Kirby Makes Galactic Comeback

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Next month, Kirby returns to Marvel!  Published through Marvel’s Icon imprint, Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters is based on characters and concepts by the late Jack “The King” Kirby.  Lisa Kirby stopped by Broken Frontier to discuss the project and her father’s enduring legacy.

BROKEN FRONTIER: What is the premise behind Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters?

LISA KIRBY: The story is about a teenage boy, Garrett, who finds out that the crazy sci-fi stories his father (Jack Berkley) writes are actually based on true adventures! Garrett accidentally stumbles upon a hidden bunker at his home. Curiosity gets the best of him and he goes in to investigate. This is where he finds out that his father's Galactic Bounty Hunter tales are true. Hidden down in this bunker lie all the contraptions he has read about in his father's stories, along with his dad's old uniform! What he doesn't realize is that there is an old enemy of his pop's who has just infiltrated this hidden lair. The space fugitive kidnaps the boy and he is whisked away to The Nocturnal Nebula (The badlands of Space) where he is held captive. Jack Berkley must now come out of retirement, reunite his old team of Bounty Hunters and rescue his son.

BF: How did the project come about?

LK: This project started when I found an unpublished piece of art back in 1998 when I had to take inventory of my father's artwork. This was after my mother Rosalind passed away. Mike Thibodeaux volunteered to help me with the process, and that is when we discovered the unpublished work. The original drawing of these characters referred to them as The Wonder Warriors, and they were originally intended as villains for Captain Victory #7 (published in October 1982).

Dad put these particular characters aside, and created a whole new group of villains for Captain Victory that he called the Wonder Warriors. These new designs were evil, repulsive characters, that you were happy to see Captain Victory pound the heck out of! Dad had other plans for the drawing he put aside. When I came across this unused group of characters, I was really gripped by them ... they seemed to jump out at me! Along with the drawing itself were notes that my father left behind. Instead of villains, they had more of a heroic role. I felt that they had a certain edginess to them.

So, that is where the concept of Galactic Bounty Hunters came from. This is when Michael Thibodeaux suggested that I try to develop them for a future project.

BF: How much original Jack Kirby material has been involved with this project?

LK: We used as much of my father's work as possible. Most of the pages are drawn by Michael Thibodeaux, but there are Kirby covers, splashes, and panel pages scattered throughout. Karl Kesel from Marvel is lending his talent as well.

BF: For those that might not be familiar with Michael Thibodeaux, what was his connection to Jack Kirby?

LK: Michael Thibodeaux is a long-time family friend. I guess he wore a lot of hats. He was my father's inker on some of his books in the late 80's, including Captain Victory. He acted as assistant and art agent as well, and was considered part of the family. Mike is a very talented
artist. He has worked on many projects along with his partner Richard French through their publishing company Genesis West. They have collaborated with my father on a variety of concepts, which you can glimpse on our web site, www.JackKirby.com or www.Genesiswest.com

BF: In working on this book, is the vision to create a comic that looks like a Jack Kirby book, or is it more intended to be "in the spirit of Kirby?”

LK: In my opinion the series is intended to be "in the spirit of Kirby.”  There is only one Jack King Kirby, and to try and emulate him would be impossible.

BF: How do you feel following in your father's footsteps and expanding his legacy?

LK: I would have to say that this whole process has opened my eyes to my father's world. It was something that I never thought I would have delved into before. I always thought of him as my dad, not Jack Kirby the artist. At first I thought that this was a huge undertaking, but
the team from Genesis West really pulled me through (thanks Mike Thibodeaux, Rick French, and Steve Robertson).  It really surprised me how much work was involved in the making of a comic book series. It was also a fun and healing process as well, being able to work on a concept my father created.  I am hoping this series will also help keep my father's legacy alive, in the hope people will remember how much he contributed to the comic book industry.

BF: Assuming this mini-series does well, is Galactic Bounty Hunters a title you see continuing in the future?

LK: Sure, anything is possible at this point. We have grown rather fond of these characters, so it would be wonderful to see the series continue on in the future.

BF: Do you see writing comics as something you might continue to do?

LK: Well, this is a start. I enjoyed the writing process, so I'm waiting to see what the future will bring.

BF: Is there any news regarding the traveling Kirby art retrospective mentioned at www.kirbymuseum.org?

LK: We are at the planning stages at this point. Our goal is to possibly have a traveling art exhibit put together by early 2007. Anyone who is interested can refer back to the museum site from time to time for an update. To make this happen we need support from members! Please take the time and check out The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center website.
A number of wonderful pieces are currently in The Masters of Comic Art show, which started in Los Angeles in March and is ending in New York City in August.

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Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters is a six-issue mini-series, debuting July 19, 2006. For more preview pages of the first issue, click here.

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