REVIEW: Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey GBF Film Studios

Production Company: GBF Film Studios
Interview Filming: Phil Melia
Jack Kirby Filming: Bob Alziebler
Narrator and Interviewer: Helen D Fleming
Starring: Jack Kirby, Glenn Fleming

Release Date: 1 July 2017
Price: £10/$15

This is where you need to go to pledge: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/79910925/jack-kirby-a-personal-journey

Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey
GBF Film Studios

Jack Kirby can be the only reason for wishing the internet driven social media revolution of the last two decades to have happened in the 1970s rather than the early 2000s. A 1970s Facebook, UTube, Twitter and Instagram would have busied itself with recording, in immense detail, every word Jack Kirby spoke; there would be thousands of Jack Kirby selfies and recordings, shared and re-shared for everyone to access.

But the sad fact is – of the man who drew and created the backbone of Marvel Comics – there is very little film footage to remember Jack Kirby by.

And if you’re new to all things Kirby, or believe you would have no interest in some dead, dusty, WW2 vet, one time comic book artist who may have been big back in the day (note to self, Jack was always big it was the comic book publishers that got small) of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Best we do a name check on the Jack Kirby characters who fret and strut their way across the movie screen today. The X-Men, The Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Ant-man, The Black Panther, Nick Fury, The Silver Surfer, The Fantastic Four; all crafted and guided by the artwork and often the writing, of Jack Kirby. And these are just from Kirby’s Marvel comic book work, Kirby’s DC output gets more cinematically viable with each passing year. Amazon or Netflix should be looking at The New Gods or The Forever People or Days of The Mob.

Unfortunately, Jack Kirby passed away in 1994 and we have very little footage of the man being sociable – which he and his wife, Roz, were famous for. Fans were always welcome at the Kirby home which was going to be more fortunate for those of us who did not get a chance at the Kirby ‘open house’ invite.

Enter Englishman and all round comic book reader, Glenn Fleming. Not only did Glenn have the presence of mind to book himself into Kirby’s open house in 1988, photos were taken and are reproduced here. But Fleming returned in 1991, but on this second visit, he took a cameraman with him too.

Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey opens with Glenn Fleming laying the groundwork, his personal and highly engrossing relationship with Jack Kirby, through his two meetings with the man and Glenn’s progress as a comic book artist too. Fleming gives a good account of his own personal views of Jack Kirby whilst keeping those recollections accessible too.

Given the age of the Kirby footage in Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey, visually, the quality and crispness of the moving image are remarkable. The sound too is clear and distinct; it is worth reminding ourselves neither cameraman or Fleming are professional journalists. Fleming is the fan and as he remarks in his introduction, interviewing Jack Kirby was never going to happen, Kirby could do all the talking – and informatively – on his life at the drop of a hat. Not because Kirby was old and rambling, far from it. Jack still has that twinkle in his eye, still many, many stories to tell.

Jack Kirby: A Personal Journey is just one of them and it is the only one we have with Jack Kirby at home, surrounded by unseen artwork, relaxed and admired. The best thing you can do is buy a copy and invite Jack Kirby back to your place; you will never want him to leave.

 

Reviewer: Steve Hooker

 

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