JACK KIRBY’s Rare 1960s Baseball Card Art to Get Spotlight

Taking the King out to the old ball game…

TwoMorrows has another groovy publication coming later this year — and it features a real curve ball: editor Jon B. Cooke’s Comic Book Artist Bullpen, which includes a section on Jack Kirby’s barely known 1960 baseball card art.

CBA — the precursor to Cooke’s Comic Book Creator — was published by TwoMorrows about 20 years ago or so, but once the original run ended, the editor produced a follow-up fanzine that lasted for six installments. Now those little-seen issues are being collected and TwoMorrows will be releasing a volume that also includes a never-released Issue #7 and a rundown on the King’s foray into the national pastime.

Kirby art from future Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski’s rookie card

“Kirby drew 60 spot illustrations for the backs of the 1960 Topps baseball card set,” publisher John Morrow explained. “There’s a total of 572 cards in the complete set, and Jack Davis drew many of the others, while some unknown cartoonist did some as well. Almost no one knows about them, largely because it was previously reported that Kirby worked on the 1961 set, but that was in error.

“Kirby was looking for any work he could find in 1960, with his youngest daughter’s birth on the horizon, and the aftermath of the Comics Code having killed his and Joe Simon’s Mainline Publishing operation,” Morrow added. “He was blackballed at DC Comics due to a dispute with an editor there, and stuck at low-paying Atlas Comics (soon to be renamed Marvel), doing monster stories, just prior to co-creating the Fantastic Four in 1961. The full story, and the full list of cards Kirby drew art for, are in CBA Bullpen.”

Dig the official description:

By Jon B. COOKE – 176 page Trade Paperback with COLOR

The CBA Magic returns, in COMIC BOOK ARTIST BULLPEN! It collects every issue of the little-seen labor of love fanzine published in the early 2000s by JON B. COOKE (editor of today’s Comic Book Creator magazine), just after the original Comic Book Artist ended its TwoMorrows run. Featured are in-depth interviews with some of comics’ major league players, including GEORGE TUSKA, FRED HEMBECK, TERRY BEATTY, and FRANK BOLLE—and an amazing all-star tribute to Silver Age great JACK ABEL by the Marvel Comics Bullpen and others. That previously unpublished all-comics Abel appreciation (assembled by RICK PARKER) includes strips by JOE KUBERT, WALTER SIMONSON, KYLE BAKER, MARIE SEVERIN, GRAY MORROW, ALAN WEISS, SERGIO ARAGONÉS, MORT TODD, DICK AYERS, and many more! Includes the never-released issue #7, a new bonus feature on JACK KIRBY’s unknown 1960s baseball card art, and a 16-page full-color section, all behind a Jack Kirby cover! 

A few thoughts:

— Obviously there’s a whole lot more there than the fascinating Kirby feature, including interviews with Fred Hembeck and George Tuska (whom 13th Dimension columnist Paul Kupperberg just saluted earlier this week), as well as a tribute to Jack Abel. Looks like one heckuva package.

— The book lists for $24.95 and is due Aug. 4, though that is subject to change.

— It will be available at comics shops and booksellers, but you can also get it directly from TwoMorrows. Click here if you’d like to pre-order.

MORE

— Dig This Upcoming Celebration of JACK KIRBY’s DC Legacy. Click here.

— JOHN SEVERIN Gets His Due — Illustrated Bio Coming This Fall. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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3 Comments

  1. Loved CBA, and glad to see it return in some fashion! The coloring of Kirby’s athletes on the cover makes it look like this is Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters Little League team!

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    • I definitely got that Gifted Youngster vibe, too!

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  2. I’m really happy that the King himself still has a fanbase long after his passing. 🙂

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