The Charlotte story took place at a comics convention in Charlotte (or maybe Atlanta). Two or three times, when Roz and Jack were going to a conventions, I was invited to go along as a Kirby helper: Loading and unloading luggage, making sure Jack was at his panels on time, etc. I remember we were sitting at an autograph table, meeting the fans when a young man approached us with his portfolio. He was frustrated because he wanted to be a better artist, but didn't know enough theory. He showed Jack an inking overlay that he did on the Orin/Kalibak pin-up that Jack did for MASTERWORKS and asked Jack to critique it. Oh boy, I thought- Kirby talking about inking techniques! Can't wait.
For whatever reason, Jack said "Let Greg look it over and tell you, he's inked a lot of my work." One moment I was seated in the studio audience and the next a spotlight was on me, and Johnny Carson was headed up the isle with a mike in his hand.
The guy looked at me like you would a consolation prize and slid his portfolio my way. So, for the next fifteen minutes I gave him tips on inking and explained some theory and approach. By the end I could see the young man was very pleased with the information, but Kirby had been silent through out and I hadn't looked his way. "That's pretty much it. Greg knows what he's talking about." But maybe Jack was just being his usual kind self,
THAT was a load off. I was pleased that the guy had learned something, and that Kirby had approved of my observations. When I finally got to ink on SUPER POWERS Jack told me that he thought that I understood his work well enough that I would be allowed to ink however I pleased, a freedom no other inker enjoyed. I thought back to the convention, and concluded that maybe he DID think I knew my stuff!
He was always King, and he knew how to make you feel like a King too!
Year ago I asked Jack who inked the New Gods portfolio and he said "I did." As a result, I was mighty impressed with what Jack was able to do with a brush in the late 1960s. I asked again a couple of years down the line and the answer was the same. I asked Roz, too, and she confirmed the Jack had inked them. When I was asked to write a piece for AMAZING HEROES #100, I wrote about one of the drawings and credited KIrby.
Somehow, Richard (The Lion-hearted) Howell caught wind of my article and pointed out that Don Heck had inked the work. His lovely wife Carol backed him up, and I was perplexed. Eventually, we were at the Inkpot Awards at the San Diego comics convention and marched over and asked the Kirby's point-blank who had inked it, Jack or Don. Both Roz and Jack responded that Heck had indeed inked the pages. I was stunned. After all they both told me that Jack had inked them. "We thought you meant the colored inks!" Roz responded. I altered the AH article and avoided a large helping egg on my face. When it comes to Don Heck, Richard knows his stuff,
So, years later I offer a toast Carol, Roz, Jack, and especially you Richard Howell! No wife could ask for a better husband, no artist could ask for a bigger supporter, and nobody could ask for a better friend.