§ A triumphal tweet by drummer/writer Mark Reznicek reminded me of an oddity in the career of GOAT cartoonist Jack Kirby:
This Esquire magazine from May 1967 is one of my grails. It’s been on my radar for decades and I finally acquired one. It features a 3-page story about Jack Ruby by Jack “King” Kirby!! And I didn’t realize the magazine is “treasury-sized”. Big and beautiful! Absolutely stoked
The story resurfaces every once in a while, and is reproduced in in a different size on Harry McCracken’s blog, and he offers some fine commentary:
Ruby looks like a dissipated, angry version of Kirby’s later creation, Goody Rickels. He’s a small man who thinks he’s big, and other than brooding over the president’s assassination and killing Lee Harvey Oswald, he spends most of the three pages doing things such as ordering cold cuts, placing advertising for his club, going for a swim, demonstrating something called a “Twistaboard,” and having a Coke.
If you’re reading the story in 2014 and are familiar with the comics Kirby was drawing for Marvel in 1967, his association with heroic fantasy somehow makes the details of the crime depicted in “46 Hours and 36 Minutes in the Life of Jack Ruby” even more shockingly banal, and therefore more powerful. But it must have been potent stuff in 1967, even if you didn’t know who Jack Kirby was and were not a reader of Fantastic Four.
It’s interesting to imagine what Kirby might have been thinking making this – he was probably pleased to be making comics for Esquire – considered a far classier outlet than mere comic books, for sure. But he was probably bothered by the problem he couldn’t solve: cramming all that detail into only three pages, resulting in ominous blocks of captions and dialog crowding the drawings into cramped little corners.
But note how excellent the drawings are, tiny as they are, with color knockouts to prevent confusion. (Kirby colored it himself, with inks by Chic Stone and lettering by Jon D’Agostino.)
Sidenote: In a prescient nod to current social media, this particular panel represents a head-scratching contradiction: The John Birch Society was a radically anti-Communist organization (sort of the Newsmax of its day) so collaborating with communists is downright weird. False flag operation! The footnote to the Warren Commission probably supplies the answer but I’m not going to look it up.
Anyway this comic was cool when it came out in 1967 and still cool today because Jack Kirby is always cool. Congrats to Reznicek on his find! Can’t imagine there are many copies left of this out there.
§ Abraham Riesman talks to Art Spiegelman about the latest Maus controversy, and Spiegelman offers valuable insights:
As Spiegelman sees it, the real reason for the board’s decision may be that the narrative of Maus offers no catharsis, let alone comfort, to readers. There are no saviors. No one is redeemed. The characters — Spiegelman’s family — remain the imperfect people they were to begin with. “It’s a very not-Christian book,” Spiegelman says. “Vladek didn’t become better as a result of his suffering. He just got to suffer. They want to teach the Holocaust. They just want a friendlier Holocaust to teach.”
§ HELP WANTED IN COMICS: Marvel is reinstating its intern program, according to a tweet by Annalise Bissa, and this time they are both virtual and PAID. You can find the job listing here; applicants must be “enrolled in an undergraduate program taking at least one class in the semester/quarter (spring/fall) prior to participation in the internship program.”
§ Comics e-commerce/fulfillment company White Squirrel is also hiring a Fulfillment Associate.
We are looking for people who are efficient, reliable multitaskers, are able to work independently, and are dedicated to delivering a quality product. We are offering part-time and full-time employment, to work in our warehouse as a Fulfillment Associate.
This is a non virtual job that requires living in the Seattle/Everett, WA area, and owning a vehicle.
§ Kamna Shastri and Whit Taylor collaborated on this comic about the racial aspects of albinism for NPR’s Code Switch.
§ Brian Cronin delves into a story that I had been toying with, but he got to it first (and probably did a better job): The Surprising Comic Book Origins of Marry Me. That’s right, the JLo romcom is based on a webcomic that ran 15 years ago.
First off, the fact that Marry Me is the first live action film adaptation of a WEBCOMIC is, in and of itself, interesting. It is almost surprising that it has taken this long, honestly.
Is this true? Wild.
§ Has Webtoon lived up to their pledge to ‘Actively Represent’ the Black Community? : Anime Herald investigates:
Last June, Webtoon made commitments to show their support for the reinvigorated movement. They committed to conducting internal education programming on diversity and racism for their employees, donating $100,000 to Black Lives Matter and P.S. Arts (a West coast organization that supports Black youths), and implementing an internal matching program for Webtoon employees. For their content, the publisher committed to “actively representing the Black Community” through content curation, as well as identifying organizations that could benefit from Webtoon’s expertise.
§ Fieldmouse Press has joined the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, which is cool – why shouldn’t literary comics magazings team up with literary words only magazines?
Fieldmouse Press is in alignment with the mission and goals of CLMP. As they say on their website, “Independent literary publishers make up an underserved, uniquely vulnerable, and essential field that connects the greatest diversity of writers to equally diverse communities of readers.” Through our membership with CLMP, Fieldmouse Press hopes to not only benefit from the array of resources available to members but also, perhaps more importantly, to further raise the profile and awareness of the literary value of the comics arts to the general public and other independent literary publishers.
§ Finally, also from CBR 10 Must-Read Original Graphic Novels From 2021 – and it is an attractively varied list. Go and read some!