Sunday, June 5, 2011

Autobiography Pt. 47

A lot of our readers are curious about the pencil Xeroxes Jack kept, and what there is in the files.
GREG: For the most part, the files begin right where Royer's work picks up, we begin getting Xeroxed material of Kirby's work. Jack's son worked for a copy machine company, and managed to snag one for his old man. So when Jack was penciling stuff from that point forward, they would make copies of it and file it. From that point forward, virtually all of Kirby’s pencils exists in copies. There's a variety of quality; some of the Xeroxes are very light and almost worthless. Some of them are almost as good as real pencil art. This material was stashed all over the Kirby property; some was in boxes in the garage. The early Marvel stuff had been packed away, and the cats had found it and started using it as a litter box. (laughter) Some of the earliest Fourth World stuff had been put into a suitcase in the garage and become water damaged.
       They called me up a couple of years before Jack died, and said they were marking the back of the original artwork on the walls at the house, so whoever takes over the estate when they're gone knows who gets what. Roz asked me what I wanted, and I said, "I don't want any artwork at all. Give me the Xeroxes." I know the importance of it, and will never fail him in its proper safekeeping. So they gave me all the Xeroxes.
       A handful of the Marvel stuff still exists, mostly because – and this is my guess – when they moved from New York to California, that material was missed when they threw away everything else. Marvel used to do digest-sized Photostats of the material and send it to Jack, so he'd have reference for costumes, vehicles and so forth when he began penciling the next issue. So there's a handful of stuff left over from the Marvel days, probably no more than 200 pages total. Some of that material has appeared in The Jack Kirby Collector. Then it picks up when Royer begins to ink, which is really sad. Royer was extremely faithful to the pencils, and what we need to see is material that Syd Shores inked, or Vinnie Colletta inked, where there was a distortion in what Jack was trying to say. Not that it's great, or it stinks, but that it's no longer the Kirby manuscript that was underneath it. I continue to archive the material. It will probably rest at the Museum of Modern Art or the Whitney Museum when all is said and done.

 Actually, I donated it to the Kirby Museum.

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