Tuesday, August 30, 2016

78 YEARS AGO TODAY

Jack Kirby's first published comic book work was available in the stores.
Besides working for Lincoln Features in 1938, Kirby was also employed by Jerry Iger and Will Eisner's syndicate. His first assignments were Count of Monte Cristo (4 episodes or 8 episodes - its a disputed point between historians), Diary of Dr.Hayward (12 episodes) and Wilton of the West (12 episodes).
Fiction House Publishing contracted Iger and Eisner's syndicate to supply material for JUMBO COMICS. They provided them with Kirby's Diary and Wilton, which Fiction House used in the first three issues of that title. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

80 YEARS AGO TODAY

Jack Kirby had been working as a staff artist for Lincoln Features Syndicate for three months, a job he would keep for two years. He created real facts strips (Your Health Comes First and Facts You Never Knew), humorous strips (Socko the Seadog and Abdyl Jones), adventure strips (Black Buccaneer and Cyclone Burke) and editorial cartoons. These strips were done in different styles and signed with different aliases.The enigmatic Lincoln Features, which was run by Horace T. Elmo, is a syndicate that sold features to weekly papers. Elmo never was able to sell a lot of his product. Lincoln was a mix of slapdash and brilliant work. The syndicate's main claim to fame is that Jack Kirby got his start there. Kirby didn't discuss the syndicate in any depth in later years, so we don't know much about it. Some Lincoln material is so rare that it has yet to be found actually appearing in a newspaper (Kirby's Abdul Jones, for instance, so far exists only in the form of a run of proofs that Kirby held onto) - source http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2011/05/obscurity-of-day-detective-riley.html

Strippersguide.blogspot.com explains that when you DO find a Lincoln strip in a Weekly it usually only runs for only 4-6 episodes which means that the syndicate sent the newspaper some samples, which the Weekly would then use without any intention of picking up the service on a paying basis.

This example of Kirby's early strip work appears in Mark Evanier's KIRBY KING OF COMICS and Greg Theakston's JACK KIRBY TREASURY.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

99 YEARS AGO TODAY JACOB KURTZBERG WAS BORN

Twenty years later he had mastered cartooning sufficiently enough to be hired by a syndicate to draw a daily cowboy strip called The Lone Rider.

By his 24th birthday Kurtzberg had changed his name to Jack Kirby and was working in the embryonic comic book industry. Kirby already had nearly 1000 published story pages to his credit and 18 covers.

By his 30th birthday Kirby had contributed nearly 3,000 pages of story art and 150 covers to the comic book zeitgeist.

By the time Kirby was 35 he had produced more than 5,000 interior pages and 250 covers. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

83 YEARS AGO TODAY

You could get Kirby art for a penny. Founded in 1932, The Boys Brotherhood Republic was Mayor LaGuardia's solution to New York City's juvenile delinquency problem. Kirby had been a member for less than a year when he assisted in starting the club's newsletter. The  mimeographed newsletter sold for a penny. Kirby, who had not yet changed his name from Kurtzberg, did his first comic strip for the weekly newsletter.


The Boys Brotherhood Republic still exists. It was renamed the Boys and Girls Republic in 1998.

Friday, August 26, 2016

77 YEARS AGO TODAY

FAMOUS FUNNIES #61, the fourth comic book to contain Kirby art, was on sale. It had two and a half pages of ads, including  a Kirby's full-pager for the Lone Rider feature that would begin in the next issue. This made Kirby's page count for his first year in the industry twenty-four and a half pages.

Slightly more than a year earlier Kirby had been hired by Associated Features Syndicate to produce his first daily strip. It was a knockoff of the Lone Ranger, a character that had at that point been on the radio for four years and star of his own monthly pulp magazine for half a year. The Lone Ranger comic strip appeared in newspapers from September 1938 to December 1971. Kirby's Lone Rider strip appeared from January 1939 until February 1939. Thirty-two of those strips were colored and a reprinted four to a page, two pages an issue in FAMOUS FUNNIES #62, 63, 64 and 65.