Monday, September 1, 2014

75 YEARS AGO TODAY you might still have been able to find a copy of FAMOUS FUNNIES #61, the fourth comic book to have Kirby art.

It had two and a half pages of ads (including Kirby's first published full-pager) for the Lone Rider feature that would begin in the next issue. This made Kirby's page count for his first year in the industry twenty-four and a half pages.

About a year and a half earlier Kirby had been hired by Associated Features Syndicate to produce his first daily strip. It was a knockoff of the Lone Ranger, a character that had at that point been on the radio for four years and star of his own monthly pulp magazine for half a year. The Lone Ranger comic strip appeared in newspapers from September 1938 to December 1971. Kirby's Lone Rider strip appeared from January 1939 until February 1939. Thirty-two of those strips were colored and a reprinted four to a page, two pages an issue in FAMOUS FUNNIES #62, 63, 64 and 65.

There are four Lone Rider pages restored by Joe Simon biographer Harry Mendryk on exhibit at

Sunday, August 31, 2014

76 YEARS AGO TODAY Jack Kirby's first published comic book work was available in the stores.

Besides working for Lincoln Features in 1938, Kirby was also employed by Jerry Iger and Will Eisner's syndicate. His first assignments were Count of Monte Cristo (4 episodes according to Greg Theakson, 8 episodes according to the Marvel Masterworks site), Diary of Dr.Hayward (12 episodes) and Wilton of the West (12 episodes).
When Fiction House Publishing contracted Iger and Eisner's syndicate to supply material for JUMBO COMICS they provided them with Kirby's Diary and Wilton which Fiction House used in the first three issues of the title. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

78 YEARS AGO TODAY Jack Kirby had been working as a staff artist for Lincoln Features Syndicate for three months. He kept that job for two years creating real facts strips (Your Health Comes First and Facts You Never Knew), humorous strips (Socko the Seadog and Abdyl Jones), adventure strips (Black Buccaneer and Cyclone Burke) and editorial cartoons. These strips were done in different styles and signed with different aliases.

The enigmatic Lincoln Features, which was run by Horace T. Elmo, is a syndicate that sold features to weekly papers. Weeklies are a notoriously bad market, and Elmo never had a great deal of luck selling his material. Lincoln was a curious mix of slapdash and brilliant work. The syndicate's main claim to fame is that Jack Kirby got his start there. Unfortunately Kirby, as far as I know, didn't discuss the syndicate in any depth in later years, so we really don't know much about it. Some of the Lincoln material is so rare that it has yet to be found actually appearing in a newspaper (Kirby's Abdul Jones, for instance, so far exists only in the form of a run of proofs that Kirby held onto) - source explains that when you DO find a Lincoln strip in a Weekly it usually only runs for only 4-6 episodes which means that the syndicate sent the newspaper some samples, which the Weekly would then use without any intention of picking up the service on a paying basis.

I don't know if this example of Kirby's early strip work appears in EVERY Kirby biography but if you've read Mark Evanier's KIRBY KING OF COMICS or Greg Theakston's JACK KIRBY TREASURY you've already seen this strip.

Friday, August 29, 2014

81 YEARS AGO TODAY you could get Jack Kirby art for a penny.

Founded in 1932, The Boys Brotherhood Republic was one of Mayor LaGuardia's solutions to New York City's juvenile delinquency problem. Kirby had been a member for less than a year when he assisted in starting the club's newsletter. The newsletter was mimeographed and sold for a penny. Kirby, who had not yet changed his name from Kurtzberg, did his first comic strip for the then weekly newsletter.

The Boys Brotherhood Republic still exists. It was renamed the Boys and Girls Republic in 1998.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


On August 28, 1917 Jacob Kurtzberg was born. Twenty years later he had mastered cartooning sufficiently enough to be hired by a syndicate to draw a daily cowboy strip called The Lone Rider.

By age 24 Wunderkind Kurtzberg had changed his name to Jack Kirby and was working in the embryonic comic book industry. Kirby already had 1000 published story pages to his credit and 33 covers. Two years later he had double the amount of published story pages and triple the covers.

By the time Kirby was 35 he had produced more than 5,000 interior pages and 250 covers. He was most prolific when interest in the medium was at its height. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


(W/A) Various (CA) Don Heck
    In 1958, Stan Lee stood before the decimated Atlas line. Having gone from editor of a line of dozens of titles to just eight, Stan refocused his efforts on only biggest and best: enter TALES OF SUSPENSE! Anchored by the visual talents Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck, this new "big monster" book became part of a creative revival that would change comics forever. Their twist-ending tales featuring Martians, killer robots and massive monsters were the very foundation for what would become Marvel's super-hero House of Ideas. So strap on your tin-foil hat, grab your ray gun, and get ready to dive into one of the most amazing eras of comics' history! Collecting TALES OF SUSPENSE (1959) #1-10. Reprints 8 Kirby-drawn stories totaling 45 pages of art and 7 Kirby covers

(W/A) Various (CA) Larry Lieber
    Experience classic tales featuring mystic hero Dr. Droom, arch-villain Dr. Doom and the cosmic Watcher in one must-have Masterworks collection! Featuring some of the era's greatest talents - Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas and Gene Colan - it's a perfect Masterworks pedigree! This volume will also include a host of amazing extras from the 1960s peak of the Marvel Age - original Marvel Merry Marching Society memorabilia; rare pinups, posters and prints; and more! It's the volume you've dreamed of, so reserve your copy today! Collecting material from AMAZING ADVENTURES (1961) #1-5 (16 Kirby pages), TALES OF SUSPENSE #49-58, SILVER SURFER (1968) #1-7, MARVEL SUPER-HEROES (1967) #20 and #23, and ASTONISHING TALES (1970) #1-8.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stark Mansion, like 91.3% of American households in 1963, had a TV.

Of course they had a state of the art large screen table top model. 
They probably were also one of the 1% of households that had cable in 1963! (If you had cable in 1963 you were literally one in a million.)