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:

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:

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

Talking Kirby at Rose City!


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


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.

The Apocalypse Goes On


Kirby at work, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sept. 1972. Photo by and (c) David Folkman.

Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby has been open for about two weeks, and has five weeks left—until October 10. The response has been…wow. Fantastic. Overwhelming!

More than 100 people came to the exhibition during its first couple of hours (on Monday afternoon, Aug. 24). Attendance has run high since, with CSUN students, artists, comics fans, and folks from the larger community visiting each day. The grand opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 29, brought in hundreds of people, a nearly standing-room-only crowd in fact. Several people I talked to that night said they were going to come back to explore the exhibition another day, when they could get a closer, more leisurely look at the art! Two days later, on Monday the 31st, Mark Evanier’s gallery talk, hosted by the Arts Council for CSUN, drew a sizable crowd, including Arts Council members, CSUN students, and fans. I can’t count how many people told me afterward that they loved the talk.

We’ll get some photos up here ASAP!

Many thanks to my family for being part of the celebration and giving their energy and time to the cause! Thanks also to Rand Hoppe and Tom Kraft of the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center for giving so much to the exhibition and doing so much to document it (expect photos and video from them soon). Thank you to Mark for giving that wonderful talk and posting news to his blog! As always, thanks to my CSUN colleagues and supporters, and to the CSUN Art Galleries team, particularly Gallery Director and exhibition co-designer Jim Sweeters.

CBA final cover

NEWS: Panel discussion and catalog signing, Sept. 26

On Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1:00 p.m., we’ll be holding a panel in the midst of the exhibition, featuring cultural theorist Scott Bukatman of Stanford, artist, critic, and curator Doug Harvey, artist Steve Roden, and my colleague from the U of Oregon, Ben Saunders, co-editor of our catalog. On that day we’ll also be premiering the catalog, and other catalog contributors will be on hand to sign copies! Our long-deferred catalog has already drawn a lot of interest and orders, and will be available at the Gallery Store (right next to the exhibition) by the 26th. Co-published by CSUN and IDW, with design by Randy Dahlk (who has designed many IDW Artists’ Editions), this catalog is not only a memento of the exhibition but also a collection of twenty essays and 100-plus images, many reproduced at full-page or double-page size. It’s going to be a monster, in the best sense! Please come—once again this event is free and open to the public!

Chris Wilson covers Comic Book Apocalypse

Chris Wilson covers the Apocalypse

Press Update

There’s been a lot of press for Comic Book Apocalypse. Besides the many features and previews I’ve noted before, Steven Brower has done a cool heads-up at Print, the CSUN Sundial has run a nice article and follow-up review, various comics news sites, including Den of Geek, CBR and io9, have run articles, and individual bloggers such as Bob Bretall (Comics Spectrum), Alex Chung, Geoff Grogan, have shared photos, news, and reflections. Nancy Ewart’s article for the Examiner seems to have generated a great deal of interest and brought people in. Also, this video walk-through of the opening reception on YouTube (courtesy of ytshawzam) gives a sense of the crowd and energy level that night, and Chris Wilson of the CSUN Journalism program prepared a snazzy piece for Valley View News that ran a few days ago and can now be viewed on YouTube. We hope for and expect more coverage, both journalistic and critical, in the weeks ahead.