Paul Gravett writes about the Jack Kirby exhibit currently underway in Lucerne, Switzerland.

You might wonder why the first city to stage a major fine art retrospective on the whole career of Jack Kirby is Lucerne in Switzerland. Since Kirby died in 1994, there have been several modest exhibits, including a small display I curated in 1994 at the Cartoon Art Trust in London, as well as the Masters of Comic Art show which began in Los Angeles and included Kirby as one of the fifteen creators spotlighted. But it has taken Lucerne to give over an entire three-storey building to the King of Comics.

Of course the idea of an exhibit of Jack Kirby art is enticing enough; but it includes such personal effects as copies of his letters home to wife Roz from the front in WWII: 201005031252.jpg

Dear Hunya, I’m off again. Somehow, I get a great comfort in writing to you. There are times when the distance between us make itself felt – so I just dash me off another letter to you to dispel said feeling. Thought I’d add a cartoon this time to give it a twist. Got me another box of cigars to last me when we get to “X”. – ditto a box of Hersheys. Was father confessor to a harried medic who had to get some bitching off his chest. Left him enlightened, somewhat calmer but his problem like some problems was laid in the lap of time which is the only other substitute for John J. Anthony. However, my problem is returning to you – which, with a little effort and luck, I can accomplish. Love you, Jackson.

Hopefully some American institution will see fit to honor a native son with an exhibit as fitting.


  1. Perhaps one reason there haven’t been many exhibits is that some of Kirby’s artwork is owned by collectors. The Kirby Museum notes that collectors Tom Morehouse, Tom Kraft, and Jonathan Ross loaned artwork to the Lucerne eshibit.


  2. Coming your way Friday May 28 at 10PM http://www.cerebus.tv
    Episode 27 “The One-Hour Jack Kirby Special” Part two of Jim Steranko and Dave Sim’s “Dialogue On Comic Art”. Dave Sim discusses his personal favorite Jack Kirby work, the unpublished adaptation of The Prisoner television show, and Jim Steranko describes at length what he considers to be a Jack Kirby high water mark. He also describes his personal experiences with Jaack Kirby…including what it was like to actually watch him draw. It was just too darned big to keep confined to the half-hour CEREBUS TV time slot.

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