Growing up on the Lower East Side shaped his life and his work which, combined with a robust imagination and seemingly inexhaustible energy, substantially shaped the trajectory of the American commercial comic book. I got sick of chasing people all over rooftops and having them chase me over rooftops. Everybody who lived on Norfolk Street would be the Norfolk Street Gang.
Although I had known Jack for some time and spoken to him not infrequently prior to conducting this “formal” interview, it was not until I read over the transcript that I understood just how thoroughly Jack is a child of his time and place. It still is, and Norfolk Street next to it still is. You’ll sit around with berets in Greenwich Village and talk to loose women.” Of course, mothers were very conventional, everything was very conventional. Everybody who lived on Suffolk Street would be the Suffolk Street Gang. All families love their children, and we were good boys. And of course, if the fellows caught me reading it or doing anything academic outside of school..., of course, it was astonishing to see this beautiful illustration in the newspaper, and it was so different from the ordinary comic. I didn’t think I was going to create any great masterpieces like Rembrandt or Gauguin. GROTH: What artists did you admire in your teen years? I admired anybody who could make a buck with his drawing. KIRBY: I was a good student in the subjects that I wanted to be good in. So I pick up this pulp magazine, and it’s and it’s got a rocket-ship on the cover, and I’d never seen a rocket-ship. ” I took it home and hid it under the pillow so nobody should know I was reading it. KIRBY: I taught myself how to draw, and I soon found out it was what I really wanted to do. Some artists may take it from other illustrations or duplicate what you’ve drawn, but it will never have that gut reality that’s instinctive in the artist. We used to hop from monument to monument chasing each other. If the other guy wants to fight and you knocked him out, you did your best for him. There was one time they knocked me out and laid me in front of my mother’s door. There was a store that built funeral monuments, and we used to run over those monuments.