Back in 1991 while attending the San Diego Comic Con, I had a long conversation (well for me 30″ is long) with famed artist Jack Kirby. We spoke about Sgt, Fury (my favorite character) and a few other things related to comic characters he drew, conceived and wrote stories about. He even signed a few comic books for me. But he also denied my request for his autograph on my Captain America #100. He was pleasant in explaining his rationale. He stated that Captain America was a collaborative creation of his and Joe Simon back in the early 1940’s. When Marvel had Captain America with his own title, Jack was mildly upset that Stan Lee and Marvel had presented the Cap as their creation along with Jack’s. Jack had wanted to write and draw the reborn Captain America, but it didn’t go as planned. After several years, Jack felt that by autographing Captain America #100, he would be lending credibilty to Stan Lee and Marvel’s involvement in the development of Captain America’s character, when in fact, it was Jack and Joe Simon who came up with the character.
While much has been said about artist’s owned characters, Jack was ahead of his time and certainly would have profited greatly had he owned the character rights to Captain America. But to see others take credit (and money) from his creation was too insulting later in his career. Therefore, he withheld autographing Captain America #100 as his form of silent protest.
Now think about it for a minute. When was the last time you actually saw, in person, a comic book signed by the great late Jack Kirby? Twenty years ago, you could find one with a little searching. But now, any comic book signed by Jack is a rare find. Compared to books signed by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby signed books are far rarer, and far more valuable. Jack’s autograph on a comic book is worth at least $400, plus the value of the comic book. But on comic books that are the #1 issue of any certain title, it is extremely rare! And to find one on Captain America #100, is well.. near impossible.
I was fortunate to find a Captain America #100 signed by Jack. I am debating whether to sell it, or simply hold on to this little treasure. I will be sending it off to CBCS for grading and signature authentication. I know it is genuine, but to insure it, it needs to be graded and authenticated. I suspect the book will grade somewhere around a 7.0 with off white pages and an authentic autograph. What is it worth you ask? Well, $2000 would be a conservative number. I cannot recall seeing a Captain America #100 signed by Jack. Even after finding out about this “secret silent protest”, I scoured many comic shows and websites looking for the book, to no avail.
But I thought I would share this little tidbit to my readers, to see if they have seen such a copy, or possibly own one. If you do own one, well, hold on to it. You may never see another in the near future.