A Pile of Kirby Originals for Fumetto
A few odds and ends today.
1) Via Sammy H., artist and Frank-favorite Kevin Nowlan has posted a couple of interesting accounts of learning the craft of storytelling.
2) Patrick Ford passed along these choice passages from Jim Amash‘s excellent Alter Ego interview with Jack Katz, covering Kirby and Mort Meskin.
Katz on Kirby at Timely: Jack would work at his own desk there and Joe would come in during the morning and subtly stare at us. Jack would go for lunch, and when he came back Joe would leave for the day. You know how I learned to ink? Jack sat me down one day, He said, “This is what you do.” He took one of my drawings, and he inked it with a brush. I’d never seen inking that good in my life. I said, “Jack if you could ink so good, why do you let—?” He said, “I don’t have the time.” He said, “This is what I want you to do. You apply the blacks like this. This is this is what you do with your camera angle to make the background stand out. Jack would fill in all kinds of black areas in the background. As an inker, I don’t think there could have been anybody better if he had done his own stuff himself. One of the things they had in the office was the Sunday Hal Foster Tarzan strips, almost from it’s inception…everyone in the office was using them for swipes. Kirby never used swipes. I’m being very straight about that. If he did it was for reference, I never saw him erase anything either. Jack would get in early, he was always there before I came in. He left late. Jack wrote as he drew, he also worked from scripts, but he would use them as a template.
Katz on Kirby and Meskin:
Jack represented a boss who was handling a very unusual art form. He was very much in command. The only one who could say stupid things to him was Mort Meskin. Mort had a window seat. He’s say, “Get up!, Get up!” and a girl would be walking around in a bathing suit. And Jack would say, “Would you sit the F**k down.”This happened almost every day. One day Mort brought in some pornographic toys, Queen-sized fake breasts. He shows them to Kirby. Jack says, “What are you doing?” Mort puts the breasts on the floor and starts jumping up and down on them. Jack told him to stop, and get back to work. Mort said, “I can’t because I had a date with a disgusting pig, and I’m taking out revenge.
Katz on Kirby and the War:
Jack was involved in horrific situations where he had to do the ultimate thing. He wasn’t ashamed, but he felt deep regret over the fact that he had to kill people. When he talked to me about these things, his eyes were very deep in the past. It was extraordinary. Sometimes I noticed him staring out the window, and from the look in his eyes it was apparent that he was reliving the war.
3) And finally, I really enjoyed this account of Kirby’s war experiences from Jack Kirby Collector 27, as posted by early biographer Ray Wyman. Like Jeet, I think Kirby’s war experiences are crucial to his output and kind of underplayed in contemporary accounts of his life.