Category Archives: Talks

CSUN Celebrates Kirby’s 100th

IMG_6628.JPG

Kirby lives.

This coming Monday, August 28, is Jack Kirby’s birthday—I call that Kirby Day. What’s more, this particular August the 28th would have been Kirby’s 100th birthday, his centenary. To think of what Kirby lived through, from his boyhood on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, to his passing in 1994, fills me with awe, and his work continues to fill me with a sort of tongue-tied gratitude for its never-ending richness. I try to observe Kirby Day on this blog every year, but on this 100th anniversary it seems especially urgent.

Monday the 28th also happens to be the first weekday of the new (Fall 2017) semester at my school, California State University, Northridge. That these two events—one the centennial of an artist vital to comics, visual culture, and my own life, and the other the perhaps-routine but still always exciting start of a new school term—should coincide seems a bit crazy, but too wonderful an opportunity to pass up. So CSUN, and particularly the Comics@CSUN initiative that I head, will be commemorating Kirby’s 100th in two ways:

IMG_6591

First, I have curated an exhibit of Kirby works from the 1940s to the 1980s, called Jack Kirby @ 100. This exhibit consists mainly of comic books, photographs, and art prints, and will be up in the Oviatt Library’s Music & Media wing from August 25 (that was today) through October 1. From The Boy Commandos  and Young Love to Captain Victory and The Hunger Dogs, this show gives a small but vivid window onto Kirby’s comic book career.

Second, this Monday the 28th—Kirby Day, the centennial edition!—I will be moderating a panel discussion with two great, Kirby-inspired comics creators who have taken Kirby’s influence in their own unexpected and original directions: Mark Badger and Tony Puryear. The panel will take place in the Oviatt Library’s Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and will be followed by a visit to the exhibit (upstairs).

Both the exhibit and the panel discussion are FREE and open to the public—readers, please feel free to drop in! For more info, see the Comics@CSUN Events page, or just visit the CSUN homepage. And please help spread the word via social media, with the hashtags #KirbyAt100 and #ComicsAtCSUN. Thanks!

It’s been a challenge to do these things while also preparing new courses for a new semester—but there’s no way I could let this centennial pass without officially observing it at CSUN! Thanks to the University and all my colleagues and sponsors who helped make this happen, and to the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center for their unstinting support! (Check out the Museum’s own schedule of Kirby centennial events this weekend, at its popup museum in NYC’s One Art Space.)

E231D173-1A95-4CC3-AC98-2F667249ED4F-228-0000000E9F4271ED.jpeg

PS. Don’t forget to support Jillian Kirby’s annual charity drive, Kirby 4 Heroes, which raises funds for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit that supports veteran comics creators in need! Each year the drive has been raising more and more money—let’s make Kirby’s centenary a record-breaking year! This is a project Jack Kirby would have been behind 100 percent.

Kirby lives.

Advertisements

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!

image

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.

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!

DENVER CON THIS WEEKEND!

Denver Comic Con logo

NEWS! This weekend, from Friday through Sunday, June 13-15, I (Charles Hatfield) will be attending Denver Comic Con, now in its third year and already one of the largest comic cons in North America.

In particular, I’ll be a special guest at ROMOCOCO, the Rocky Mountain Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, where I’ll be giving a plenary talk on Friday from 4:30 to 6:00 pm and taking part in a professional development workshop designed for graduate students on Saturday from 12:50 to 2:20pm. I’ll be in the company of such comics scholars as Chris Angel, RC Harvey, Jason Tondro, Jim Vacca, Rob Weiner, and Dan Yezbick, and my fellow keynote speakers Barbara Postema, Bart Beaty, and ROMOCOCO organizer William Kuskin.

I attended ROMOCOCO and DCC during their inaugural year, 2012, and I’ve been eager to get back there since! Glad to be making it this year.

Thanks to DCC, its sponsoring organization Comic Book Classroom, convention director Chris Angel and her team, and especially William Kuskin for making this visit possible!

ROMOCOCO logo