A Letter from Jack and Roz Kirby
It’s Jack Kirby’s birthday. The entire comics industry remembers him with great fondness and respect on this and every day.
I hope it’s not out of line to post this lovely letter I got from Jack and Roz Kirby. It’s so sweet and kind, and there’s a nice story behind it.
Years ago, I worked on many Marvel Comics as a fill-in artist. Looking back, I realize how generous both Marvel and DC Comics were to me. My work was often rough, and the hazard of the fill-in artist gig is that you are often brought in to pinch hit in tight circumstances and can rarely do your best work. I drew some pretty rough jobs.
Now, here I am working on Gone to Amerikay, the best work I’ve ever done. I have the luxury of good page rates and long deadlines. I’m in the final stretch, inking the last batch of a couple dozen or so. This story of Irish immigration is a lifelong dream of mine to bring Irish stories to comics.
But…I forgot that way back in 1993, Marvel had me do the art for Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #3, featuring Ireland’s superheroes Shamrock and Cuchulain! My very good friend Jim Valentino was Guardians of the Galaxy artist for years, and we like to swap stories about it now and again. So, I guess I’ve done an “Irish” comic after all. I’ve never worked on Guardians before or since, so I wonder if I was hired for my Irish cred. (Cover drawing by Kevin West after Barry Windsor Smith).
Anyway, in the story, one of the characters, Major Victory, is a great admirer of Captain America. Major has a shrine built to house Cap’s shield.
My agent Spencer Beck saw this and liked it. He was a good friend of Jack Kirby, and thought it would make a nice gift for Jack. So this original and another piece (can’t recall what,) were bundled off to The King.
Then, I received this kind letter from Jack and Roz, for which I was deeply grateful.
My work is really quite rough on this issue, so to get such a gracious letter in response to my very humble offering was incredibly generous of them.
Hand written letters are always so special. Those of you who have ordered original art from me know that I go out of my way to hand write a note to every customer and to have special stationary made for them. I never forgot how it felt to get a lovely letter from a favorite artist, so I like to do the same for my readers.
I only met Jack Kirby the one time, but it was such a great moment!
I hope you enjoyed this small remembrance of a big man, Jack Kirby. And how a big man took the time to take a moment for a very small artist.
Thank you for everything, Jack and Roz Kirby.
And it’s back to work for me. Still auctioning off many goodies on ebay, including unpublished Sandman, Wonder Woman, and Legion of Superheroes prelims, with more coming over the next week. Please check back often.
Have a great week!