Category Archives: Events

Just Draw! Mark Badger Brings Kirby Studies and More to SVCC  

Going to the Silicon Valley Comic Con this weekend? Look out for Kirby stuff, Kirby studies, and ace cartoonist Mark Badger!


Tomorrow through Sunday, March 18-20, Mark, wearer of many hats–artist, teacher, Comic Book Apocalypse essayist, and Kirby expert among them–will be appearing at the inaugural SVCC at the San Jose Convention Center, where he’ll be doing a lot of great things:

  • Manning a booth on behalf of the Kirby Museum (that would be booth AA2 H) in collaboration with underground comix artist Bruce Simon. They’ll be selling the Four Faces of Evil poster for the Museum, plus Museum T-shirts and sundries, plus examples of their own work–and copies of our Comic Book Apocalypse catalog, as a Museum fundraiser!
  • Co-presenting, with Bruce Simon and puppeteer, writer, and longtime Kirby associate Steve Sherman, the Kirby panel A Graphic Apocalypse, on Sunday at 2:00pm. (You can consult the SVCC schedule here.)
  • Presenting his own interactive workshop, Just Draw, a session on “drawing, mindfulness, comics, and storytelling,” on Friday night from 8 to 9pm. This is based on Mark’s new publication, Just Draw, which he describes as a manual for “stressed out” artists who want to stop worrying and “get their work done.”

Did I mention Mark’s own work? How about his amazing, multipart Abstract Kirby project? How about his now complete Kirby-inspired opus, William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, collected for the first time anywhere, just in time for SVCC? Great stuff.



If you don’t know Mark’s comics, you’re missing out on some wonderful cartooning. I learned to recognize his work back in 1988, when his pencils, inks, and colors on a Martian Manhunter miniseries (scripted by J.M. DeMatteis) hipped me to his distinctive style: swooping, slashing, and bold, abstracted into modernistic pattern and pure vectors of force, taking lessons from Kirby and Picasso alike and wreaking havoc with superhero conventions. I followed him to later projects such as Batman: Run, Riddler, Run (1992, scripted by Gerard Jones) and Animal Rights Comics (1996, scripted by Joyce Brabner). His resume since then has been strange and awesome.

Mark is not only a terrific comics artist, but also a teacher and activist. His current projects, such as Just Draw, pull these threads together. His “Daily Kirby” exercises (a 3-year-long series of devotional studies to the King) have to be seen to be believed. Read more about Mark’s career here, and if you’re going to SVCC, look up Mark and tell him I said hello and thanks! Mark’s been one of the voices reminding me of just how important it is to keep up the dialogue between critics and artists–and his own recent work amounts to an amazing creative and critical encounter with Kirby’s work.

Kirby Panel Discussion This Saturday, Sept. 26, plus other news

Norton of New York, from 2001: A Space Odyssey #5

This is a busy time for comics and Kirby studies here at my school, CSU Northridge!

Last night I joined Prof. Jon Stahl, Chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, for an on-stage conversation with Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television and longtime screenwriter, producer, and comic book writer. This lively, well-attended event kicked off the annual Commerce of Creativity series at CSUN.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1:00 p.m., I join panelists Scott Bukatman, Doug Harvey, Adam McGovern, Andrei Molotiu, Steve Roden, and Ben Saunders for an intense discussion of the art of Jack Kirby, tied to the Comic Book Apocalypse exhibition. We’ll talk at the Noski Auditorium, right across the street from the Gallery, then troop over to the Gallery afterward to visit (or revisit) the exhibition itself! Many catalog contributors will be on hand for this, the last big public event tied to the show. Hope you can make it! More information is available at the brand-new Comics@CSUN website, here:

http://www.csun.edu/humanities/comics/events/panel-discussion-comic-book-apocalypse-graphic-world-jack-kirby

Finally, this coming Monday, Sept. 28, Comics@CSUN launches its Comics on Screen film series with a screening and discussion of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s generation-defining graphic novel series. More details here:

http://www.csun.edu/humanities/comics/events/scott-pilgrim-vs-world-launches-comics-screen-film-series

All of these events are FREE and open to the public. Again, hope you can join us!

Talking Kirby at Rose City!

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I’m delighted to announce that tomorrow, Sept. 19, I’ll be talking Kirby at the Rose City Comic Con! That means I’ll be joining the thousands thronging at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland this weekend.

Thanks to my friend and colleague (and Comic Book Apocalypse catalog co-editor) Ben Saunders, of the University of Oregon, I’ll be taking part in a jam-packed panel on Kirby, as follows:

Jack Kirby’s Greatest Comics: An All-Star Tribute to The King

Room: Panel Room 7
Time: 3:00PM – 3:50PM

Captain America. The Fantastic Four. The Incredible Hulk. The Mighty Thor. The Avengers. The Silver Surfer. The Inhumans. Mr. Miracle. The New Gods. The Eternals. All these iconic creations and titles — and many more besides — were first brought to life on the comic book page by Jack Kirby. But although he is without doubt one of the greatest American comic book artists in the history of the medium, the full range of Kirby’s achievement is less than fully understood by many fans today. In a forty-year career, he drew every genre of comics — Romance, Western, War, Horror, and Crime titles as well as superheroes — and his powerful, kinetic style would pass through three distinct phases, from the 1940s through the Silver Age and into the 1970s. Join a panel of creators and academic experts for a gallop through some career highlights from this master of the form, and find out why Kirby is still the King!

Among the stars gathered for this panel (besides moderator Ben) are Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, Glen David Gold, Joe Keatinge, Gary Phillips, and Diana Schutz—good company! (Ben, Glen, Diana, and I all contributed essays to the soon-to-be-released CBA catalog.)

Rose Citygoers, I hope you can make it! Talking Kirby with a room full of smart and creative people is my favorite kind of gig.

Apocalypse in the Media!

Splash from Silver Surfer #18 (Kirby/Trimpe), adapted by Louis Solis

Reminder: Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby runs until Saturday, Oct. 10, at the CSU Northridge Art Galleries! Come see if you can!

NEWS! The show has been getting some terrific coverage. On Sept. 1, Tom Kraft and Rand Hoppe of the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center filmed a video walk-through of the exhibition with me: a half-hour curator’s talk, or ramble, through the Gallery. You can see this walk-through at the Museum’s online journal, The Kirby Effect, right here. Thanks, Tom and Rand! This is the best way to experience the show if you cannot visit in person.

Also, back on Aug. 25, Gabriel Valentin and Dan Brozo of the Digital Lizards of Doom webcast (sponsored by Meltdown Comics) interviewed me in the Gallery. Watch it right here, or via Meltdown’s site. Our conversation starts about six minutes into the webcast and lasts about an hour. Thanks for a great experience, Gabriel and Dan!

AND: This past Monday, Sept. 7, Labor Day, Ted Coe of radio station KCSB at UC Santa Barbara (91.9 FM, kcsb,org) interviewed me about Kirby and the exhibit for a marvelous edition of his show The Freak Power Ticket. An edited podcast of that live interview is now available for streaming or download through the KCSB website, right here. Our conversation starts about 11 minutes in, and goes for about an hour and a half. Ted, thanks for a delightful talk, and for the chance to reconnect with my alma mater, UCSB!

Finally, thanks to Artillery magazine for the nice shout-out.:)

Come to our panel discussion on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1pm! It’s going to be a doozy. Details TBA!

Labor Day Apocalypse

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Tomorrow, Labor Day, I’ll be on the radio, talking about Jack Kirby and Comic Book Apocalypse. Specifically, I’ll be on UC Santa Barbara’s station, KCSB, doing an interview on Ted Coe’s show, The Freak Power Ticket, between 11:00am and 1:00pm PCT. I can’t wait!

The Freak Power Ticket is an wide-ranging and phantasmagorical show described by producer/host Ted as a “wondrous boatride” among rock’n’roll and other music, movies, pop culture, counterculture, and various esoteric but vital forms of art and expression. Ted interweaves interviews and tributes with eclectic music and audio tidbits from movies and obscure recordings. Most episodes are curated around particular themes or guests. Tomorrow the theme is Kirby!

All this takes me back a bit. Years ago—say about thirty—I myself went to UC Santa Barbara, and got my BA in English there. Heady days. I lived for a couple of years in Isla Vista, that curious unincorporated community attached to the UCSB campus, and fell in with a loose circle of esoteric music buffs, comics fans, nerds, neopagans, creatives, and Ren Faire anachronists—my peeps. One of the things I most enjoyed doing in those days was tagging along when my friend Dio Sanchez (RIP) did his late-night prog rock radio show, Willow Farm, on the campus station, KCSB. I too got an FCC license, and did some subbing for Dio. I also ran, briefly, my own wannabe prog show on the station’s closed-circuit AM feed (which only reached the dorms). Naturally I spent a good deal of time listening to other KCSB programs, including a late-night ambient show called Sonic Gallery and Pat Cardenas’s wonderful folk show The Black Nag, which is still going strong after all these years. I can’t claim to know much about KCSB or the station’s history, but I’ll always fondly remember my brief time there.

So I’m delighted to be joining Ted Coe (Ted C.) tomorrow for a show that is clearly a labor of love. We’ll talk about Kirby, comic book labor, and art, Kirby’s relationship to the Marvel Universe, and of course the exhibition. Ted has a cornucopia of music and sound bites prepared, all of it related to Kirby or comic books. That’s The Freak Power Ticket, from 11:00am and 1:00pm Pacific Time, tomorrow. I hope you can tune in—and support independent radio!

Here’s KCSB’s official announcement about tomorrow’s show.