Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jack Kirby meets Jack Ruby

Amplify’d from

Jack Kirby meets Jack Ruby
The Comic Book Council was something I launched in Castle of Frankenstein in imitation of the film ratings in Cahiers du Cinema. When alternative comics began to appear in 1967 and 1968, there were no reviews of comics, so I decided to bring together a team of critics who could contrast commercial comics with the emerging underground. The effort was short-lived, as I stopped editing the magazine in 1968.

The ratings chart below displays widely divergent opinions, and the many blank areas indicate everyone had different reading lists. The only near-consensus and the highest rating went to Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Warthog.

To explain a few items: Play with Your Cells was a single sheet being distributed randomly by Art Spiegelman, Phoebe Zeitgeist was being serialized in Evergreen Review and Sunshine Girl was Kim Deitch's weekly strip in the East Village Other. As I recall, Kim killed off Sunshine Girl, so maybe the low rating is a reflection of that. I'm not sure what happened when.

At bottom, from Castle of Frankenstein #12, is my Comic Book Council review of Jack Kirby's powerful "48 Hours and 36 Minutes in the Life of Jack Ruby". Kirby's three-page graphic nonfiction, inked by Chic Stone, was published in Esquire (May 1967). One or two balloons have apparent last-minute lettering corrections. Note a balloon fell off panel one in the b/w copy at bottom.

The footnote citations refer to the Warren Commission Hearings, and they can be read here. For instance, the first citation ("15 H 80") is from the Warren Commission's interview with newspaperman Seth Kantor, and one can click on Volume 15 and then go to page 80 to see the source for the meeting of Ruby and Kantor as shown in panel four of the first page.

© Esquire, Inc.
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