Growing up in the upper west side of Manhattan reading comic books off newsstands in the 1970s, I found an off-beat Captain America and The Falcon by Jack Kirby. It was bizarre. Looked like Disco, Picasso and The 4:30 Movie stapled together. I soon discovered comic shops and came upon a treasure trove of prime Kirby comics from the 1960s. They melted my mind. It's sixty years later and nothing has come close to that era of ideas since.

As evidenced by our American mythology, Jack Kirby was a force of nature. Kirby's iconic characters, designs, and hyperbolic yet human stories raised the art of imagination to cosmic levels. I became an emotional student of Kirby's sensibilities which inspired my own work, especially The Red Hook. A deeper dive into Kirby's catalog made me conclude that a lot of his concepts were the fallout of World War 2 PTSD coupled with the struggle for creator rights. In a weird way, Kirby's superheroes were semi-autobiographical.

Kirby's Nazi-punching, one-man army's were miracles of mankind but I believe his auteur-oriented gods, gangsters and misunderstood monsters were more heroic than his designated heroes. And, yet, I can't think of a more classic Kirby co-creation than Ben Grimm aka The Thing of The Fantastic Four. A jock/pilot transformed into a grotesque golem against his will. And he decides to clobber crime despite public humiliation. Jack Kirby's pop culture paradigm shifting Marvel collaborations with Stan Lee were probably my favorite comics.

Here's a link to a VIDEO of me drawing a young Jack Kirby for the King Kirby podcast.

Van Lente and Skillman's play beautifully crystallizes Jack Kirby's awesome yet heartbreaking career into a theatrical masterpiece that also serves as a cautious fable to all future story-makers.

I took patrons of the Emerson Avenue Salon on an “Emotionally True” video tour of my semi-autobiographical comics, which included NYC vignettes, the last romantic antihero, and a super-thief forced to become a superhero. It was moderated by and co-performed with Whitney Matheson. You can see/hear it HERE.

During the ides of the pandemic, I talked to former studio mates Reilly Brown and George O'Connor on episode 5 of their Hypothetical Island podcast.

In this presentation and discussion of WILL EISNER’S NEW YORK: The City In The Master’s Work: Dean Haspiel, Karen GreenN. C. Christopher Couch and Danny Fingeroth reflect on the relationship between the artist, his work, and his city.

Moderator Shah Emami, and cartoonists David Moses, Ho Che Anderson and I discuss Jack Kirby on the WITS' END podcast for almost 2-hours. One of my favorite Kirby conversations.

In the Nightwork episode "Action Jackson," we discuss clowns, cliffhangers and Carl Weathers.


Nightwork Presents: Holiday Squares - Lucky Charm edition features me, Whitney Matheson, host Matt Champagne and special guests Tarik Davis, Doug Brod, Jimmy Palmiotti, Dame Darcy, Amanda Conner and Ajay Naidu!

Wear a mask. 
Get vaccinated. 

Love, Dean

Read The Red Hook's NEW BROOKLYN saga for free at Webtoon:
Season 1:  THE RED HOOK
Season 2:  WAR CRY
Season 3:  STARCROSS
Season 4:  BLACKOUT

Follow NIGHTWORK Studio, my multimedia collaboration project with Whitney Matheson.

Listen to SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, the podcast that breaks down the film American Splendor and Harvey Pekar's legacy.

Copyright © 2021 Dean Haspiel, All rights reserved.

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