Thursday, August 28, 2008


I met Jack once.
I was at the San Diego Con years ago, right? And I'm standing near a crowd that goes around the length of the room, they're all there to see Jim Lee. And I don't want to see Mr. Lee, but to each his own. Then over the hall loud speaker, a voice comes on and sez, "Jack Kirby will be signing at such and such a booth in five minutes", and I'm like, OH SHIT~! I wasn't too far from that booth, and so I booked over there. I'm gonna meet the King, or, at least I hope to meet the King, because I figure there'd be an even bigger crowd for him than for Jim Lee.
So, I get to this booth, and there's like five people in line. To meet the King. And there's Jack, this tiny little old man, cute as a button really. But five people? Jesus, this guy's responsible for....everything in this room! 
But really, I felt lucky, because I knew I'd get to meet and speak with him.
So, it's my turn.
And I tell him how much I love his work, and ask him if he really felt uncomfortable rubbing the hump on the kid's back (his only biographical work was about his days as a Lower East Side street tough, and all the kids on the block would go to this humpbacked kid to get a little luck off of him). And Jack sez, "yeah, I didn't want to do it. I guess I was sensitive, y'know?" Cute as a button, this little old dude.
So I said to him, "Look, I just want you to know how much your work has influenced mine", and he realizes I'm a pro, and he looks at my pro badge, glances at it, and says to me, "thanks. I like your work too."
Which struck me as hilarious.


synthicide said...

that's a great story. awesome and quite funny.
and only a short line to see him? insanity!
thanks for sharing it.

Veron said...

Wow, what a nice story. Great memory to have of Mr. Kirby.
~Veron :)

Shane said...

Great story Stephen. And a great memory to have. I still think of your Kirby hanging in your studio....ahhh I have the perfect spot for it.....:-)

sdestefano said...

Yay! Good to hear from you Shane and Veronica!

You too, Biff, except I don't know you.
But thanks all for posting.

Uncle Phil said...

Wow. That is a great story... i liked the Jim Lee part.


Unknown said...

Great story, I bet there was so much more you'd love to talk about with him!

Anonymous said...

a good story to do a book, a graphic one of course :-)

wolfboy said...

Wow! You met royalty?! Amazing...I remember that autobiographical bit about the hump...gave me shivers.

You rock for posting this.

Joseph Tages said...

Awesome story, Stephen. I met Jack at a comic signing along with Roz. This was mere months before he passed away. He was still a cute little guy, always smiling. A real approachable fellow.

About six of us fans were listening to him tell the story of how Doom wasn't supposed to be physically disfigured, it was just this one scar that had sent him over the edge before he donned the mask. He must have told it thousands of time by then, but he remained just as enthusiastic.

We were all taller than him, decades younger, well enough to be his grandkids. But there he was, holding court in the center as the King, true to his name and reputation.

There will truly, never, ever, be another Jack Kirby and we are all the poorer for it.

jeremie lederman said...

I got to meet Mr. King during his last SDCC as well. I walked up and there he was. I felt horrible that Jack Kirby was sitting there with Roz in his small booth... He should have been paraded around like RUDY by everyone who earns money from comics.

I too told him what he meant to me, and his gracious sincerity was overwhelming. I was only bigger in hight, but felt like I was looking up at the Iron Giant.

One of my best memories. I wish I would have had a camera.