Pushing The Envelope Forums

Classic & Cult Television, Movies and More
It is currently Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:51 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:22 pm 
Offline
Postal Carrier
Postal Carrier

Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:47 pm
Posts: 176
Location: Los Angeles
My Mood: Neutral
In the mid-1970s, when I was still pursuing cartooning along with SF as a career, I met Jack Katz, a brilliant artist and writer, at the San Jose Comic Art Shop in San Jose, CA.

Jack was signing the first issue of "The First Kingdom." It was part one of an epic series scheduled to stretch out for the rest of the decade. TFK was printed like an "underground" comic, full color slick cover with black and white art inside. Unlike other undergrounds, TFK had taller and more narrow dimensions and sported a wraparound painting on its cover.

The dissimilarities didn't stop there.

Inside, we were treated to a multi-generational, indeed, multi-historical-era tale. The art took the breath away: it was complex, with stylized long-limbed people; detail and backgrounds easily rivaled Alex Raymond's "Prince Valiant," and the visual concepts were executed in a manner not only unique to all comics before or since, but Jack gave us artistic concepts in a comic book that were ART in the Classical sense.

Is it any wonder mainstream publications like Time, Playboy, and others took note of this project? Critics have called "The First Kingdom" the first Graphic Novel.

Freed from censorship and commercial restrictions, Jack Katz dreamed aloud on the pages. And his dreams were valid, revolutionary--a forerunner of so much we take for granted today in this Art Form.

When I spoke with him, Jack played with a rubber band, taking it through contortions like a stage magician on one hand until it broke and he sent his lovely blonde gal companion to find another.

"What kind of pencils do you use?" I asked.

"Any that I have around the house."

"What is your favorite paper?"

"I found most of the paper I used for The First Kingdom in the trash."

He was that kind of guy: unassuming, open, modest--and not above pulling someone's leg. He hinted that he was unsure he would ever see a profit from the project or that it would go over with the public.

I got my two copies signed and was fast enough to buy a third for his signature just before the big stack he had brought along sold out--in a half hour's time.

On a personal note, the first page of issue one inspired an early SF short story of mine ("Birds"). It never sold. The First Kingdom sure has!

I urge you to check out Jack Katz' masterpiece.


Top
 Profile  
 
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:04 pm 
Offline
1st Class Mail Carrier
1st Class Mail Carrier
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:23 pm
Posts: 449
Location: the 23rd Century
My Mood: Whatever I want it to be
I met Jack Katz back in '77 - OK, that's not really accurate. What really happened was that I was this punk kid seated in one of the presentation rooms during a comics convention in San Francisco in 1977 and Jack Katz was the presenter. What was he presenting? The First Kingdom, natch. To be even more honest, I would not even remember the exact year this happened - just that it was sometime in the late seventies - if not for the fact that I still have my copy of the BayCon 3 Program Book; Katz is featured in this in a short article by Mark Evanier -
Image Image
(that cover is not my copy, just one that happens to be on sale on eBay right now; the interior pg.19 shot is mine, though).

What's really odd is that the moments which have become ingrained on my mind from back then in '77 were Jack's first few words, part of his introduction. He abruptly referred to one of the other presentation rooms nearby which was showing videos or 16mm film of something, likely on a TV (or maybe on a small screen, maybe footage from Star Wars or some TV show - I can't recall) and Jack was clearly derogatory about it, something along the lines of 'that mess over there' or 'that crap over there' in explaining to us how we shouldn't waste our time 'over there.' I had to suppress a chuckle - Mr. Katz was clearly one of those 'let me tell you how I really feel' guys. He also came off as a curmudgeon, kind of angry for no reason, but this also indicated a fierce passion about his work and life in general.

The shame of it is, is that i didn't obtain any of The First Kingdom books back then. I was in my mid-teens and really into super-heroes, mostly Marvel (Katz worked for Marvel very briefly in the late sixties; his meticulous detailed work caused him to move on, I think, because it took him too long to complete, as happened when he worked at other companies, as well). Someone like Katz piqued my interest, enough that I was one of the few who picked his presentation to attend, but not enough to expand my buying interests, even if he was this unusual maverick. As I got older and my interests expanded, I would return to thoughts of The First Kingdom, like every few years. Something always seemed to get in the way and I would place aside my plans to get the first few books. Maybe now is the time - these are not very expensive to obtain even now. It is, after all, a combo of my two main interests - comics and science fiction.


Top
 Profile  
 
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:36 pm 
Offline
Time And Realative Dimension In Space
Time And Realative Dimension In Space
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:14 am
Posts: 7533
Location: In the cold chill that runs down your spine.
My Mood: Whatever I want it to be
Looks like a cover by Jack "King" Kirby with Ikaris blazing across the cover. Nice score in itself.


Top
 Profile  
 
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:10 pm 
Offline
1st Class Mail Carrier
1st Class Mail Carrier
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:23 pm
Posts: 449
Location: the 23rd Century
My Mood: Whatever I want it to be
DrMoreau wrote:
Looks like a cover by Jack "King" Kirby with Ikaris blazing across the cover.

Yeah -- typical Eternal: some giant octopus is wrecking the bridge and Ikaris is just all smiles, posing for the camera. :lol:
DrMoreau wrote:
Nice score in itself.

Oh, yeah, you bet - especially since it has Kirby's signature inside. The last page is an almost blank page labeled "AUTOGRAPHS" and, according to what I see there, I obtained signatures from Roy Thomas and Jack Kirby.

I didn't get one from Jack Katz for some reason. I was a fuzzy-headed teen back then so no big surprise - unless he refused to give signatures; I don't remember.

Maybe I should include that BayCon book in the collectibles thread here, since the book (more like a pamphlet) does have a couple of famous signatures.


Top
 Profile  
 
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:18 pm 
Offline
Time And Realative Dimension In Space
Time And Realative Dimension In Space
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:14 am
Posts: 7533
Location: In the cold chill that runs down your spine.
My Mood: Whatever I want it to be
excellent idea, Kaptain :D


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB 3.0.11 © 2002 ~ 2014 phpBB Group
subTrails recreated by DrMoreau for PtE Forums.