Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jack Kirby of Marvel Comics and UCSC's 1969 Julius Caesar production

"A top-ranking comic book artist designs the costumes for college Shakespearean drama!!!!" --"Peninsula Living," May 3, 1969

In 1969 Sheldon Feldner, UCSC Professor of Theater Arts, decided to stage Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He had recently become a fan of Marvel Comics, and on a whim, he wrote to the president of the company, Stan Lee. Lee referred him to famed Marvel artist Jack Kirby, who had recently moved to Irvine, in Southern California. Kirby was happy to collaborate, providing costume sketches and a design for the publicity poster and program.
The University Theatre Company performed the play May 15-25, 1969. The Cowell yearbook of 1969, "Markings", contains two pages of photographs of the production, and our "UCSC Campus History" collection includes several behind-the-scenes photos. The best discussion of Kirby's role, however, is at the Kirby Museum weblog. They have published many of the costume designs in color, along with press clippings. Check it out!
Photos: ua0050_neg_06193d_05 and a0050_neg_06193c_25