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The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center denies the allegation it stole more than 3,000 photocopies of the legendary artist’s pencil work, insisting they were donated by illustrator Greg Theakston, not loaned.
“After examining the evidence of the interaction between the two parties, we are confident the Museum has done no wrong,” the organization’s board of trustees said in a statement posted Monday.
A pop-culture historian and a friend of Jack and Roz Kirby, Theakston announced last week that he intended to file a stolen-goods report against the museum regarding the Xerox archives given to him by the Kirbys. Theakston, maintains he allowed museum trustee Randy Hoppe to borrow those copies with the understanding that “I would want them back someday.”
We’ve written about the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center project a few times before, most recently a week ago when we mentioned it was finally opening a physical presence, in the form of a pop-up in the artist’s native Lower East Side Manhattan called “Prototype: Alpha.” That name strikes me in itself as being a particularly Kirby-esque flourish.
The location opened Monday, and the last few days we finally saw tantalizing glimpses of what to expect on the museum’s walls leaking out via social media (via the museum’s Facebook page and the What if Kirby Twitter account). Here are three behind-the-scenes shots of work being installed into the Delancey Street space:
The second annual Locust Moon Comics Festival will be held in Philadelphia, with a larger space than last year’s showand more than double the number of creators. Hosted by Locust Moon Comics, the donation-based event offers no advance tickets; children 13 and under get in free. A portion of all donations will go toward helping the Jack Kirby Museum create a physical location.
Held at The Rotunda in West Philadelphia (4014 Walnut St.), the festival will include workshops and panels with an emphasis on independent and creator-owned comics. Local creators will off course be present, and Philadelphia residents like J.G. Jones (Final Crisis), Robert Woods (36 Lessons in Self-Destruction), James Comey (Donkey Punch) and Box Brown (Everything Dies) are all scheduled to attend. The event also includes guests from outside the city, though, so attendees can expect to see creators like Jim Steranko (Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War), Chrissie Zullo (Cinderella), Todd Klein (Fables), Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma), Tom Scioli (Gødland), Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle), Jay Lynch (Garbage Pail Kids), Kim Deitch (The Boulevard of Broken Dreams) and Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats).
Some of the artists are offering festival-exclusive prints (like the Robert Woods poster accompanying this post), and Woods is also debuting his new book, 36 Lessons in Self-Destruction, the complete collection of his Depressed Punx minicomics.
Locust Moon also offers a far better standard of convention food with local vendors like Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Tacos Don Memo, Kung Fu Hoagies and Lovers & Madmen Coffee Lounge. While the festival itself takes place on Saturday, events and festivities at Locust Moon Comics will spill across the weekend, including a 36 Lessons release party and a post-festival pancake breakfast. See the festival’s website for more details.
After his recent gif animation of the classic cover to Fantastic Four #51, Robot 6 favorite Kerry Callen was challenged by the Jack Kirby Museum‘s Richard Bensam to try his hand at animating some of The King’s signature tech. See the eye-popping results below.
“I think Marvel Comics should pay for the Jack Kirby Museum. They should fund the thing in its entirety, right now – and not a temporary, pop-up (which would still be awesome), but a permanent, brick and mortar space. what is that – 10, 20 million bucks to do it right? that’s a drop in the bucket. and all profit from the museum in perpetuity could go to the Kirby estate.”
— Sammy the Mouse creator Zak Sally, offering an intriguing suggestion on what Marvel could do to pay its considerable debt to Jack Kirby. Sally goes on to say: “I actually believe that, framed in a less rant-fueled, angry setting, a campaign to get Marvel (and Kirby did no small amount of work/ creation for DC, either) to pony up for the museum is a pretty damn good idea, and I would urge saner, more reasonable minds who agree with this idea to put it forth in whatever way they deem fit.” I actually think this is a pretty good idea, too. Donating a considerable sum or outright paying for the museum would go a long way towards generating considerable goodwill and acknowledge Kirby’s considerable contribution to the company without having to outright pay the family or (I suspect) suggest any possibility of Kirby’s estate having a legitimate claim to the characters’ copyright.
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
Earlier this week we spotlighted Jon Morris’ call for comics fans who’ll file into theaters this weekend to watch Marvel’s The Avengers to match their ticket price with a donation to The Hero Initiative as a “thank you” to the people who created those characters in the first place.
It’s a fantastic suggestion, of course, which led me to think of a few other options for showing some financial appreciation. Think of it as the comics version of trickle-down economics, or something:
A Buck For Jack: Launched last year by cartoonist Nat Gertler, this campaign encourages fans to donate $1 for each of the movies they’ve watched that features characters co-created by Jack Kirby. “If we could get just 1% of the people who see a Kirby-inspired movie to throw in that buck — and yes, 1%, as small as that sounds, would be a huge and unlikely success, I admit — that would be hundreds of thousands of dollars per movie going to the Kirby legacy,” he writes. The money collected through the Buck For Jack website goes to the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center, although Gertler notes that, “if I ever find a way to give it to the Jack Kirby heirs instead, I will start directing the money there.”
The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center: If you’d prefer, you can donate directly to the Jack Kirby Museum. Established in 2005, it still only exists online, but the trustees are working to change that. The organization, whose mission is “to promote and encourage the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of Jack Kirby,” has established a Brick & Mortar Fund in hopes of finding a temporary “pop-up” location for the museum in New York City, preferably near the Lower East Side neighborhood where Kirby grew up, with an eye toward of a permanent home.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Familiar to creators, retailers and fans alike, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is dedicated to the protection of First Amendment rights of the comics art form and community. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, advice and representation, and frequently joins in opposition against legislation that poses a threat to free speech.