These first entries in my various blogs detail the history of Jack Kirby including Military Industrial Complex Secrets in Marvel, DC, and indie titles, his work in cartoons, some of which I’ve found to be severely suggestive of shadow government operations, and most of which have parallel predictive programming or Sync concepts running throughout multiple episodes.
The rest of this blog is essentially me quoting revelations from The Kirby Effect: The Journal of the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center
Jack’s Own UFO encounter:
“This same style science fiction mode was seen on TV with the new series Science Fiction Theater, produced by Ivan Tors. This was the first anthology devoted to the futuristic world of post-war fears. The series speculated on such things as visitors from other planets, UFO incidents, space fight, espionage… More technology, and miracle drugs that could cure all ills. It contained stories of crackpots; who turn out to be visionaries, and eyewitnesses to the fantastic, fighting to be believed; psychic phenomena straight out of a Reichian nightmare. The show also utilized experts as consultants to help keep the show within the known realm of the scientific possibilities speculated at the time. The show did not last long, but it did lead to even better followers like Twilight Zone, and Outer Limits.
Instead of the old Gothic horrors of Dracula, and the Werewolf, the new films centered on run amok science creating mutates, and allegorical visitation of alien species. Things that didn’t seem so farfetched when viewed thru a current prism. The Thing, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Them, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers were big hits. And comics always followed the big hits. “The monster phenomenon got started primarily just because people were concerned about science,” Kirby recalled. “People were concerned about radiation and what would happen to animals and people who were exposed to that kind of thing.” Their fears had been awakened at Roswell…”
“Though the sci-fi movies were definitely an inspiration, the author feels the genre change can be traced back to the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, in 1939 by Orson Wells and the paranoid reaction to a sci-fi subject as well as the sci-real atomic bomb.
Jack and Joe always loved sci-fi and the sci-fi movies, and incorporated themes into their stories. The newly formed CCA also prohibited much of the Gothic horror traditions. The next to last S&K Black Magic issue cover featured a strange monster very similar to the fantastic “intellectual carrot” of The Thing, as portrayed by James Arness. The last S&K story in Black Magic centered on, and was narrated by a shark mutated by atomic radiation to the point of sentience. The story Lone Shark was a chilling tale of run amok science and the unforeseen consequences of atomic energy plants and the dumping of atomic waste. There is also an unpublished Black Magic cover featuring a burnt out wasteland with alien scientists in hazmat gear and Geiger Counters checking out the charred remains while a huge mutated creature hovers in the background. In Win-A-Prize #1(Feb. 1955) published by Charlton, Jack drew a wonderful allegorical tale of the first visitation from space and the inherent fear and paranoia in the human reaction. This genre so resonated with Jack, it was said that Jack hoarded reams of science fiction magazines and pamphlets, and when he died, the garage was full of them. Jack was always at his best when his stories had a sci-fi basis. Joe would recall that Jack was “the pulp man-he used to read all of them, especially the sci-fi ones.” Jack would even insert sci-fi scenarios into other genres like western stories, such as a Bullseye story set in a lost prehistoric wasteland populated with pterodactyls, or a land based Fighting American trapped in a deep space dream.”
“On a small ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, on July 8, 1947 the Air Force announced that military personnel had recovered a crashed “flying disc”, setting off the UFO phenomenon in the U.S. A day later the Air Force changed their story and said they recovered a weather balloon, not a flying disc. This followed closely on the heels of UFO reports in Maury Island, Washington, and Mt. Rainier.
Soon, rumors of alien bodies, secret government installations, and official cover-up arose. These incidents ignited the cottage industry of conspiracy theorist that look for secret cabals, hidden government agencies, and powerful interests behind every action of the government, or political tragedy. Jack loved the various interpretations and theories behind the visitation of alien beings and they soon became a central theme in his cosmic tales.
Jack never asked anyone to believe him, but he told people that he had seen mysterious lights flying in formation that suddenly shot out and vanished.”
“This relationship was right out of a Simon and Kirby romance story. Mayday is Sky’s equal in every way and the perfect foil for his stodgy, straight assed, uptight military bearing, and no one inked more beautiful woman than Wally Wood. The training scenes are so realistic, due to the fact that Kirby was getting data and photos directly from NASA. Kirby said that NASA even invited him down to Cape Canaveral to experience the actual training program, and to witness flights. Neal Kirby, who loved airplanes and flying as much as his dad, used to look forward with great anticipation the manila folders sent to Jack by NASA.”…
“But working on Sky Masters wasn’t all negative. Neal Kirby remembers his dad working on Sky. “I honestly think he enjoyed that more than the comic books. I know he loved doing Sky Masters. Neal loved it too; he loved the manilla envelopes that arrived with all the NASA technical data. “Sky was so far ahead of its time, it’s incredible. If you look at some of the things he designed: I remember one thing where he’s got Sky Masters floating outside the spaceship, he’s holding this wand which would shoot out little jets of air, and that’s how he moved around the spaceship. That’s exactly what the first astronauts used outside the early ships. NASA wasn’t in existence at the time,(ed. note NASA started July 1958) but there was this center where they were training jet pilots for early space flight. I guess they picked up on the comic strip, and they started sending him all this classified information. I remember him getting this lithograph in 1957 and it showed the entire rocket boosters built to date, and all the one’s planned out into the future, right up through Mercury, Atlas, the Saturn V, which launched the moon ships. There was one planned after the Saturn V called the Nova, which was even bigger, but was eventually scrapped in favor of the Space Shuttle.” “A lot he did without that material, It took a while for the strip to grab hold, before this little fan club, so to speak, within that early space community started sending him stuff.”
Willy Ley and Stealing Kirby’s Secret Space Ideas:
One of the more interesting swipes of Jack Kirby wasn’t even in a comic book. In 1950, a new sci-fi TV series was introduced. Tom Corbett-Space Cadet was written by Joseph Greene, based on the Robert Heinlein novel, Space Cadet. It became very popular, and soon other mediums picked it up. There was a radio program, a newspaper strip, and of course comic books–originally by Dell, but later by Prize Comics. There was also a series of juvenile hardbacks published by Grosset and Dunlap. The first title Stand by for Mars was published in 1952, written by Carey Rockwell and spot illustrated by Louis Glanzman, and had the great Willy Ley as technical advisor.
Louis S. Glanzman was born in Virginia in 1922, and is one of the great illustrators of the last fifty years. He was self-taught, and began his career by illustrating comic books when he was sixteen, alongside his brother Sam. They made the rounds of the comic publishers in the early forties. Their art was simplistic and generic, but they found constant work for companies like Centaur and Harvey. He proceeded to work on the Air Force magazine in the 1940s, and illustrated many children’s books in the 1950s, including the Pippi Longstocking series and Tom Corbett series.
Louis provided about a dozen spot illustrations per issue, and for the first three issues, at least half of them are direct swipes from Kirby sci-fi strips. What makes this interesting is not that he was swiping Kirby, but the variety of source material. He swiped from Cosmic Carson, Blue Bolt, Comet Pierce, Captain Daring, and Solar Legion. That’s at least five strips from five different companies and most unsigned and uncredited. He swiped machinery, weapons, vehicles, and a surrealistic Kirby alien vista; he even swiped costumes and female hairstyles. What an amazing coincidence that as part of his morgue was a collection of early Kirby sci-fi from small print companies, and short run series from a short period of Kirby’s career. It seems the artists of the period recognized Kirby’s work no matter where it appeared. When asked about these coincidences. Glanzman said he couldn’t remember the details, but “everyone swiped back then” “I may not have even known they were by Kirby”
Jack Kirby Got NASA secrets in the mail…from NASA
“The adventures thrown at the Challs rivaled any ever seen in comics. They faced every scary nightmare from the occult to futuristic technology. Sorcerers, aliens, sentient robots, ex-Nazis, even giant rocky mythological warriors, and the League of Death Cheaters never flinched in their duties. There were times when they separated and worked independently and then there were times when the worked together as a tight knit unit. In the second issue they even had outside help as a beautiful computer expert joined the group. June Robbins would become the unofficial fifth Challenger when she was recruited to help defeat Ultivac, a sentient robot created when “the use of radioactive materials in building this machine has somehow developed in its braincase …a thinking process on a par with humans!” One of the unique factors in Challs was that along with the futuristic elements, actual recent scientific developments were included. When Rocky is accidentally shot it is left to the doctors to perform a new process of open heart massage to revive him. The robot seeking sentience and acceptance was a concept Jack would revisit numerous times.”
“Joe was not the only one taking notice of the space race. In Jan. 1958, Harry Elmlark walked into the offices of National Periodicals. Harry Elmlark was a sales representative for George Matthew Adams Service, a syndicate house. He was looking for a space based strip that he could sell to the newspapers. He met with Jack Schiff, who showed him several concepts, but Elmlark wasn’t thrilled. Schiff suggested that he might be able to come up with something, and asked Elmlark for a couple days. Schiff went to Jack Liebowitz, General Manager of DC and told him about Elmlark’s request. Liebowitz explained that he had no interest in DC getting involved, but if Schiff wanted to pursue it on his own, he was welcome to try.
Jack Schiff then approached writer Dave Wood, Schiff had remembered that Dave had told him that he and Jack Kirby were working on a space strip concept. After being told of Elmlark’s request, Dave said that he would retrieve the samples and meet up with Schiff the next day.”
“Sky Master’s was different; it wasn’t an Alex Raymond space opera. The focus wasn’t on some futuristic world of alien societies or ray gun toting space western. It was set in the near future, with the modern technology of the nascent space race. It starts with man’s first attempt at space flight. The main draw was the attention to detail and the accuracy of NASA’s technology. These were real rockets, and existing space capsules, not the space darts of Buck Rogers, or Flash Gordon. It was immediate; the stories were taken from the daily headlines. The sub-orbital flights of Shepard and Grissom–the use of animals rather than humans, and fear of cosmic rays. The cast of characters fit the Kirby pattern. The brave laconic pilot hero,(Sky Masters) the science mentor, (Dr. Royer) and (Will Riot) the beefy Earthy mechanic sidekick, and friend from the Korean War and the quiet girl friend (Holly Martin) daughter of a senior pilot that Sky rescued, and her hot headed younger brother Danny. This strange mix of sci-fi and sci-fact was magical, Kirby bridging the ground and the stars, Wood supplying the texture and. ambience.
Kirby quickly brought in an active female presence in Challengers with June, a computer wizard who assisted the boys in Showcase #7. In Sky Masters, Kirby introduced perhaps his most sexual, animalistic, and driven female protagonist when he introduced Mayday Shannon- an ex-girlfriend of Sky’s and renewed rival for Sky’s affection.”
“This relationship was right out of a Simon and Kirby romance story. Mayday is Sky’s equal in every way and the perfect foil for his stodgy, straight assed, uptight military bearing, and no one inked more beautiful woman than Wally Wood. The training scenes are so realistic, due to the fact that Kirby was getting data and photos directly from NASA. Kirby said that NASA even invited him down to Cape Canaveral to experience the actual training program, and to witness flights. Neal Kirby, who loved airplanes and flying as much as his dad, used to look forward with great anticipation the manila folders SENT TO JACK BY NASA.”
But working on Sky Masters wasn’t all negative. Neal Kirby remembers his dad working on Sky. “I honestly think he enjoyed that more than the comic books. I know he loved doing Sky Masters. Neal loved it too; he loved the manilla envelopes that arrived with all the NASA technical data. “Sky was so far ahead of its time, it’s incredible. If you look at some of the things he designed: I remember one thing where he’s got Sky Masters floating outside the spaceship, he’s holding this wand which would shoot out little jets of air, and that’s how he moved around the spaceship. That’s exactly what the first astronauts used outside the early ships. NASA wasn’t in existence at the time,(ed. note NASA started July 1958) but there was this center where they were training jet pilots for early space flight. I guess they picked up on the comic strip, and they STARTED SENDING HIM ALL THIS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. I remember him getting this lithograph in 1957 and it showed the entire rocket boosters built to date, and all the one’s planned out into the future, right up through Mercury, Atlas, the Saturn V, which launched the moon ships. There was one planned after the Saturn V called the Nova, which was even bigger, but was eventually scrapped in favor of the Space Shuttle.” “A lot he did without that material, It took a while for the strip to grab hold, before this little fan club, so to speak, within that early space community started sending him stuff.”
Trust me, I love Jack Kirby. I always have and always will be, inspired by so much of what Jack did. The Marvel Universe is closer to a religion to me than any other worldly mythology my soul has had the opportunity to encounter. But I have to be straight with you, I’m not the guy who should be writing about Kirby, I’m just a guy in a position to be able to write about Jack Kirby and I hope that makes sense, my dear readers… BUT I did send this newly discovered data along to the guy who is very capable of writing about Kirby, a dear friend of mine for over a decade now, the author of the “Secret Sun” and the book “Our Gods Wear Spandex”, Christopher Knowles, and I suggest, no I insist! that you read what he has to say about everything in the universe AND Jack Kirby