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Some Jack Kirby 99 Thoughts1080

Collector BLBcomics private msg quote post Address this user
Some thoughts on Jack and Roz Kirby I hope meets with approval from my peers in the wonderful world of comics as I observe 50 years since my first RBCC #45 May 1966 age 13. Twas a Golden Age of Comics for many of us age 10-17 at the time with a whole new universe unfolding.

I first "knew" Jack first thru other fans visiting with him and then sharing placing such thoughts in the fan-zines of the day. Seeking out his earlier work became obsession for many of us as we absorbed what was flowing thru Marvel Comics. I fondly remember scoring Captain America #3 first for $15 then others of that first ten issue run S&K produced.

Finding Boy Commandos 1 and #2 blew my teen age brain. They exploded all over each page. Bullseye, Foxhole, Yellow Claw, Strange World of Your Dreams, Justice Traps the Guilty, Stunt Man, Foxhole, Young Brides, Boy Explorers, and on & on the titles went as we figured out which stories inside Black Magic or Young Romance etc etc were Jack's "full" stuff, what he did breakdowns on, etc etc.

It was a huge hundred thousand piece jigsaw puzzle we were trying to assemble in the zines and early shows of the day.
Then meeting him myself first time at the first San Diego Comicon 1970. When we opened up that first Comics & Comix Store #1 Aug 1972 Jack's New Gods and Forever People were still coming out on the stands.

By 1977 or so I had been avidly collecting original comic art for a decade since scoring a Frazetta Li'l Abner Sunday for $6 at the 1967 Houstoncon Roy Bonario Sr. and Marc Schooley co-hosted. I was 15 there. We were living breathing in comics lore from each other.

At that year's San Diego El Cortez in the dealer's room across the street from the hotel swimming pool I wrangled for about a grand in cash & trade what was then the earliest known Simon & Kirby original art page out in the "market" place.
A page from Newsboy Legion Star Spangled #17 drawn in late 1942 when the Nazis invaded New York City conquering Manhattan.
I was going to meet up with wife Susan at 6 PM by the pool post comics dealing time so we could go eat. I walked up psycho-babbling how cool this S&K Newsboy Legion page was, etc.

Susan said to me, "That's nice, dear. I want you to meet my new friend Roz. We are waiting for her husband and then we four are going out to have dinner.

I went silent as by then Jack with entourage was wandering up. Roz informed him of the lady's plan as well - and shortly off we went to one of San Diego's eateries. The four of us.

It was during this dinner I had my first (sort of) "one on one" with Jack Kirby which saw us getting in to conversation about creation concepts to which we also discussed promises of royalty sharing with Martin Goodman. Promises made - and broken.

It was then Roz and Jack informed me they had been used to such comics creation deals splitting with publishers 50-50 on "profits" ever since the creation of Captain America which soured.

Then within a month for real 50-50 profit split deals once S&K moved over to Harry Donenfeld's publishing concern. Boy Commandos #1 and #2 each sold in excess of a million copies each which saw real bucks come in to struggling households.
And especially so once World War Two ended with Crestwood, Harvey, etc. publishing a wide variety of genres Team Simon & Kirby which sold well in most cases. Even going so far as to try their hand with self publishing coming in to 1954 as a firm they called Mainline Publications.

At the conclusion of a wonderful few hours that night as we walked back to the Kirby's car, one of them popped the trunk asking me if I would be interested in purchasing 200 of Jack's pages from the 1970s at $20 a page.
Four grand for 200 pages my choice out of 600 sitting in their trunk.

Kamandi, Demon, Capt America, Mr Miracle, Omac, Jimmy Olsen, and others but I hope you get the proper mental image there was a treasure trove I was invited by them to partake in
They made me promise to not sell any of them less than $35 as they sought to maintain a "price support" on what Jack's pages from the 70s should be worth.

I think I said some thing to the effect of "no problem...." as then that summer of 1977 I was partner free. I had no intention of selling most any of them. Rather, they were augmenting a collection which was already over 80 pieces as opportunity presented itself. Some 50 or so had come from one source purchase from a couple fellows from New York City at the 1969 St Louis World Science Fiction convention. Those were $5 a page along with Adams, Ditko, etc.

Thru the intervening years one always saw Jack and Roz at shows all over the country as their time permitted. In 1991 I orchestrated opening a Rick Griffin art gallery in The Cannery in Lost San Francisco's then world famous Fisherman's Wharf. Rick was tragically killed Aug 15 1991 and life then entered the surreal for those left behind.

One night during WonderCon in 1993 towards the end days of daze for that gallery locked inside Rick Griffin's 6.5 year probate lack of a "will" from Rick I was on the phone talking to a customer friend when I informed him, "I need to hang up now. I think Jack & Roz Kirby just walked in...."

I wandered over, we exchanged pleasantries catching up on from the last time we spoke. They had gone off from Wondercon to be by themselves for a bit one night being man & wife. Their strolling the Wharf found them inside my gallery by sheer happenstance. It felt cosmic - hard to explain.

Soon Jack was moving slow like towards the back area where the main art gallery of Rick's work was hanging. I then learned Jack was a huge Rick Griffin fan and he definitely said,
"This young man was taken away too soon...."
Being beyond distracted wrapped up running Bay Area comic book stores 1972-1994 it was some time before I chose I could devote more time to comics archaeology research which I began after deciding not to live in such "caves" any more. The road beckoned.

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Collector BrianGreensnips private msg quote post Address this user
Very cool reflection. I enjoyed your story. I could imagine the rush of seeing all those original pages in his trunk and being able to choose which ones to purchase.
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Collector EddiePaxil private msg quote post Address this user
That's awesome! What a great story and reflection.

As a Hulk collector Kirby created the character's look and committed to him. I don't own as much as I'd like of Kirby's Hulk work in reality, I have the digital copies, and the man was a brilliant pioneer.
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