Original Art Digital Archive

What is the Jack Kirby Digital Archive?

In 2006, The Jack Kirby Museum started its Jack Kirby Digital Archive (JKDA) with the ambitious goal of archiving every available piece of Jack Kirby’s art. The JKDA preserves Jack Kirby’s wonderful works in a lasting archive of high resolution scans to standards used by museums and libraries around the world. Not only does this archive provide amazing images for the Jack Kirby Museum and the What if Kirby websites, but it also helps scholars and historians in their research.

The efforts of the JKDA are ongoing. Rand Hoppe, curator of the Jack Kirby Museum and Tom Kraft, creator of What if Kirby (as well as a Jack Kirby Museum Trustee), attend many U.S. comic conventions with wide-format Epson 12000XL professional scanners to get the highest quality scans. In addition, both travel to the homes and offices of private collectors with these scanners to archive their Kirby art collections.

The JKDA currently holds approximately 12,000 pages.

Why is this important?

The JKDA project’s main purpose is to create a lasting record of Kirby’s art for everyone to study and enjoy – now and long into the future. With the passage of time, any original art not in museums or galleries runs the risk of deteriorating or being destroyed in natural and man-made disasters. The Kirby Museum is dedicated to keeping Kirby’s legacy preserved by building this digital archive.

Have your Kirby art archived!

Please contact either Rand Hoppe or Tom Kraft of the Jack Kirby Museum (info@kirbymuseum.org)  to have your art archived. Visit the websites, kirbymuseum.org and whatifkirby.com, for information on upcoming conventions where we can scan your art or arrange a visit to have your art scanned at your location. Owners who allow scans of their original art to be included in the JKDA have the option to have a courtesy credit included if their page is used on the What If Kirby and Kirby Museum websites, to remain anonymous or even to specify whether only scholars may view the scans under Museum control and they not be published anywhere.

If you have access to a wide format scanner, you can also scan your art yourself. Here are the specifications for providing archival quality scans:

  1. 100%
  2. 1200 or 600 DPI
  3. RBG (24 bit color)
  4. Scan front and back
  5. Try to keep the art as straight as possible
  6. No unsharp masking or auto adjust settings
  7. Include space in between edges of paper and scanned image (don’t crop the scan to the edge of the paper, let us see the actual paper edge and some non-paper space)
  8. If available, save in Digital Negative (DNG) format or as TIFF with LZW compression. We use Hamrick Software’s VueScan software.
  9. If you want to stitch the pieces together, go ahead, but send the pieces (halves) as well as the result of your stitching. We prefer to archive “raw” scans, before any rotation or adjustment of any kind. File size varies between 150-210 MB each. We prefer you use our Hightail dropbox, but feel free to use services such as Dropbox, WeTransfer or we can arrange for an FTP file transfer, upon request. Please contact Rand Hoppe or Tom Kraft.

Other scans and photos welcome!

That’s right! Even though we’re building an amazing scholarly reference with scans at archival quality, the Kirby Museum is also interested in compiling scans or photos of Kirby original art at any level of quality. See the information above about how to send them to us.


We offer our heartfelt thanks to those who have contributed to or otherwise helped the OADA:

4 Replies to “Original Art Digital Archive”

  1. Has anyone ever seen Kirby’s nude drawing of Big Barda for Sense Of Wonder magazine from the 1970’s ? I was a friend of Jack’s for many years. One of the most egoless, down to Earth guys I”ve ever known. Truly a great man. Met him several times and spoke to him a bunch of times. He always made you feel that you were the important one in the conversation. He didn’t want to take up too much of your time. Truly the signs of a great man. I could talk about him all day.

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