The exhibition I curated, Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby, closed over a month ago, and I still feel as if I’m waking from a dream. This show has been the most challenging, rewarding, and flat-out dizzying experience of my years at CSUN, taking me to new areas, teaching me new kinds of work, and bringing me into contact with wonderful new people. I’ve learned so much from it. To have shown Kirby artwork to a vast public, and had the pleasure of acting as docent and guide for so many folks — that’s an honor I never could have expected when I came to CSUN, and I’ll always be grateful for it. To me, Comic Book Apocalypse was a rare and wonderful example of taking scholarship public and making of it a genuine shared experience.

Attendance-wise, Comic Book Apocalypse was the biggest show in the history of the CSUN Galleries, drawing about 6000 visitors during its seven-week run. From the very first day (Aug. 24), when more than a hundred people showed up in the first two hours, to our opening reception (Aug. 29), which drew more than 600, to our panel discussion (Sept. 26), which also drew several hundred, to the last day (Oct. 10), i.e. the very last few hours of the show, which, incredibly, drew another 500 — this exhibition proved that many, many people want to see the work of Jack Kirby. I’m proud of those numbers, and dearly hope that further comic art exhibitions, both at CSUN and elsewhere, will be in my future. I’m planning on it.

(BTW, the exhibition catalog is now available for purchase through the CSUN Galleries’ online store. More to come about this!)

My work on Kirby has always been about thanks: my profound gratitude to Jack for boosting my imagination, for enriching the comics field and my life, and for the sheer generosity of his work. And this feels like the right time to express my thanks — many, many thanks — to the people and institutions who made this show possible, or enriched it, or helped spread the word:

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, CSU Northridge:

Dan Hosken, Dean

Jay Kvapil, former Dean

Michael Ryan, Director of Development

The College of Humanities, CSU Northridge:

Elizabeth Say, Dean

Suren Seropian, Director of Development

Chhan Mech, Systems and Technology Coordinator

Teresa Morrison, Grants Officer

Judith Spiegel, Web Developer

CSUN Art Galleries:

Jim Sweeters, Gallery Director

Michelle Giacopuzzi, Exhibitions Coordinator

Jack Castellanos, Gallery Assistant

Janet Solval, Gallery Assistant

The entire Gallery team!

Ben Saunders, University of Oregon, catalog co-editor and curatorial consultant

The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center (

Mark Evanier

The Rosalind Kirby Trust

Lisa Kirby

Paul S. Levine

Neal, Connie, and Jillian Kirby

CSUN Department of English:

Jackie Stallcup, Chair

Marjie Seagoe, Graduate Administrative Support Coordinator

All of my colleagues

CSUN Department of Art

University of Oregon Comics and Cartoon Studies Program

CSUN Office of Research and Sponsored Projects


Louis Solis, graphic design and banner production

Geoff Grogan, banner design

Tom Kraft, iBook design; image acquisition and production

Our generous lenders:

Glen Brunswick

Carr D’Angelo, Earth-2 Comics

Jackie Estrada

David Folkman

Barry Ira Geller

Glen David Gold

Richard Howell

Tom Kraft

Erik Larsen

Jud Meyers, Blastoff Comics

Ethan Roberts, Ph.D.

Steve Roden

Dick Swan

Wally Wolodarsky

And our anonymous lenders

IDW Publishing

Scott Dunbier, catalog project manager

Randy Dahlk, catalog designer

David Althoff, Marvel Entertainment

Robert Boyd

Scott Bukatman

CSUN University Advancement

Mark Farquhar, CSU Northridge

Doug Harvey

Rand Hoppe

Neil Kendricks

Jay Kogan, DC Entertainment

Harry Mendryk

Aubry Mintz, CSU Long Beach

John Morrow

Paul Sager, Continental Comics

Diana Schutz

Tom Spurgeon

Robert St. Pierre, CSUN

Terry Wilson

Our catalog contributors:

Mark Badger

Scott Bukatman

Howard Chaykin

Brian Cremins

Ramzi Fawaz

Craig Fischer

Glen David Gold (again!)

Doug Harvey (again!)

Adam McGovern

Carla Speed McNeil

Andrei Molotiu

Dan Nadel

Adilifu Nama

Ann Nocenti

Tony Puryear

James Romberger

Ben Saunders (again!)

Diana Schutz (again!)

All the journalists who covered the show

All of the local comic shops that helped promote it

All of my friends who came to see it!

As always and above all, my family:

My mom and dad, Ella and Jerry Hatfield

My brother Scott and my sister-in-law Corine

My New England side of the family, for cheering us on

My kids, Nami and Nick

My wife and my rock, Michele, who knows the whole story better than anyone!

I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. The list of people who made a difference is very, very long, and no words will be enough.

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