Jack Kirby arrived in this world on the 28th of August, 1917. Tomorrow, August 28, 2012, would have been his ninety-fifth birthday. In honor of this anniversary and of Kirby’s incredibly generative and influential work, as well as the larger comics field of which he was such a vital part, I hope you’ll lend your support to two special charitable events designed to benefit the Hero Initiative.
What is the Hero Initiative? As its website explains,
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Established in 2001, the Hero Initiative gives support to creators who—and this is an indictment of the way the comic book industry treated its creators for so long—find themselves without financial support, despite their stature in the field and despite the affection of fans. The whole point of Hero is to honor the roots of the comic book and take care of the medium’s revered elders.
So exactly what’s happening on Kirby’s birthday, the 28th?
To give a big boost to the Hero Initiative, Jack Kirby’s youngest granddaughter, Jillian Kirby, has organized a donation drive called Kirby4Heroes. Its premise is simple and wonderful: on August 28th, comic shops across California, as well as Midtown Comics on the other side of the country (in Manhattan), will be donating a percentage of their sales to the Hero Initiative. Please go shopping at your local comic book store on the 28th and help Kirby4Heroes make a difference!
Jillian, in collaboration with the Nerdist Channel, made a video to explain the campaign, which you can see by clicking on this screenshot:
Unfortunately, I’m not able to embed the actual video here, but do check it out by clicking the above or seeking it out on YouTube. Also, the Los Angeles Times’ Geoff Boucher has a helpful article about Kirby4Heroes here.
You can also lend support to Kirby4Heroes by donating online at heroinitiative.org (be sure to type “Kirby4Heroes” in the space for “special instructions”), or by good old-fashioned mail at:
c/o The Hero Initiative
11301 Olympic Blvd., #587
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Please join the campaign; help Jillian Kirby support our comic book heritage!
Besides Kirby4Heroes, there’s something else Kirby-related and cool being cooked up by the Hero Initiative for August 28th: the Wake Up and Draw challenge! As the Hero website explains,
Hero has recruited 100 artists to get up on the morning of August 28, 2012 to simply “Wake Up and Draw.” This new event is a way for artists to limber up, get the creative juices flowing, and celebrate the day by drawing and sending a “birthday card to Jack.” All 100 drawings will be featured in a special gallery at ComicArtFans.com, and fans can follow the action through the day on Twitter searching hashtag: #WakeUpAndDraw. All drawings will be auctioned to benefit Hero Initiative at a later date!
Jack’s son Neal Kirby and artist Tim Seeley have created an video about this event (that’s Seeley in the screenshot—again, click on it to go to YouTube):
Wow, this sounds like fun—and, of course, it’s all to a great cause! What better way to celebrate the birthday of the King?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACK!
Update: There’s more going on in celebration of Kirby’s birthday—see the comment below!