Value Added

Chris Sims’ “How Jack Kirby’s Art Helped the CIA Rescue Diplomats in 1979” is an exemplary case of the “value added” principal of blogging.

During the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, when many other U.S. embassy personnel were taken captive, six U.S. diplomats in Teheran were hidden by Canadians til intelligence agencies got them out. Instead of a stealthy escape by night, the plan chosen involved a fake movie production company, brazen publicity, Jack Kirby art and a story by Roger Zelazny.

The CIA’s own lengthy account of the adventure, first published in 2000, has been available online since 2007. The trouble is, the specifics about the comics and science fiction connections were glossed over in a single anonymous paragraph:

This script fit our purpose beautifully, particularly because no uninitiated person could decipher its complicated story line. The script was based on an award-winning sci-fi novel. The producers had also envisioned building a huge set that would later become a major theme park. They had hired a famous comic-strip artist to prepare concepts for the sets. This gave us some good “eyewash” to add to a production portfolio.

Chris Sims has taken the CIA story and — for the edification of his fellow fans – traced the backstory of the stfnal props in that portfolio. The never-made movie based on Roger Zelazny’s Hugo-winning Lord of Light. Jack Kirby’s production designs for the never-built SF theme park. Great stuff.

[Thanks to Joel Zakem for the story.]

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