dangerously and post a few extra. If Marvel has a problem, y’know, just email me and I’ll take them down. On page 7, I love the composition of panel 5. half of Cap’s face, and Donna Maria behind him. The “My God” line from Cap. So much more beleivable thatn Stan Lee’s 60s gibberish.

There’s just so much wonderful variety in the imagery, the crackle lights up the pages with energy, and as always, Jack has an infinite number of ideas in terms of putting the characters through their paces. To me, books like this from the 70s stand up right there with his very best work. What an honor it was to buy books like this off the spinner racks when the greatest artist to ever work in the medium was still at the top of his game. And I’m so lucky I did not read the letters columns — I had no idea that there was so much hatred for Jack in the Marvel offices at the time. I had probably just turned 12-years-old when this came out, and I think it might have hurt me as a impressionable little kid to know there were backstabbers at my beloved Marvel that were trying to fire this truly exceptional artist.

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70s Kirby – Captain America # 210 – Letters Page

captain america 210 12Wow, this phony “controversy” created by some insipid Marvel staffers in the 1970s now gets a big giant yellow box at the top of Jack’s Captain America letters page. At least they didn’t spell it “The Kirby Kontroversy Koninues.” This whole thing is much more outrageous than I thought. How these staffers were allowed to do this is mind-blowing. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Has there ever been a comic book where for over a year, some glorified interns used the letters column to try to get the writer, artist, editor of a book fired? And this is all nonsense. It’s what Daniel J. Boorstin called a “pseudo-event.” I encourage you  to check out his book.

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This is totally made up and fake event. The staffers started this “controversy” themselves by publishing all those letters asking to get Jack fired. Don’t post letters asking to have a co-worker fired and there would be no controversy.

It’s the same thing tht happens in our current politics on both sides. If you hate someone or want to get someone kicked out of office you create fake controversies then laugh while Rome burns.

By the way, how would you, my reader, feel if every month in your business newsletter, your co-workers were publishing letters from anonymous “fans” demanding you be fired!? How would you feel about that?

I’m sick of reading these things. You can read it if you want to. I will say one thing, thank God an advertisement fills up a quarter of the page: that’s 2 less letters the “staffers” could have posted begging Marvel to fire Jack, put Cap “back in the “Marvel Universe, and of course, bring back Rediwing…

 

70s Kirby – Captain America # 210

captain america 210 00 fcBoy, I wish I had been able to get ahold of this comic when I was a kid. It’s really spectacular. I wonder if someone at Marvel contacted Jack and asked him to “return” Cap to the so-called “Marvel Universe” (which I call the “Kirby Universe) hence you have the return of the Red Skull. I hope Jack did it on his own, not because he placated the fake rebellion going on in the letters columns, but because he wanted to bring back one of his old creations. Some random pages from the book. Love that page 11 splash. You have to think Jack’s wife was an inspiration for Donna Maria.

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