Jack Kirby Collector Edited by John Morrow Jack Kirby Collector celebrates the life and career of the "King" of comics through interviews with Kirby and his contemporaries, feature articles, and rare & unseen Kirby artwork. Now in tabloid format, the magazine showcases Kirby's art at even larger size.

Jack Meets Paul McCartney

written by & © Steve Sherman

From Jack Kirby Collector #8

In late summer/early fall of 1975, Paul McCartney, former Beatle, was on a World Tour to promote his new band, Wings. They had just released the album "Venus and Mars." One of the tracks, "Magneto vs. Titanium-Man," was inspired by characters from Marvel's X-Men comic.

When the tour hit Los Angeles, it was a really big deal. This was to be McCartney's first L.A. appearance since the Beatles breakup. Tickets were sold out immediately for the three-night event.

The day of the first show, my brother Gary decided that it would be pretty cool if McCartney could meet Jack, since it was obvious that McCartney was a Kirby fan. Figuring he had nothing to lose, Gary phoned Capitol Records, which is headquartered in Hollywood. He asked to speak to the A&R (Artists & Repertoire) rep for Paul. When they put him through he told them that Jack Kirby had done a drawing of Paul and wondered if Paul would be interested in meeting Jack. It turned out that the A&R guy was a Kirby fan, so he said that he would check it out with "Paul's people." About an hour later he called Gary back and said, "You bet, Paul would be happy to meet Jack. Show up at the Forum about an hour and a half before the show." Gary quickly called the Kirbys and told Lisa, Jack's daughter, to show Jack a copy of the album and to turn out a sketch for McCartney. The show started at 8:00 pm which gave Gary only three hours to drive to Thousand Oaks and back to the Forum in Inglewood.

When Gary arrived Jack showed him the "sketch" he had done. As Gary remembers it was a knock-out. Jack had done a fully-rendered 11" x 17" drawing of a giant Magneto holding his arm out towards the viewer, with Paul and Linda standing in his palm and the rest of the band in the other hand, with all kinds of Kirby planets and what-nots floating around the background. All in the time it took Gary to drive the 45 minutes to the Kirby house.

One of the interesting things about Jack's portraits was that unlike his comic art which tended to be exaggerated and blocky, the portraits that he sometimes drew of his family, and the one of Paul and Linda, were much more realistic and very detailed, much like Jack's artwork of the late thirties. Gary said it looked like the cover of an album.

With Gary at the wheel of the Kirby's Lincoln town car, they headed south to the Forum. While Lisa, Roz and Gary were excited, Jack contentedly puffed on his cigar (he still smoked 'em then) and was more concerned about stopping along the way and getting some chocolate cake (a Kirby weakness).

Arriving at the Forum, the foursome proceeded to the rear stage entrance, where they were greeted by the Tour Security Chief, who was also a Kirby fan. Jazzed to meet Jack, he escorted them inside, where they were greeted by Linda McCartney. Linda then took them on a brief tour; Gary remembers that she opened a door to a room and there were the Wings musicians (does anybody remember who they were, outside of Denny Laine?) sitting around drinking Jack Daniels. Then around the corner came Paul. "'Ello, Jack, nice to meet you." Jack gave Paul and Linda the drawing which they thought was "smashing." Paul thanked Jack for keeping him from going bonkers while they were recording the album in Jamaica. It seems that there was very little to do there, and they needed to keep their kids entertained. Luckily, there was a store that sold comics, so Paul would go and pick up all the latest. One night the song "Magneto vs. Titanium-man" popped into his head. The thing about Jack was that within a few minutes you felt as if you were his best friend, so Paul too was soon laughing it up with Jack as if he had known him for years.

Lisa had her camera with her so they all ended up taking pictures, one of which Gary carried with him for years (showing it to one and all) of Paul, Linda, Gary, Lisa, Roz and Jack all smiling and pointing. Paul asked them if they had tickets for the show (remember three nights sold out) and they said that they didn't. Paul gave a nod to someone, and magically four tickets appeared stamped in big red letters: COMP. They all said good-byes and the Kirbys and Gary were led through a door and out into the audience. They were seated stage center about 15 rows from the stage. On one side was Ryan O'Neal and the other Michael Douglas.

The show started and when it came time for Paul to do "Magneto" he introduced it by saying, "In the audience tonight we have the creator of Magneto and lots of other comic characters, and I'd like to dedicate this song to Jack Kirby." The audience gave a roar of approval and Jack waved.

After the concert they headed back to Thousand Oaks, Jack puffing on his cigar. "Ya know, Gary, I really appreciate this," Jack said laughing, "and to show you how much, we're gonna stop at Bob's Big Boy for some chocolate cake!"

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