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
Saturday, Aug. 29, 4-7pm
Monday, Aug. 31, 10am
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!
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.