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Crowdfunding Spotlight – British Jack Kirby Documentary Project Launches

Jack Kirby - A Personal Journey

2017 marks the centennial of US comic book artist and writer Jack Kirby‘s birth – and British comics archivist Glenn Fleming has just launched a Kickstarter to back the release of a documentary about this key creator, based on interviews he conducted some years ago.

The planned film features unique, unseen footage; a journey by one British fan to find Jack Kirby; artist and co-creator of so many iconic comic book characters.

Kirby created (or co-created) most of the iconic characters we continue to see in comics and on film today; Captain America, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury, X-Men, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, the Mighty Thor, New Gods, Mister Miracle, Doctor Doom and many, many more.

Jack Kirby and Glenn Fleming, 1988

Jack Kirby and Glenn Fleming, 1988

Regular downthetubes readers will know Glenn as and artist and writer whose credits include the British comics magazine Crikey! and non-fiction work such as The Two Faces of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Almost thirty years ago, following a chance encounter, Glenn found himself in California, sitting at the King of Comics dinner table, in total awe and almost total silence.

“Jack and his lovely wife, Roz, invited me into their home, fed me, catered to me and generally took care of me for those precious few hours,” he recalls. “I felt like family. I felt at home. They were open and warm, friendly and generous, not only with their hospitality and time, but with their answers to my many, many questions.

“Jack and Roz even allowed me to open packages of recently returned artwork, some of which had not seen the light of day for over 25 years. I held several ‘classic’ pages of New Gods and the Fantastic Four (amongst others) in my bare hands. Moments I will cherish and remember forever.

“Three years later, I returned to the Kirby home and was able to record part of that meeting,” he continues. “This film has never before been seen in its entirety and serves as an historical document, showing Jack Kirby in his own home, in his own studio, talking about his own life, in his own words.”

Roz and Jack Kirby

Roz and Jack Kirby

“This footage is unique,” he emphasises. “My only regret is that I cannot return and have further conversations with this genius, if only to record more of his stories and experiences. Still, I have my memories of those hours and I’d like to share all I can with as many people as possible through this film.

The Kickstarter seeks to bring the film to a wider audience and is a standalone offer with no rewards other than seeing the footage – which, given the content, should be reward enough, many would argue – including comic artist and publisher Tim Perkins, whose tribute to “The King” features on downthetubes.

“I have loved the work of Jack Kirby for as long as I can remember reading American comic books,” says Tim. “His work is the very reason I wanted to become a comic creator in the first place. I have always read and I have always drawn, but Jack Kirby’s incredibly epic vistas and dynamic storytelling were the original catalyst to propel me on my way to do so.

“You always hope that when you meet your heroes they hold up to your dream of them; I never got to meet Jack Kirby himself, but this film successfully shows you not just the man behind the creation of thousands of pages of comics, but indeed the man himself. It gives us a glimpse of his life, his home and his humour; away from the crowds, away from something created with comics, away from the pressures of a deadline. We see this glimpse of the private life of Jack Kirby. Through this film, I feel I have managed to get a little closer to the man that gave me the idea, through his work, to forge a career of my own in comics.

“Glenn Fleming, the man behind this film, is a very lucky man in my eyes. Glenn actually did get to meet Kirby (twice) and he is also a very generous man for sharing this event, especially this year as we celebrate Jack Kirby’s centenary.

“What better way to celebrate this epic moment than to own a little something personal about the King; not just words written about him – but words, personal words, spoken by the powerhouse of a creative man himself – Jack ‘King’ Kirby.

Get your Keyboards Krackling and check out Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey here on Kickstarter

Read Tim Perkins’ tribute to “The King” here on downthetubes

Photos: Glenn Fleming

About John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative" who is currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 25 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary, including DEATH'S HEAD II and WARHEADS. At Marvel he wrote strips for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, THUNDERCATS, DOCTOR WHO and co-created SHADOW RIDERS with Brian Williamson and Ross Dearsley. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. He has written comics for Marvel UK, Judge Dredd Megazine, Lucky Bag Comic, CGL (an Italian publisher), STRIP Magazine and ROK Comics; and edited some of Titan's British comics collections including Dan Dare and Charley's War. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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