Fans & Pros Tell Favorite Stories About Jack
These are just a few of the great stories readers told us about their
encounters with Jack. For more, check out TJKC #10.
Kirby Collector #10
King Of His Castle?
by Peter Von Sholly
I visited the Kirbys at their home in 1976 and was duly awed by both
the array of original artwork on the walls and the incredible hospitality
I was shown. Roz offered coffee and cake and Jack spun stories of World
War II, his philosophy, the comics biz, etc. But at one point, Roz
came out of the kitchen and asked Jack to take the garbage out! I was
stunned. Roz looked at me, smiled and said, "He may be the King,
but I'm the Queen." And Jack cheerfully took the garbage out.
My Favorite Funny Stories About Jack
by Scott Shaw!
Jack and I were among the charter members of CAPS, the Comic Art Professional
Society. Most of our members, like Jack, had never actually met many
of their fellow local pros face-to-face. Jack attended one of our earliest
meetings in the mid-'70s, and as the group mixed in conversation, Jack
was overheard introducing himself as "Ramon De Los Flores," supposedly
a specialist in drawing pornographic comics! In fact, Jack played this
manufactured identity to the hilt, so much so that those of us in the
know had a hard time convincing his victims they were, indeed, talking
to the legendary Jack Kirby himself!
On one of my early days at Hanna-Barbera Productions, I was astounded
to find myself sitting alongside Jack and another comics great, Mike
Sekowsky, as we received instructions to create presentation art for
a proposed animated version of the band KISS. Within a few days, we'd
each drawn up very different cartoon versions of the bizarre group.
A few weeks later, I was told that, not surprisingly, Jack had come
up with the "winning" version which H-B had presented to
the interested network, who ultimately passed on KISS. According to
my studio superiors, the network execs found Jack's artwork to be "too
sexual!" The criticism has always cracked me up, because many
adjectives can appropriately be applied to Jack's work, but "sexual" has
never been one of 'em! (Not counting, of course, the cover to OMAC
When my wife Judith and I were first dating, I'd give her copies of
DC's New Gods reprints to familiarize her with the work of my favorite
cartoonist. Although not a regular comic book reader, she was understandably
impressed with the series' power and scope. When she met Jack for the
first time, Judy commented, "I can see why you made the Black
Racer a black Vietnam vet, and I think I understand why he wears a
suit of armor, but what's the story with the flying skis?"
"To get him noticed!" Jack laughingly replied.
Judy and I were honored to be included at a special party held for
Jack by Gary Goddard and Tony Christopher, the wizards behind the theme
park designing company Landmark Entertainment; both of them are devoted
fans of Jack and his work. A number of local pros were in attendance,
including Frank Miller, Neal Adams, Bill Stout, Mark Evanier, Steve
Rude and others, but some of us were slightly uncomfortable with the
knowledge that Tony had hired a "special" surprise for Jack.
After dinner and testimonials, an attractive young lady dressed as
Wonder Woman entered the private room. At least, she started out dressed
as Wonder Woman. The idea of paying a stripper to entertain at a party
for Jack seemed in poor taste, but Jack's attitude somehow completely
removed any trace of sleaze from the proceedings! Instead of being
flustered by this topless young woman's obvious endowments, Jack acted
like he was receiving the keys to the city! "I thank you," Jack
calmly said, with much more dignity than the occasion merited. "I
thank you, you're a lovely young woman!" Later that night, after
the mostly undressed "Wonder Woman" had her picture taken
with Jack, someone asked Roz what she thought. Roz held up the photo. "No
problem," she said. "I'll just paste a photo of my face over
A Shocking Story
by Nicholas Caputo
Over two decades ago, I attended the first Marvel Convention in New
York in 1975. It was a spectacle of wonderment; on hand were bullpen
luminaries such as John Romita, John Buscema, Don Heck, Dick Ayers,
Joe Sinnott, Marie Severin, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and
of course, Stan Lee presiding over the festivities. But the most momentous
event occurred quite unexpectedly on what should have been a very pedestrian
On the final day, Stan Lee and Roy Thomas hosted a Fantastic Four
panel. As it was getting underway, Stan commented he had a special
guest to announce. There, walking down the aisle in what seemed like
a flash, was a man Lee proclaimed was Jack Kirby. The room exploded
with thunderous applause and a standing ovation as Kirby made his way
to the podium. It was a thrilling moment that remains in my memory
even after all these years.
When Lee stated that Kirby would return to Marvel, there was a bustle
of excitement and enthusiasm in the room, along with a barrage of questions
about what books he would work on. Kirby's answer was, "Whatever
I do at Marvel, I can assure you that it'll electrocute you in the
mind!" To which Lee, ever the linguist, corrected, "Electrify,
After the panel we all had the opportunity to speak with Kirby, who
I seem to recall was pretty much flooded with fans, but we were able
to utter a few words of gratitude and receive autographs. It was a
moment (as Jack might phrase it) that electrocuted us all in the mind.
Corned Beef And Kirby
by Jim Steranko
Back in 1964 when I first met Jack, he lived on Long Island. I wasn't
in the comicbook business yet, and went to see him as a fan. He was
very congenial, as always, and had invited me to visit. I showed up
at the Kirby home around noon, and Jack asked me if I'd had lunch.
I hadn't and neither had he.
Before you could say "When Titans Clash!", the King was
buttering bread and making baloney sandwiches. A few minutes later,
Captain America himself had made lunch for us. It was comparable to
having Michelangelo stomp some grapes to make wine. I wasn't sure if
I wanted to eat mine or have it bronzed!
Just over the kitchen table hung an impressive splash page by Severin
and Elder of American Eagle from Prize Comics. It was a magnificent
shot of the Indian hero holding a rifle by a campfire. Kirby had colored
it in vivid hues of Dr. Martin's dyes. American Eagle watched us as
we ate; then Jack invited me downstairs to his studio.
I was flabbergasted by the art on the walls. But the one that blew
me away most was the centerspread from Boys' Ranch - the Kirby equivalent
of the barroom brawl in "North To Alaska," with flying chairs
and smashing mirrors. There was even the inevitable piano player pumping
away on an old upright while this magnificent fight enveloped him.
It was the most colossal donnybrook that has ever been drawn in a
single panel in comics, but Jack didn't even look at it as we passed
on our way to his basement studio. He simply said, "There's a
little fight scene I did awhile ago." He was completely nonchalant
about it, but that's very much the way he was.
Jack was a guy who liked a laugh or a joke as much as anybody, and
he was prone to deliver the corniest lines imaginable, just to elicit
a groan. Once in San Diego, I was sitting at a table with several co-workers
and Jack walked by, saying something like, "Stick 'em up, or I'll
shoot ya with this rod. It'll be curtains for ya!" doing his best
Edward G. Robinson impression.
Assuming the role of straight man, I said, "Why's that, Jack?"
"Because it's a curtain rod!"
You have to be a genius to get away with a gag like that.
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