[Video] Prisoners of Gravity – Kirby episode

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PRISONERS OF GRAVITY was a half-hour TV show hosted by Rick Green that was produced for the public television station TVOntario from 1989 to 1994 and discussed various topics from comic books and science fiction. In 1993 they ran a full show devoted to Jack Kirby.

The highlights of the episode are obviously the clips from an interview with Kirby. He looks a lot frailer than he did in the earlier interviews I’ve seen, and talks a bit more hesitatingly, but he still seems sharp and seems to enjoy talking about his experiences. He talks about his childhood, the creation of Captain America, his interest in mythic gods and his importance of the love of his family.

The show also has clips with various other creators talking about Kirby (full list below). Especially nice was the clip of Will Eisner telling the oft-repeated (including in Eisner’s THE DREAMER) story about Kirby standing up to the mob towel service back in the Eisner/Iger studio days. Max Allan Collins also tells a nice story about getting to play his tribute to Kirby song “King Jack” with his band Seduction of the Innocent for the Kirbys in San Diego. It’s a nice selection of clips giving a range of reactions to Kirby and his influence.

Repeats of the program currently run in Canada on BookTV, although it’s an edited version to allow for commercials, so part of the Kirby interview is removed in thie episode. I know the show has been syndicated to American markets in the past, although I don’t know if it is currently. They also used ciips from the Kirby interview on a few later episodes.

Producer Mark Askwith singles out his Kirby interview as one of his favourites, and talks about the experience, over on this retrospective article about the series.

A full episode guide is available, and contains this original episode description.


This week’s episode of Prisoners of Gravity pays tribute to Jack Kirby, the man whose dynamic art style redefined superhero comics when he co-created Captain America in 1941. In the early 1960’s Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and Thor — characters who now form the core of the Marvel Comics Universe. Kirby and his work are praised by Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit; Walt Simonson, the writer/artist who inherited Thor and The Fantastic Four at Marvel Comics; and Scott McCloud, writer/artist of Zot! Also featuring comic book creators Max Allan Collins (writer, Ms. Tree), Kevin Eastman (co-creator, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Len Wein (writer, The Uncanny X-Men), Dave Gibbons (artist, Watchmen), with Canadian fantasy writer Charles de Lint (Spiritwalk) and science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany (Dhalgren).

A transcript of just the Kirby interview parts of the show was printed in TJKC #14 (reprinted in COLLECTED JKC #3).

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