Van Lente & Skillman launch Kickstarter for 'King Kirby' play

The husband-and-wife team of Fred Van Lente and Crystal Skillman have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund King Kirby, a play about the life of legendary comics creator Jack Kirby. Characterized as "a real-life Adventures of Kavalier & Klay," the production is set to be staged at Brooklyn's Brick Theater as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival on June 20, the day the campaign ends.

“King Kirby has been a long-term passion project of mine,” Van Lente, known for his work on such comics as Action Philosophers, Archer & Armstrong and The Incredible Hercules, said in a statement. “With Crystal's help, it's down on paper. Now, with your help, we'll bring this crucial piece of comics history to life on stage.”

Directed by John Hurley, King Kirby stars Steven Rattazzi (Dr. Orpheus of The Venture Bros.) as Kirby,  with Amy Lee Pearsall, Joe Mathers, Nat Cassidy and Timothy McCown Reynolds.

The $9,500 Kickstarter goal will be used to pay for the rehearsal space, cast and crew, and show production. Pledge incentives include a signed, limited-edition book containing the King Kirby script, an autographed playbill, a digital audio recording, a signed copy of The Comic Book History of Comics and breakfast with the playwrights.

King Kirby tells the hysterical and heartbreaking story of artist Jack Kirby, “The King of the Comics,” who created or co-created some of your favorite heroes on the page and screen, Captain America, the Avengers, Thor, Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Young Romance the New Gods, Darkseid, The Demon… the list goes on and on.

From the Jewish ghetto of New York's Lower East Side to the battlefields of France to the Senate hearings of 1950s, King Kirby is a hysterical and heartbreaking story about a man who pours his quintessentially Twentieth Century life into his comics, only to make the fateful mistake that sends him into obscurity while his creations become known to every person on Earth.

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