Monthly Archives: April 2008

Kirby: Deities!


At the New York Comicon, we unveiled a limited edition portfolio, done in conjunction with the release of KIRBY FIVE-OH!. Called KIRBY: DEITIES, it’s not sold in stores (only from our website), and is a remastered version of Jack Kirby’s 1971 “Disneyland Portfolio”, featuring ten 8-1/2″ x 11″ full-color plates in an illustrated envelope, and is limited to just 200 copies.

On April 9-11, 1971, Jack Kirby was a guest at the Disneyland Convention of Nostalgia, held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. For the event, Jack printed a limited edition portfolio of some of his 1960s concept drawings, done while he was still working for Marvel Comics. The originals were inked by Don Heck and Frank Giacoia (and Jack himself), and hand-colored by Kirby, but due to budget restraints, the portfolio’s eight plates were printed in black-and-white only, with no envelope. This remastered version has been renamed Kirby: Deities, since the characters Jack created were all proposed “gods” in a new pantheon he was developing in his mind in the 1960s. This version includes two color plates that weren’t in the original 1971 B&W version of the portfolio. The 9″ x 12″ black-and-white envelope art was inked by Mike Royer, and was originally used on the mailing envelopes for Jack’s 1971 Kirby Unleashed portfolio.

The price is $19.95 plus shipping, and can be ordered now at this link:

But hurry; we sold a lot at the New York Comicon, and once the remaining copies are gone, there won’t by any more.

New York Comicon wrap-up

Finally back from the Big Apple, where we had a really successful NY Comic Con; way better than last year’s con in terms of sales and attendance (probably partially due to our primo location right up front this year), and I had an absolutely fantastic time!

Because of the high costs of attending this con, we cut every corner we could. My pal Jim Amash crashed here last Wednesday night, and we got up and left about 5am, driving my fully-stuffed minivan the 11 or so hours from NC to NY (saving shipping and airfare). We stayed with Barry Pearl, a friend of Jim’s (thanks for the hospitality, Barry!), and took the train in on Friday and Saturday, to save on hotel costs (I thought San Diego’s hotels were expensive, until I tried booking one in Manhattan!).

Got to meet some folks I’ve corresponded with over the years, but had never seen face-to-face. It was cool to finally meet Klaus Janson and Alex Jay, plus I managed to convince Mike Gartland to attend, and got to see him for the first time in beau coup years. (Thanks for the comics and companionship, Mikey!)

Jim Amash has spent years interviewing classic pros for Alter Ego, but this was the first time he’d gotten to see a lot of the amazingly talented elder statesmen of comics that he’s become friends with via phone. If it’s possible, I think Jim had a better time than I did at the con; the look on those guys faces when they realized Jim was there was priceless.

Thanks to the Kirby Museum’s Rand Hoppe for helping us find our way around the area and set-up our stuff, and taking us to some fantastic restaurants (best Thai food I’ve ever had was on Saturday night). He and his wife Lisa are two of the most delightful people you’ll ever meet, and they introduced me to Richard Bensam, who I really enjoyed getting to know a bit. Rand brought his large-format scanner to our booth, and scanned Kirby originals for the Museum all weekend.

Lessee… I finally got to meet Michael “Doc V” Vasallo, as well as Nick Caputo, both of whom have been longtime contributors to our mags. George Khoury was there helping out the whole time, manning the booth, and finding bargains for me on the show floor. Jon and Andy Cooke were everywhere, promoting their fabulous Will Eisner documentary, and we discussed some plans for things that we’ll reveal in the near future. As always, it was great breaking bread with Draw’s Mike Manley and his buddies (and thanks again, Scott, for the offer of a place to crash).

Our panel on Sunday was well attended, as was the Jack Kirby Tribute Panel, hosted by Mark Evanier (with panelists Joe Sinnott and Dick Ayers). Mark was signing his KIRBY: KING OF COMICS book at the Abrahms booth with Joe Simon, and had some of the longest lines at the con.

We debuted the new issue of ROUGH STUFF, plus the BEST OF WRITE NOW volume and MODERN MASTERS VOLUME 16: MIKE ALLRED, and sold a lot of copies. Plus, we had a couple of boxes of KIRBY FIVE-OH! hot off the presses, and those sold out by the end of the day Saturday. We also had our Con special KIRBY: DEITIES portfolio (limited to 200 copies), and sold most of the ones we brought, with no pre-release promotion. (We’ll be making the remaining copies available online within a week or so, so stayed tuned.)

All in all, a good convention. Even with the high costs, it easily outperformed WizardWorld: Chicago for us, and unlike WW:C (where you’re stuck in Rosemont, a sleepy suburb of the Windy City), there’s so much to do and see in Manhattan, that it’s a much more desirable show in terms of food and entertainment outside the hall.

Here’s the Pros and Cons from my vantage point:

Great weather (except Sunday, which still wasn’t so bad)

Big crowd both Saturday and Sunday (and Friday wasn’t too bad)

Free move-in assistance provided by the con for anyone in a non-commercial vehicle

Easy, fast move-out on Sunday

Getting to see friends that don’t usually make it out to see us at the San Diego Comicon each year

Parked my van on the street on Sunday, and it was intact at the end of the day

Seeing so many pros like Joe Simon, Joe Sinnott, Stan Goldberg, and Dick Ayers being literally mobbed by fans

REALLY expensive booth costs (we paid 150% of what we pay for a same-size corner booth at the San Diego Comicon, and SD delivers twice as many attendees)

Ridiculous rental charges for booth carpet, tables, electricity, and chairs (at San Diego, all that is included in your booth cost; for NY, we had to lug our own tables and chairs, and we skipped the carpet, but had to shell out for power)

Disgusting bathrooms at the Javits Center (somehow San Diego manages to accommodate twice as many people adequately in this regard)

The “professional only” Friday hours (10am-3pm), for us at least, are basically a waste of time. There’s plenty of time to chat with pros during the regular con hours, and by not letting the public in until 3pm, we’re losing 5 hours of potential sales. I personally hope they do away with this in the future.

Overpriced, weak food at the Javits Center (and the hot food court wasn’t even open on Friday or Sunday)

Manhattan parking is nonexistent on Friday and Saturday (unless you want to shell out $65 a day for a garage)

Panel rooms are kinda far off from the action on the show floor, and they embarassingly got our name wrong on the schedule signage. (Either that, or Pete Von Sholly was there causing mischief, and I didn’t know about it.) Thanks to Rand and Tom Kraft for their “Sharpie fix” of the typo.

Shoplifters: I’m continually amazed at how brazen these guys are. They just walk up, pick up a couple of books as if they’re going to buy them, casually look over our display for a couple of minutes, then wait till we’re busy and walk away without paying. They’re usually in packs of 3 or more, to make it harder to spot. I chased down one guy who walked off with a copy of KIRBY FIVE-OH! and some Alter Egos, and he pretended like he didn’t speak English, only saying, “I just grabbed!!” when I confronted him. (The guy was at least twice my size and coulda squashed me like a grape, but when somebody swipes a Kirby book, I see red and don’t think about the consequences…)

Will we be back next year? I’m 99% sure we will, although I hope they’ll find a way to make it more affordable. I know the San Diego Con is run by a nonprofit organization, and NY is all about making a buck, but if they want to continue to compete, they really need to consider ways to make it reachable by smaller publishers. It was weird to see companies like Top Shelf and Continuum sticking with the much cheaper, half-size small press booths in NY, when they’ve got huge double-booths (and probably much better sales) in San Diego. But I know where they’re coming from; it’s a great con, but it’s expensive to attend.

England update

A great time was had by all at today’s “Live From Kirby Plaza” event in England. Chrissie Harper and Paul Gravett did an outstanding job putting together a fantastic tribute to Jack Kirby, and it was a blast to get to speak (via Skype) to the assembled crowd of Kirby fans in the UK. Also on hand via phone was Mark Evanier and the Kirby Museum’s Rand Hoppe, and the whole shebang will be transcribed in the upcoming 15th Anniversary special edition of Chrissie’s Jack Kirby Quarterly, due out in the Fall. Thanks to both CH and PG for asking me to be a part of the festivities!

NY Comicon Kirby Exclusive!

Here’s the envelope art for a top secret item that’ll be available at this weekend’s New York Comicon! We produced it to celebrate Kirby Five-Oh! (the 50th issue of the Jack Kirby Collector, which debuts this weekend). All I’m going to say is that it’s a Limited Edition portfolio featuring FULL-COLOR Kirby plates, and leave it at that. If you want all the details, be sure to come by Booth #1703 this weekend to see what’s inside. But get there early, as there’s only 200 copies available, and they’re sure to go fast!

Batcave Companion update

A lot of people have asked me about the delay on our BATCAVE COMPANION book, and why it’s not in our new catalog: In a nutshell, DC Comics had previously approved the book for its original release date last July, but we chose to push it back till April 2008, to give our editors extra time to make it the quality book our readers are expecting. While the book is now nearly finished, we’ve now been asked by DC Comics’ legal department to delay the release of our book until April 2009 (one year later than planned), so it won’t affect sales of DC’s own Batman-related books that are coming out in conjunction with this summer’s big-budget DARK KNIGHT film (and its DVD release later this year).

I know this will disappoint readers, as it has disappointed me (and the book’s editors, Michael Eury and Michael Kronenberg). But in fairness to DC, if we’d gotten the book out when originally planned, it wouldn’t have interfered with the film’s release. They are just protecting their properties, and were gracious enough to simply ask for a delay in our book, and not an outright cancellation.

So, the BATCAVE COMPANION will now be released in April 2009. Thanks for your understanding in this situation, and your continued support of our publications. Rest assured, when the book is finally published next year, you’re going to think it was worth the wait!

A banner day in TwoMorrowland!


There are two Kirby items I’ve been searching for since 1994, when I first started the Jack Kirby Collector magazine (and, unknown to me at the time, the future TwoMorrows Publishing). One is Jack Kirby’s original pencil pages for the first Spider-Man story, before the job was handed off to Steve Ditko to finish for Amazing Fantasy #15.

The other is this one, elusive color concept piece that Kirby did in the 1960s, along with the original drawings of Orion, Darkseid, Mister Miracle, and others (a couple of which still haven’t made it into comics). The only image I’ve seen of it was in the background of a photograph of Jack, taken at his booth at an early San Diego Comicon. The character is African-American, standing with his hands on his hips, wearing a half-length cape. I’ve run the above fuzzy reproduction from that photo in TJKC a few times, accompanying a plea to anyone who knows where it is, to send us an image. (And everyone seemed to think it was Jack’s original “Coal Tiger” drawing that became the Black Panther, but this is a different piece altogether.)

After 14 years, I’m thrilled to announce it showed up in my e-mail box this morning, and I put an immediate “STOP THE PRESSES!” appeal to our printer for my Kirby Five-Oh! book, so I could at least replace the fuzzy image in the book with a clean one. It was too late to add it to the color section, but there is now at least a nice (if smallish) black-and-white repro of it in K-5-0… and wait’ll you see it in full-color! (Which you will on the cover of TJKC #52, and also in a surprise Kirby goody I’m going to announce next week at the New York Comicon.)

After this many years of searching for something, it’s an exhilarating feeling to finally track it down. I’m on Cloud Ten today.

Now, whoever has those Spidey pages, you know where to find me…

Kirby in England

On April 15, a live event called “Live From Kirby Plaza” will take place in England, celebrating Jack Kirby’s life and career. Hosted by Paul Gravett, director of the Comica Festival held every year at the UK’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, the event kicks off with an audio-visual presentation including sound extracts from a 1993 interview with Kirby, followed by a panel discussion with TV/radio presenter and collector Paul Gambaccini, Kim Newman (writer, broadcaster, journalist and critic specialising in horror and fantasy), and Chrissie Harper, editor of Jack Kirby Quarterly. Mark Evanier and yours truly will take part via a live Internet link-up, discussing Mark’s KIRBY: KING OF COMICS book, and our own KIRBY FIVE-OH!. A selection of original artwork will also be on display courtesy of Chrissie and Jonathan (“In Search of Steve Ditko”) Ross, which will include pages from the Fourth World, Kamandi, Street Code and much more.

The event takes place at 7pm UK time, and is completely sold out. Chrissie Harper be recording it and transcribing for a special upcoming edition of JKQ, and some film clips of it will hopefully make their way to YouTube shortly after the event.

Kirby Artwork that will be on display includes:

From Chrissie Harper:
Street Code page 2
Battle For a 3-D World poster (Royer inks)
Devil Dinosaur #1 page 26
Black Panther #10 page 23

From Jonathan Ross:
Full comics page of Cap battling Fourth Sleeper
New Gods #2 cover
Stuntman #2 cover
Insect Man – Marvel monster splash page inked by Ayers
Questions & Answers – 2 pages from FF Annual
Devil Dinosaur #1 DPS
Black Bolt, two pages framed together, first time he ‘speaks’ from FF #59
Illustration spread from Ariel Magazine
Kamandi #12 cover
Mr Miracle #9 cover
The Gods colour presentation piece
Silver Star #6 DPS

Kirby Five-Oh! HARDCOVER available now; hurry!

KIRBY FIVE-OH! (the 50th issue of The Jack Kirby Collector, which will be a double-size softcover BOOK instead of the regular magazine) is on press now, and scheduled to ship on April 25. To celebrate 50 issues, we’re making a special LIMITED HARDCOVER EDITION available. The hardcover version features all the original contents of the softcover version, but with a full-color wrapped hardcover, and an individually-numbered extra Kirby art plate not included in the softcover edition! This hardcover edition is ONLY AVAILABLE FROM TWOMORROWS, is not sold in stores, and we’ll set the number of copies printed based on pre-orders placed in the next 24 hours. So if you’re interested, go to this link right away to order your HARDCOVER copy for $34.95:

(If clicking on the above link doesn’t work, please just copy and paste the URL into your web browser.)

NOTE: Due to the extra printing and binding time involved, the hardcover version will ship approximately two weeks after the softcover, but we guarantee it’ll be worth the wait!

Podcasting again!

The TwoMorrows Tune-In podcast has been on haitus for a while, as we looked for someone to take it on after the departure of Chris Irving from the company. I’m proud to announce that we’ve got another “Chris” who’s filling the spot admirably; Chris Marshall, who also hosts and produces his own weekly podcast, The Collected Comics Library (, one of the most listened to comic book podcasts. Chris brings three years of experience to TwoMorrows, and has been working overtime to make our podcasts something you won’t want to miss.

We’ve got two new episodes available now at:

One features a new interview with Back Issue magazine editor Michael Eury, and the April edition features Write Now! editor Danny Fingeroth, plus other surprises. So tune in today! And look for a new episode the first week of each month.