Krofft and Spears Reviving Lost Kirby


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This week, the New York Times broke a particularly uncommon piece of comics-related news that soon caught fire across the comics blogosphere with word that classic kids TV producers Sid and Marty Krofft and Joe Ruby and Ken Spears would be taking a slew of concepts created under work for hire by Jack Kirby into multiple media channels.

As the story goes, the legendary artist took up a staff job with Ruby-Spears productions (known for a wide range of shows including "Alvin & The Chipmunks" and the '80s "Superman" cartoon) after becoming fed up with the practices of the big comics houses. While working with the independent animation studio, Kirby not only provided design work for completed animated series like "Thundarr The Barbarian" but also spent his days dreaming up dozens of ideas and hundreds of characters for potential shows that never saw the light of day. For years, the sketches, designs and art produced by the artist, with titles ranging from "Golden Shield" to "Roxie's Raiders," lay in storage, saved by Joe Ruby who insisted they'd be of value some day.

Finally, last year, Ruby and Spears decided to dust off the drawings and took the whole lot to the Krofft brothers (producers of live-action series including "H.R. Puffenstuff" and "The Banana Splits") thanks to Ruby-Spears manager and former Krofft employee and ABC development executive Bonnie Dore. "When Ken and Joe came in here with Bonnie, we heard this whole thing, and when they left, Michael Stokes – the VP of development and production here – said, 'Hey, Marty. If they have the rights, you can sell this by the pound,'" Marty Krofft told CBR. The producer went on to explain that he and his brother had already been working with Ruby-Spears to bring their '70s superhero duo Electra Woman and Dyna Girl to the big screen. Krofft said that their plans to take the Kirby work into the realm of movies, TV, video games and comics was a natural extension of a longterm respect and growing partnership between the two independent companies. "It took us a long time to do this. It didn't take us a long time to get together as partners, but it did take us a long time to get this right so we could let anybody know about it."

To share more of their history, their specific plans for Kirby creations, their thoughts on how to preserve the spirit of Kirby's art and more, Krofft, Spears and Dore took the time to speak with CBR News. The producers also shared three exclusive pieces of art from the Kirby vault that they hope will be making their way into new stories soon.

Link to the interview.

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