I have just finished reading the new Jack Kirby biography by Jack's official biographer Mark Evanier. It’s a great read with some wonderful personal anecdotes from his time as assistant to Jack.
There’s lots of imagery from through Kirby’s illustrious career and points out the frustration that he felt with the way he was dealt with by the publishers. Jack Kirby should have been a multi-millionaire with all the IP’s he created throughout his five decades in comics, but it never happened.
The book is a very positive look at the man and his work and although it touches on his treatment by the publishers throughout his career it is not a book that dwells on the negatives.
For anyone that has never read anything on Jack or his work, this is a great book to bring you up to speed. If you have then you still won’t be disappointed as there is quite a lot of clearing up of certain facts about his ongoing relationships with the publishers and his work ethic and speed.
The size of the book is great as there are some full-page pieces of artwork from the legendary comic artist. There are some photographs throughout as well.
Jack Kirby’s story is a warm study of an writer/artist hell bent on providing for his family by doing what he did best, telling stories. But there is a tinge of sadness there too, as anyone aware of the man and his work will know, in his treatment by the publishers on many occasions.
He should have been rich from his creations, which we know isn’t true, although he helped make those in power around him rich.
Like it says in the book and was being bandied about back when he was fighting for comic artists and writers rights, Marvel is, “The House that Jack Built”.
It is his legacy to comics’ creators and fans throughout the world however that makes us the richest in the truest sense though. Jack’s struggles for creative rights and recompense may have come late in his life, but his and the struggles of those battling in his cause made simple things such as the return of artwork and royalties above certain thresholds a part of working in comics.
Now you are probably saying to yourselves, well he would say that wouldn’t he, he loves Jack’s work. My answer to that is, if the book wasn’t up to it then I wouldn’t be plugging it, due to the fact I have so much admiration for his work.
Mark Evanier knew the Kirby’s from being around eighteen and worked as an assistant to Jack, and it shows. There is a great deal of respect for the family and this book is testament to that fact.
If you haven’t seen the book, please do yourself a favour go out and buy a copy…you won’t be disappointed. Whether you are already a fan of his work, or just want to learn something about the guy ‘probably’ most responsible for making Marvel comics the force they are today, the book is a must buy.
My thanks go out to Mark Evanier for sharing his thoughts and anecdotes with us with this wonderful book, which now sits with my many other Kirby books, in my studio.
For more information on Jack Kirby please go to the on-line Kirby Museum:
For more information on Mark Evanier please visit his website here:
Until next time have fun!
June 21st 2008