Welcome to this week’s Fabulous Find, I hope you all are doing fine. This week I’ve pulled out of the vault the “King” Kirby Portfolio, dated 1971. This treasury size portfolio also goes by the name Kirby Unleashed. Why the two names? I’m not really sure. As you can see from the cover reproduced below, it simply says: A “King” Kirby Portfolio and lists the price as four dollars. But once you turn to the inside cover, the indicia clearly states that the portfolio is named; Kirby Unleashed.
Kirby Unleashed is a collection of works of art by the artist Jack Kirby, which was published by Communications Unlimited. Jack’s son, Neal Kirby, is listed as the business manager, and the portfolio is compiled by Steve Sherman and Mark Evanier.
Here is the cover to the portfolio:
Pretty nice, right? But it gets even better when you open it up so that you can see the entire wrap-around cover. And here it is, in all it’s glory:
Now that’s a cover! But let’s open up this bad boy and see what wonders we might find inside. Including the covers there are forty-four (44) pages in all. Most of the work is reproduced in black and white, but there are four (4) pages in addition to the two cover pages that are printed in color.
We find pages of Jack Kirby’s earliest work, for such diverse publishers as: Max Fleischer Studio and New Yorker Magazine, well Jack had submitted the art and was rejected! But you get to see examples of a young Kirby, at only fourteen (14) years of age. Some published editorial cartoons and examples of early comic strips that were published in newspapers across the country.
Then we get to see some early comic book work, for example this Captain America, Buck and Red Skull piece found on page thirteen (13), which was done while he was working at Atlas Comics, prior to it becoming Marvel Comics:
And how about the Bullseye piece on page twenty (20)? Pretty sweet, eh?:
And to give DC Comics equal time, how about this early drawing of Mister Miracle, found on page twenty-five (25):
And before I leave the artwork, here is the centerspread from the portfolio, in full color:
All in all, a very nice package for only four dollars back in 1971. The originals are not real easy to find for sale now a days, but in 2004, TwoMorrows Publishing, reprinted the portfolio and sold with a couple of additional pages and sold it for twenty (20) dollars. These copies are a little easier to find in today’s market.
This was one of the first portfolios sold back in the day, before there was a great proliferation of companies putting out portfolios with featuring art from many and diverse artist.
Hope you enjoyed my look back on this one! Please be sure to come back next week for a new RETRO REVIEW and I’ll be back in two weeks with a new Fabulous Find. Be seeing you …