Mike Towry: From Jack Kirby to San Diego Comic Con

Mike Towry helped found San Diego Comic Con in 1969. His story of how he and a group of friends met Jack Kirby, Ray Bradbury, and started what would become one of the largest geek conventions in the world is heroic. The fact he was just 14 years old, and an early comic book collector, only makes his story more impressive.

This photo was taken during the first visit to see Jack Kirby on November 9, 1969 at the Kirby-family home in Irvine, California. From left to right: Richard Alf, Wayne Kincaid, Jack “King” Kirby, Mike Towry (in back), Dan Stewart, Bob Sourk, Barry Alfonso (in front), and Sylvia Alfonso (Barry’s mom). Richard, Dan, Bob, Barry, and Mike Towry were the ones who co-founded Comic-Con with Shel Dorf. Mike was 14 in this photo, Barry was 12, and Richard was 17.

Mike shard his adventures from placing ads in Marvel comics, the advent of comic book bags, and how Jack Kirby would turn the intrepid founders into comic book characters will make any geek smile.

From Jimmy Olsen #144, which was written and drawn by Jack Kirby as part of his Kirby’s Fourth World series for DC. This introduces the San Diego Five String Mob, which were based on five San Diego Comic fans who worked on Comic-Con. Clockwise from the bottom: Mike Towry (the blond-haired drummer), Roger Freedman, Will Lund, Scott Shaw, and John Pound.

Mike also co-founded San Diego Comic Fest. The next Comic Fest will be February 12-16, 2016. Mike is lining up great guests, including Bryan and Mary Talbot, Mike Royer, and other fantastic speakers. We plan to be there with a very new presentation. Stay tune.