Crowdfunding Spotlight: The Unseen Jack Katz

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman artist Liam Sharp has launched a Kickstarter for The Unseen Jack Katz – a collection of previously unseen and unpublished work from the legendary artist, with exclusive new inks by today’s comics heroes.

Jack Katz is 93 years old, one of the true masters of the comic industry, with a career spanning a staggering eight decades, who started working during the period historians have come to call the Golden Age of Comic Books.

Born 1927 in Brooklyn, he began working for comic book publishers in the 1940s. He was a student and friend of such illustrative giants as Hal Foster and Alex Raymond, and attended the School of Industrial Art in New York.

Jack photographed by Lorcan McSharp in his home studio in 2020
Jack photographed by Lorcan McSharp in his home studio in 2020

Importantly, he pioneered creator-owned independent comics with a view to “elevating the medium” in the early 1970s, creating the towering epic The First Kingdom, published by first Robert Beerbohm and later Budd Plant – and more recently by Titan Comics.

“It is considered by some to be the proto – or first ever – graphic novel,,” Liam notes, “and the art is just sublime. A winner of the Ink Pot Award, Jack is never-the-less criminally over-looked these days, and much of his work has never been seen or published. We set about changing that, inviting some of today’s greats to ink a page of Jack’s for a new book celebrating his life, his legacy, and showcasing some astonishing lost masterworks.

The Unseen Jack Katz, well on its way to reaching its funding target, will be produced as a collaboration between Big Wow Publishing and Liam Sharp (co-founder of Madefire/Mam Tor Publishing, on behalf of Jack Katz. 

The opening page of "Second Chance" by Jack Katz, a six page romance story produced for DC in the 1960s
The opening page of “Second Chance” by Jack Katz, a six page romance story produced for DC in the 1960s
The opening page of "Haunted Painting" - a six page horror story produced for DC comics in the 1960s. Art by Jack Katz
The opening page of “Haunted Painting” – a six page horror story produced for DC comics in the 1960s. Art by Jack Katz

The book presents, for the first time ever, a selection of complete, previously unseen and unpublished stories, alongside pencil pages from some unfinished epics sampled from legendary artist Jack Katz’s huge archive.

These will be presented in high resolution pencil art form, just as they are, but also newly inked and lettered, especially for this unique collection, by artists Sandra Hope, Liam Sharp and Mike Perkins.

The opening page of "The Imaginator" by Jack Katz, with guest inks by Mike Perkins
The opening page of “The Imaginator” by Jack Katz, with guest inks by Mike Perkins

In addition, a central unpublished 22 page story Artemis Rises will be inked by some of today’s comic legends, including Bryan Hitch, Joe PradoMichael Cho, Andy Curry, Bill Reinhold and many more.

  • A snapshot of Bryan Hitch's progress inking Jack Katz's cover to the unpublished story "Artemis Rising".
  • Page 7 of "Artemis Rises" by Jack Katz, with guest inks by Michael Cho
  • Page 8 of "Artemis Rises" by Jack Katz, with guest inks by Liam Sharp

The book will also feature an exclusive, in-depth interview with Jack by Ted Jalbert.

Definitely one for all comic lovers, artists, writers, and historians of the medium. The book is 95% complete, with only a few inked pages outstanding, and the team have built in extra time for printing, but anticipate no insurmountable challenges.

The good news for those of us often sent reeling from the cost of postage from the US is that this has been set at $20 fee, based on typical costs for products of this weight and size. (The cost will be $5 for US backers). That’s not much on top for a hard copy of this unique Art Book, which will cost you $35.

“Let’s get Jack the industry recognition his talent deserves,” Liam asks.

We’ll second that!

Check out The Unseen Jack Katz here on Kickstarter

Check out the collected The First Kingdom from Titan on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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