Category Archives: Events

Apocalypse Fever!

Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby had its grand opening reception yesterday, Saturday, August 29. And it was grand. It was busy, it was crowded, and it got an amazing response. The whole three-plus hours kept me busy from start to finish (and beyond), in a mad, delightful shmoozefest. Conversation about Kirby and his extraordinary work went on all night. From lenders, colleagues, and friends, to my precious family, to artists and creators of all stripes, to CSUN and high school students with questions—whew, we did not stop. Such an incredible outpouring of enthusiasm and gratitude for the art of Jack Kirby!

Below are just a few photos, taken by my beautiful wife and partner Michele. Later we’ll post some that really show the size of the crowd!

At the bottom of this post: news about tomorrow’s big event!

My brother and inspiration, Scott Hatfield, looks intently at our keystone image.

My brother and inspiration, Scott Hatfield, looks intently at our keystone image.

Dean of the CSUN College of Humanities, Dr. Elizabeth Say

Dean of the CSUN College of Humanities, Dr. Elizabeth Say

Sketcher at CBA opening

Who is CH talking to?

Whom is CH talking to?

Thanks to Marjie and Brent, big supporters!

Thanks to Marjie and Brent, big supporters!

Emily, is that you?

Emily, is that you?

News!

Tomorrow, Monday, August 31, at 10am, Kirby biographer Mark Evanier will be joining me at the exhibition for the CSUN Arts Council’s traditional Gallery Talk. This lecture and discussion session is free and open to the public—if you’re in L.A., why not come and check it o

Kirby Day Is Here!

Don’t forget to lend your support to the Kirby4Heroes Campaign! Give back to our veteran comic book creators! And watch artists volunteer their talents for the cause by following #WakeUpAndDraw on Twitter!

image
Above: a metaphor for what Kirby did for the comic book industry.

PS. Comic Book Apocalype: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby–opening reception tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 29, 4 to 7pm at Cal State Northridge in Los Angeles. Join a belated birthday celebration for the King and gaze at 107 Kirby originals!

Celebrate Kirby Day by lending a hand!

Tomorrow, August 28, is Kirby Day. it would have been the 98th birthday of Jack Kirby, who passed away twenty-one years ago—but didn’t, really, because a spirit like Kirby doesn’t pass away, as much as we may miss the lively presence of the living man.

As I said a year ago, I think Kirby Day ought to be a holiday for comics fans. It is for me! And more than a private celebration among fans, Kirby Day can be a way to give back to the comics creators whose dreams have populated ours:

Kirby4Heroes Facebook page--please lend your support!Jack’s family continues to celebrate his birthday by supporting veteran comic book creators through The Hero Initiative, a federally chartered, not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring and helping creators in need. Since 2012, Jillian Kirby, Jack’s granddaughter, has led the Kirby4Heroes campaign to raise money for the Initiative on his birthday. With the kind of generosity that Kirby himself embodied, the Initiative seeks to provide (as its website says) “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.” Over the past three years Kirby4Heroes has raised about $30,000 for the Initiative, and this year Jillian has set the goal of $20,000. Please help here reach that goal!

On August 28, Kirby Day, select comic book shops across the country will be donating a portion of their sales to The Hero Initiative. Some stores will also be hosting special events. ComicsPRO, the professional organization of comic book retailers, has endorsed Kirby4Heroes, and many comics artists will be lending their time and talents as well. (Follow #WakeUpAndDraw on Twitter on Aug. 28th!)

Supporting Kirby4Heroes is simple. Besides shopping at your local comics store on August 28, you can donate online or by mail. To donate online, visit The Hero Initiative at heroinitiative.org (and be sure to type “Kirby4Heroes” in the space for “special instructions”). To donate by mail, send a check to:

Kirby4Heroes Campaign
c/o The Hero Initiative
11301 Olympic Blvd., #587
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Be sure to make out your checks to The Hero Initiative!

The Hero Initiative

For more information about Kirby4Heroes, check out the Kirby4Heroes website and Facebook page, read this detailed and informative interview with Jillian by Jim Beard at Marvel.com (part of Marvel’s “Jack Kirby Week” celebration), or watch Jillian’s video about the campaign via YouTube, courtesy of the Nerdist Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6PeXqoOjAI

Sadly, I can’t embed the video here, but click through the link and you’ll see it. Here’s a screenshot:

Kirby 4 Heroes screen shot

Also, Kirby and comic book history buffs, check out Peter Sanderson’s discussion of Jack at the This Week in Marvel podcast. Nice to hear!

Can you help lend veteran creators a helping hand? What a way to celebrate Kirby Day! And… if you’re in Los Angeles, come see Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby at CSU Northridge!

Countdown to Comic Book Apocalypse!

Orion tells it like it is, from NEW GODS #10 (Aug. 1972)

Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby opens at the CSU Northridge Main Gallery in just six days, on Monday, August 24, 2015—exactly in time for the launch of the new CSUN semester, and just days before Jack Kirby’s 98th birthday.

The CSUN Art Galleries team and I have been working like mad to ready this show: the first CSUN exhibition devoted to original comic art, the first university exhibit anywhere dedicated to Kirby, and, we believe, the US’s largest Kirby show ever. We’re also working to get the word out—across campus, in the press, and at local shops. At the same time, I’m figuring out how to make this exhibition the centerpiece of my teaching this semester.

This is a busy time. :)

Display case, Comic Book Apocalypse

Far from a final layout—this was two weeks ago!

Comic Book Apocalypse includes over 100 original artworks by Kirby, as well as scores of his published comics. It focuses on Kirby from the mid-1960s on, but gives an overview of his career (including the Simon & Kirby era) and features work from as early as 1943. Highlights include the originals for two complete Kirby comic books, plus unpublished pencils, Kirby’s 1975 painting Dream Machine, more than a dozen of his trademark double-page spreads, five collages, and walls devoted to The Fantastic Four and The Fourth World. Tablet displays provided by the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center will enable viewers to see even more art than the Gallery’s walls can hold.

Doesn't that red wall look...enticing?

Thanks to Gallery Director Jim Sweeters and his team, plus the help of a great many others, this exhibition is a dream come true. I hope you can join us for our opening reception on Saturday, August 29, from 4 to 7pm; it’s free, informal, and open to the public. Also, on Monday morning, August 31, at 10am we’ll be presenting a gallery talk with Kirby biographer Mark Evanier, and on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1pm we’ll be doing a panel discussion with Scott Bukatman, Doug Harvey, Steve Roden, and Ben Saunders. Please come!

Unfinished Boom Tube graphic on Main Gallery wall

Things are starting to happen. Again, far from final…but a hint.

PRESS ALERT: check out this article on the exhibit at CSUN Today, as well as this this teaser from the LA Weekly! And thanks to Meltdown Comics for featuring us on their homepage!

A final note: please help celebrate Jack’s 98th birthday by contributing to Kirby4Heroes!

BIG NEWS: Comic Book Apocalypse, a Jack Kirby Exhibition in Los Angeles!

Splash from Silver Surfer #18 (Sept. 1970), by Kirby & Herb Trimpe, adapted by Louis Solis

From Silver Surfer #18 (Sept. 1970), by Kirby and Herb Trimpe (RIP), adapted by Louis Solis

A major Jack Kirby exhibition in Los Angeles, curated by Charles Hatfield, the author of Hand of Fire!

California State University, Northridge Art Galleries

August 24 to October 10, 2015

Public reception:
Saturday, Aug. 29, 4-7pm

Curator talk:
Monday, Aug. 31, 10am

Panel discussion:
Saturday, Sept. 26, 1pm

ONE OF THE BIGGEST EXHIBITIONS OF KIRBY’S WORK EVER!

I’m proud to announce that the CSU Northridge Art Galleries will be presenting, this Fall semester, the exhibition Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby. This show will consist of roughly a hundred original artworks by the King, with a focus on his comics in the late 1960s and in the 70s (but also including works from the 1940s-50s and the 80s). Curating this show has been a dream come true.

Comic Book Apocalypse will highlight Jack’s penchant for superheroes, myth fantasy, and science fiction, along with his visions of the cosmic, the primitive, and the futuristic—and of course dazzling examples of “Kirbytech.” From The Fantastic Four and Thor to The Fourth World, Kamandi, 2001, and Silver Star, this show will capture some of Jack’s grandest themes and images. The exhibition will include two complete comic book stories, a great many more comic book pages and spreads, a handful of Jack’s signature collages, and a couple of images never published in his lifetime.

To celebrate this show, we at CSUN will hold three special events within the Gallery. First will be an opening reception on Saturday evening, August 29—a chance to see and chat about the show in the company of other fans! Then I’ll give a gallery talk two days later, on Monday morning, Aug. 31. Finally, we’ll hold a panel discussion with artists and scholars on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26. All these events are free and open to the public!

Comic Book Apocalypse will be the first solo Kirby exhibition at a university, and one of the largest Kirby shows yet assembled (comparable in scale to the Words & Pictures Museum show in 1994, and exceeded only by the Fumetto show in Switzerland in 2010). In fact it may be the biggest Kirby exhibition yet mounted in the US—and I hope it will inspire other shows and tributes to Jack over these next couple of years, leading up to his centennial (2017).

Curating this show has been, again, a waking dream for me, both a sequel to Hand of Fire and a plunge into a new way of working. It couldn’t have happened without the support of CSU Northridge’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, the CSUN College of Humanities, and the CSUN Art Galleries program, the help of Mark Evanier and the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center, and the generosity of many Kirby collectors.

Comic Book Apocalypse opens in time for the launch of the Fall 2015 semester at CSUN, and will be up for seven weeks. It will include a Kirby collage by Geoff (Jetpack Jr.) Grogan , and will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalog featuring some twenty essays about Jack’s work, co-edited by me and Prof. Ben Saunders of the University of Oregon. This companion book will feature a once-in-a-lifetime mix of comics creators, media professionals, and scholars! (Check back here in the weeks ahead for more details about the catalog.)

This exhibition will kick off a year of comics studies events at CSU Northridge, including a conference in Spring 2016. For a decade now, CSUN has run a very popular course on comics that I founded, and I believe now is the time to trumpet (and expand) our commitment to this vibrant, fast-growing field of study!

I can’t think of a better way of doing that than exhibiting the work of the great Jack Kirby. Readers, I hope you can come out and see the show!

NOTE:

If you’re attending Comic-Con International in San Diego this week, do come to the Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel assembled and moderated by Mark Evanier. That’s happening on Sunday morning, July 12, from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m. in Room 5AB. It’s a great tradition. I’ll be announcing Comic Book Apocalypse there! Also, drop by the booth of the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center—that’s by Lobby B1 in the main Exhibit Hall, in the Gold and Silver Pavilion (see this map). I may see you there.