Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby

Infobox Comics creator

imagesize =
caption = Kirby in 1982.
birthname = Jacob Kurtzberg
birthdate = birth date|1917|8|28|mf=y
location = New York City. New York
deathdate = death date and age|1994|02|6|1917|08|28
deathplace = Thousand Oaks, California
nationality = American
area = Penciller, Inker, Writer, Editor
alias = Jack Curtiss, Curt Davis, Ted Grey
notable works = Marvel Comics (Captain America, Fantastic Four, Hulk, X-Men), DC Comics (Fourth World)
awards = Alley Award
*Best Pencil Artist (1967), plus many awards for individual storiesShazam Award
*Special Achievement by an Individual (1971)

Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg, August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comic book artist, writer and editor.

Widely recognized as one of the most influential, recognizable, and prolific artists in comics, Kirby was the co-creator of such enduring characters and popular culture icons as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America, and hundreds of others stretching back to the earliest days of the medium. His most common nickname is "The King," and Kirby was inducted into comic books' Shazam Awards Hall of Fame in 1975. The Jack Kirby Award for achievement in comic books was named in his honor.

"The New York Times", in a Sunday op-ed piece written more than a decade after his death, said Kirby

His output was legendary, with one count estimating [cite web
last =
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authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Jack "The King" Kirby
work =
publisher = Atlas Tales
date = ©2003-2007
url = http://www.atlastales.com/cr/3
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accessdate = 2008-02-14
] that he produced over 25,000 pages, as well as hundreds of comic strips and sketches. He also produced paintings, and worked on concept illustrations for a number of Hollywood films.


Early life

Born to Jewish Austrian parents in New York City, Jack Kirby grew up on Suffolk Street in New York's Lower East Side area, attending elementary school at P.S. 20. His father, Benjamin, a garment-factory worker, was a Conservative Jew, and Jacob attended Hebrew school. Jacob's one sibling, a brother five years younger, predeceased him. After a rough-and-tumble childhood with much fighting among the kind of kid gangs he would render more heroically in his future comics (Fantastic Four's Jewish Ben Grimm was raised on rough-and-tumble Yancy Street, and was predeceased by his older brother; in addition to sharing Kirby's father's first name, his middle name is Jacob, Kirby's first name at birth). Kirby enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, at what he said was age 14, leaving after a week. "I wasn't the kind of student that Pratt was looking for. They wanted people who would work on something forever. I didn't want to work on any project forever. I intended to get things done". [Interview, "The Comics Journal" #134 (Feb. 1990), reprinted in George, Milo, ed., "The Comics Journal Library, Volume One: Jack Kirby" (Fantagraphics Books, 2002) ISBN 1-56097-466-4, p. 22]

Essentially self-taught,cite book |last=Evanier |first=Mark |authorlink=Mark Evanier |title=Kirby: King of Comics |year=2008 |publisher=Abrams |id=ISBN 081099447X |pages=228 pages, p. 34] Kirby cited among his influences the comic strip artists Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, and Alex Raymond, as well as such editorial cartoonists as C. H. Sykes, "Ding" Darling, and Rollin Kirby.

The Golden Age of Comics

Per his own sometimes-unreliable memory, Kirby joined the Lincoln Newspaper Syndicate in 1936, working there on newspaper comic strips and on single-panel advice cartoons such as "Your Health Comes First" (under the pseudonym "Jack Curtiss"). He remained until late 1939, then worked for the movie animation company Fleischer Studios as an "inbetweener" (an artist who fills in the action between major-movement frames) on "Popeye" cartoons. "I went from Lincoln to Fleischer," he recalled. "From Fleischer I had to get out in a hurry because I couldn't take that kind of thing," describing it as "a factory in a sense, like my father's factory. They were manufacturing pictures".Interview, "The Comics Journal" #134, reprinted in George, p. 24]

Around that time, the first American comic books appeared. Initially consisting solely of reprints of newspaper comic strips, these tabloid-size, 10-inch by convert|15|in|mm|sing=on publications soon began to include original material in comic-strip form. Kirby began writing and drawing for the comic-book packager Eisner & Iger, one of a handful of firms creating comics on demand for publishers. Through that company, Kirby did what he remembers as his first comic book work, for "Wild Boy Magazine". [Interview, "The Nostalgia Journal" #30 (Nov. 1976), reprinted in George, p. 3] This included such strips as the science fiction adventure "The Diary of Dr. Hayward" (under the pseudonym "Curt Davis"), the Western crimefighter strip "Wilton of the West" (as "Fred Sande"), the swashbuckler strip "The Count of Monte Cristo" (again as "Jack Curtiss"), and the humor strips "Abdul Jones" (as "Ted Grey)" and "Socko the Seadog" (as "Teddy"), all variously for "Jumbo Comics" and other Eisner-Iger clients. Kirby was also helpful beyond his artwork when he once frightened off a mobster who was strong-arming Eisner for their building's towel service. [Jones, Gerard. "Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book" (Basic Books, 2004; trade paperback ISBN 0-465-03657-0), pp. 197-198]

Kirby moved on to comic-book publisher and newspaper syndicator Fox Feature Syndicate, earning a then-reasonable $15 a week salary. He began exploring superhero narrative with the comic strip "The Blue Beetle" (Jan.-March 1940), starring a character created by the pseudonymous Charles Nicholas, a house name that Kirby retained for the three-month-long strip.

imon & Kirby

During this time, Kirby met and began collaborating with cartoonist and Fox editor Joe Simon, who in addition to his staff work continued to freelance. Speaking at a 1998 Comic-Con International panel in San Diego, California, Simon recounted the meeting:cquote
I had a suit and Jack thought that was really nice. He'd never seen a comic book artist with a suit before. The reason I had a suit was that my father was a tailor. Jack's father was a tailor too, but he made pants! Anyway, I was doing freelance work and I had a little office in New York about ten blocks from DC's and Fox [Feature Syndicate] 's offices, and I was working on "Blue Bolt" for Funnies, Inc. So, of course, I loved Jack's work and the first time I saw it I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He asked if we could do some freelance work together. I was delighted and I took him over to my little office. We worked from the second issue of "Blue Bolt"... [ [http://www.twomorrows.com/kirby/articles/25simon.html "More Than Your Average Joe"] (excerpts from Joe Simon's panels at 1998 Comi-Con International), "Jack Kirby Collector" #25 (Aug. 1999)]
and remained a team across the next two decades. In the early 2000s, original art for an unpublished, five-page Simon & Kirby collaboration titled "Daring Disc", which may predate the duo's "Blue Bolt", surfaced. Simon published the story in the 2003 updated edition of his autobiography, "The Comic Book Makers". [ [http://www.geocities.com/missile_bender/hoohah/simonandkirby.html "The First Simon and Kirby Story?"] , "Hoohah!" (no date)]

After leaving Fox and landing at pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman's Timely Comics (the future Marvel Comics ), the new Simon & Kirby team created the seminal patriotic hero Captain America in late 1940. Their dynamic perspectives, groundbreaking use of centerspreads, cinematic techniques and exaggerated sense of action made the title an immediate hit and rewrote the rules for comic book art.

Captain America became the first and largest of many hit characters the duo would produce. The Simon & Kirby name soon became synonymous with exciting superhero comics, and the two became industry stars whose readers followed them from title to title.

A financial dispute with Goodman led to their accepting an offer from Jack Liebowitz's National Comics, one of the precursors of DC Comics. Working on new ideas for National while still producing "Captain America", the two left after finishing ten issues of that title, and moved to National fulltime. Given a lucrative contract at their new home (although initially National seemed unsure how best to utilise their talents), Simon & Kirby took over the Sandman in "Adventure Comics", and scored their next hits with the "kid gang" teams the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos (evoking their Sentinels of Liberty gang from "Captain America"), and the superhero Manhunter.

Family and World War II

Kirby married Rosalind "Roz" Goldstein (September 25, 1922–December 22, 1998) on May 23, 1942. [Evanier, "King of Comics", p. 57] Kirby had met his future wife when the two families became neighbors in Brooklyn in the summer of 1940. The two began dating shortly after, and Jack proposed on her 18th birthday.Fact | date=October 2008

The couple would have four children: Susan (December 6, 1945 - ), Neal (May 1948 - ), Barbara (November 1952 - ) and Lisa (circa 1961-1962 - ). The same year that he married, he changed his name legally from Jacob Kurtzberg to Jack Kirby. The couple was living in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, when Kirby was drafted into the U.S. Army on June 7, 1943.cite book |last=Ro |first=Ronin |authorlink= |title=Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution |format=hardback |year=2004 |publisher=Bloomsbury |id=ISBN 1-58234-345-4 |pages=388 pages , p. 33] After basic training at Camp Stewart, near Atlanta, Georgia, he was assigned to Company F of the 11th InfantryEvanier, "King of Comics", p.67] and landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on August 23, 1944, two-and-a-half months D-Day, though Kirby's reminiscences would place his arrival just 10 days after. [Ro, p. 34] Kirby recalled that a lieutenant, learning that comics artist Kirby was in his command, made him a scout who would advance into towns and draw reconnaissance maps and pictures. [Ro, p. 35]

Kirby and his wife corresponded regularly by v-mail, with Roz sending "him a letter a day" while she worked in a lingerie shop and lived with her mother. [Ro, p. 40] During the winter of 1944, Kirby suffered severe frostbite on his lower extremities and was taken to a hospital in France for recovery. He returned to the United States in January 1945, assigned to Camp Butner in North Carolina,Evanier, "King of Comics", p. 69] and was honorably discharged as a private first class on July 20, 1945, [Ro, p. 42] returning soon afterward to his prewar partnership with Joe Simon.

Romance and other comics

As superhero comics waned in popularity after the end of World War II, Kirby and his partner began producing stories in a variety of genre, initially for Harvey Comics. There through the early 1950s, the Simon & Kirby team created such titles as the the kid-gang adventure "Boy Explorers Comics", the kid-gang Western "Boys' Ranch", and the superhero comics "Stuntman", and, in vogue with the fad for 3-D movies, "Captain 3-D". The duo additionally freelanced for Hillman Periodicals (the crime fiction comic "Real Clue Crime") and for Crestwood Publications. There they launched the crime-fiction comic "Justice Traps the Guility", and more significantly, created comics' first romantic fiction title: "Young Romance". [ [http://www.comicbookdb.com/title.php?ID=8416 ComicBookDb: "Young Romance"] . Accessed March 27, 2008. Earlier in 1947, Simon & Kirby had created a teen-humor title with romantic undertones: "My Date", for for Hillman Periodicals.]

Simon, inspired by Macfadden Publications' romantic-confession magazine "True Story", transplanted the idea to comic books and with Kirby created a first-issue mock-up of "Young Romance".Simon, Joe, with Jim Simon. "The Comic Book Makers" (Crestwood/II, 1990) ISBN 1-887591-35-4; reissued (Vanguard Productions, 2003) ISBN 1-887591-35-4, pp. 123-125] Showing it to Crestwood general manager Maurice Rosenfeld, Simon asked for 50% of the comic's profits. Crestwood publishers Teddy Epstein and Mike Bleier agreed, stipulating that the creators would take no money up front [Evanier, "King of Comics". p. 72] "Young Romance" #1 (Sept./Oct. 1947) "became Jack and Joe's biggest hit in years".Ro, p. 46] Indeed, the pioneering title sold a staggering 92% of its print runHowell, Richard, "Introduction" to "Real Love - The Best of the Simon and Kirby Romance Comics 1940s-1950s" (Eclipse Books, 1988)] inspiring Crestwood to increase the print run by the third issue to triple the initial number of copies. Initially published bimonthly, "Young Romance" quickly became a monthly title and produced the spin-off "Young Love" — together the two titles sold two million copies per month, according to Simon [Simon, p. 125] — later joined by "Young Brides" and "In Love", the latter "featuring full-length romance stories". The initial two titles were eventually sold to DC Comics.

Romance comics would reinvigorate the comics industry and appeal to female audiences over the next few years.Fact | date=September 2008 "Young Romance" spawned dozens of imitators from publishers such as "Timely, Fawcett, Quality, and even Fox Features Syndicate [who] delivered knockoffs like "Love Confessions", "Romance Tales", "True Stories of Romance", and "My Love Secret". Despite the glut, the Simon & Kirby romance titles continued to sell millions of copies a month, allowing the pair "to earn more than enough to buy their own homes". In addition, Kirby and Simon produced crime, horror (notably "Black Magic"), western and humor comics.

After Simon

thumb|left|210px|Wally Wood.]

The Kirby & Simon partnership ended amicably in 1955 with the failure of their own Mainline Publications, due in large part to the anti-comics movement, which rallied around Dr. Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent.Fact|date=August 2008 Simon left the industry for a career in advertising, while Kirby continued to freelance. He was instrumental in the creation of Archie Comics' "The Fly" and "The Double Life of Private Strong" reuniting briefly with Joe Simon. He also drew some issues of "Classics Illustrated".

For DC Comics, then known as National Comics, Kirby co-created with writers Dick and Dave Wood the non-superpowered adventuring quartet the Challengers of the Unknown in "Showcase" #6 (Feb. 1957), while also contributing to such anthologies as "House of Mystery". During 30 months at DC, Kirby drew slightly more than 600 pages, which included 11 six-page Green Arrow stories in "World's Finest Comics" and "Adventure Comics" that, in a rarity, Kirby inked himself. [Mark Evanier, Introduction, "The Green Arrow by Jack Kirby" (DC Comics, New York, 2001, ISBN 6194123064): "All were inked by Jack with the aid of his dear spouse, Rosalind. She would trace his pencil work with a static pen line; he would then take a brush, put in all the shadows and bold areas and, where necessary, heavy-up the lines she'd laid down. (Jack hated inking and only did it because he needed the money. After departing DC this time, he almost never inked his own work again.)"] Kirby recast the archer as a science-fiction hero, moving him away from his Batman-formula roots, but in the process alienating Green Arrow co-creator Mort Weisinger.Ro, p. 61] He also began drawing a newspaper comic strip, "Sky Masters of the Space Force", written by the Wood brothers and initially inked by the unrelated Wally Wood. [Evanier, "King of Comics", pp. 103-106]

Kirby left National Comics due largely to a contractual dispute in which editor Jack Schiff, who had been involved in getting Kirby and the Wood brothers the "Sky Masters" contract, claimed he was due royalties from Kirby's share of the strip's profits. Schiff sued Kirby and was successful at trial. [Evanier, "King of Comics", p. 109] Some DC editors also had criticized him over art details, such as not drawing "the shoelaces on a cavalry-man's boots" and showing a Native American "mounting his horse from the wrong side". [Ro, p. 91]

tan Lee and Marvel Comics

Kirby returned to work with Stan Lee on the cusp of the company's evolution from its 1950s incarnation as Atlas Comics (previously Timely Comics) to become Marvel. Inker Frank Giacoia approached Lee for work, but when informed that Atlas artists inked their own pencils, suggested he could "get Kirby back here to pencil some stuff".Ro, p. 60] Kirby was still working on DC's "Challengers of the Unknown", but also searching for work from other publishers, with little success. Continuing with DC on such titles as "House of Mystery" and "House of Secrets", he drew occasional stories for Atlas, including the Lone Ranger-like "Black Rider" and the Fu Manchu stand-in Yellow Claw. [Kirby's freelance work appeared in five issues cover-dated Dec. 1956 and Feb. 1957. They were "Astonishing" #56 (4 pp.), "Strange Tales of the Unusual" #7 (4 pp.), "Quick-Trigger Western" #16 (5 pp.), and "Yellow Claw" #2-3 (19 pp. each).]

After being sued by DC editor Jack Schiff over the comic strip "Sky Masters" (see above), Kirby returned full-time as an Atlas freelancer, with his first published work being the cover of and the seven-page story "I Discovered the Secret of the Flying Saucers" in "Strange Worlds" #1 (Dec. 1958). Initially with Christopher Rule as his regular inker, and later Dick Ayers, Kirby drew across all genres, from romance to war comics, crime stories to Westerns, but made his mark primarily with a series of supernatural-fantasy and science fiction stories featuring giant, drive-in movie-style monsters with names like Groot, the Thing from Planet X; Grottu, King of the Insects; and Fin Fang Foom for the company's many anthology series, such as "Amazing Adventures", "Strange Tales", "Tales to Astonish", "Tales of Suspense", and "World of Fantasy". His bizarre designs of powerful, unearthly creatures proved a hit with readers.

Then, with Marvel editor-in-chief Lee, Kirby began working on superhero comics again, beginning with "The Fantastic Four" #1 (Nov. 1961). The landmark series became a hit that revolutionized the industry with its comparative naturalism and, eventually, a cosmic purview informed by Kirby's seemingly boundless imagination — one coincidentally well-matched with the consciousness-expanding youth culture of the 1960s.

For almost a decade, Kirby provided Marvel's house style, co-creating with Stan Lee many of the Marvel characters and designing their visual motifs. At Lee's request, he often provided new-to-Marvel artists "breakdown" layouts , over which they would pencil in order to become acquainted with the Marvel look. As artist Gil Kane described,

Highlights besides the Fantastic Four include Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man, the original X-Men, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Galactus, The Watcher, Magneto, Ego the Living Planet, the Inhumans and their hidden city of Attilan, and the Black Panther — comics' first known Black superhero — and his African nation of Wakanda. Simon & Kirby's Captain America was also incorporated into Marvel's continuity.

In 1968 and 1969, Joe Simon was involved in litigation with Marvel Comics over the ownership of Captain America, initiated by Marvel after Simon registered the copyright renewal for Captain America in his own name. According to Simon, Kirby agreed to support the company in the litigation and, as part of a deal Kirby made with publisher Martin Goodman, signed over to Marvel any rights he might have had to the character. [Simon, p. 205]

Kirby continued to expand the medium's boundaries, devising photo-collage covers and interiors, developing new drawing techniques such as the method for depicting energy fields now known as "Kirby Dots," and other experiments. Yet he grew increasingly dissatisfied with working at Marvel. There have been a number of reasons given for this dissatisfaction, including resentment over Stan Lee's increasing media prominence, a lack of full creative control, anger over breaches of perceived promises by publisher Martin Goodman, and frustration over Marvel's failure to credit him specifically for his story plotting and for his character creations and co-creations.Fact|date=August 2008 He began to both script and draw some secondary features for Marvel, such as "The Inhumans" in "Amazing Adventures" and horror stories for the anthology title "Chamber of Darkness", and received full credit for doing so; but he eventually left the company in 1970 for rival DC Comics, under editorial director Carmine Infantino.

Later life and career

DC Comics

Kirby returned to DC in late 1970, on a "five-year deal... a three year contract with an option for two more",Fact|date=August 2008 with an arrangement that gave him full creative control as editor, writer and artist.Fact|date=August 2008 He produced a series of inter-linked titles under the blanket sobriquet "The Fourth World" including a trilogy of new titles, "New Gods", "Mister Miracle", and "The Forever People", as well as the Superman title, "Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen". Kirby picked the latter book because the series was without a stable creative team and he did not want to cost anyone a job. [Evanier, Mark. "Afterword." "Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus": Volume 1, New York: DC Comics, 2007.] The central villain of the Fourth World series, Darkseid, and some of the Fourth World concepts, appeared in "Jimmy Olsen" before the launch of the other Fourth World books, giving the new titles greater exposure to potential buyers.

Kirby later produced other DC titles such as "OMAC", "Kamandi", "The Demon", and, together with former partner Joe Simon for one last time, a new incarnation of the Sandman. Several characters from this period have since become fixtures in the DC Universe, including the demon Etrigan and his human counterpart Jason Blood; Scott Free (Mister Miracle), and the cosmic villain Darkseid.

Return to Marvel

Kirby then returned to Marvel Comics where he both wrote and drew "Captain America" and created the series "The Eternals", which featured a race of inscrutable alien giants, the Celestials, whose behind-the-scenes intervention influenced the evolution of life on Earth. Kirby’s other Marvel creations in this period include "Devil Dinosaur", "Machine Man", and an adaptation and expansion of the movie "". He also wrote and drew "The Black Panther" and did numerous covers across the line.

Film and animation

Still dissatisfied with Marvel's treatment of him, and with the company's refusal to provide health and other employment benefits,Fact|date=August 2008 Kirby left Marvel to work in animation. In that field, he did designs for "Turbo Teen", "Thundarr the Barbarian" and other animated television series. He also worked on "The Fantastic Four" cartoon show, reuniting him with scriptwriter Stan Lee. He illustrated an adaptation of the Walt Disney movie "The Black Hole" for "Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales" syndicated comic strip in 1979-80.

In 1979, Kirby drew concept art for film producer Barry Geller's script treatment adapting Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, "Lord of Light", for which Geller had purchased the rights. Geller, who additionally imagined using Kirby's set designs for a Colorado theme park to be called Science Fiction Land, announced his plans at a November press conference attended by Kirby, former NFL American football star and prospective cast-member Rosey Grier, and others. While the film did not come to fruition, Kirby's drawings were used for the C.I.A.'s "Canadian caper", in which some members of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, who had avoided capture in the Iran hostage crisis, were able to escape the country posing as members of a movie location-scouting crew. [ [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.05/feat_cia.html Bearman, Joshuah. "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran"] , "Wired" issue 15.05, posted April 4, 2007.]

Independent comics

In the early 1980s, Pacific Comics, a new, non-newsstand comic book publisher, made a then-groundbreaking deal with Kirby to publish his series "Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers": Kirby would retain copyright over his creation and receive royalties on it.Fact|date=August 2008 This, together with similar actions by other independent comics publishers as Eclipse Comics where he co-created Destroyer Duck to help Steve Gerber fight in his case versus Marvel, helped establish a precedent to end the monopoly of the work for hire system, wherein comics creators, even freelancers, had owned no rights to characters they created.

Kirby also retained ownership of characters used by Topps Comics beginning in 1993,Fact|date=August 2008 for a set of series in what the company dubbed "The Kirbyverse". These titles were derived mainly from designs and concepts that Kirby had kept in his files, some intended initially for the by-then-defunct Pacific Comics, and then licensed to Topps for what would become the "Jack Kirby's Secret City Saga" mythos.

Kirby died at age 76 of heart failure in his Thousand Oaks, California home.

Awards and honors

Jack Kirby received a great deal of recognition over the course of his career, including the 1967 Alley Award for Best Pencil Artist. The following year he was runner-up behind Jim Steranko. His other Alley Awards were:
*1963: Favorite Short Story - "The Human Torch Meets Captain America,", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, "Strange Tales" #114
*1964: Best Novel - "Captain America Joins the Avengers", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, from "The Avengers" #4
*1964: Best New Strip or Book - "Captain America", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, in "Tales of Suspense"
*1965: Best Short Story - "The Origin of the Red Skull", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, "Tales of Suspense" #66
*1966: Best Professional Work, Regular Short Feature - "Tales of Asgard" by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, in "The Mighty Thor"
*1967: Best Professional Work, Regular Short Feature - (tie) "Tales of Asgard" and "Tales of the Inhumans", both by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, in "The Mighty Thor"
*1968: Best Professional Work, Best Regular Short Feature - "Tales of the Inhumans", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, in "The Mighty Thor"
*1968: Best Professional Work, Hall of Fame - "Fantastic Four", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby; "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.", by Jim Steranko [Mark Hanerfeld, who counted the votes, first listed "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." as the winner. Later, he noticed that he had counted votes for a) "Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby", b) "Fantastic Four by Stan Lee", and c) "Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby", separately. Had they been counted as one feature, these votes combined would have given the "Fantastic Four" the victory.]

Kirby won a Shazam Award for Special Achievement by an Individual in 1971 for his "Fourth World" series in "Forever People", "New Gods", "Mister Miracle", and "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen". He was inducted into the Shazam Awards Hall of Fame in 1975.

Capcom's versus fighting game "Marvel Super Heroes" features a dedication to Kirby in the end credits, as Kirby died just before the game's release in 1995.

His work was honored posthumously with the 1998 Harvey Award for Best Domestic Reprint Project, for "Jack Kirby's New Gods" by Jack Kirby, edited by Bob Kahan.

The Jack Kirby Awards and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame were named in his honor.

With Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Gary Panter and Chris Ware, Kirby was among the artists honored in the exhibition "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum in New York City, New York, from Sept. 16, 2006 to Jan. 28, 2007.


The rooftop fighting and urban action were common in Kirby's superhero comics. They were drawn from Kirby's Depression-era youth on New York’s Lower East Side. In an interview, Kirby related that the conflict among rival gangs was incessant. The fighting was often staged up and down the tenement fire escapes, as well as in running battles across the neighborhood rooftops. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/opinion/26sun3.html?th&emc=th Jack Kirby, a Comic Book Genius, Is Finally Remembered - New York Times ] ]

The most imitated aspect of Kirby's work has been his exaggerated perspectives and dynamic energy. Less easy to imitate have been the expressive body language of his characters, who embrace each other and charge into everything from battle to pancakes Fact|date=September 2008 with unselfconscious exuberance; and such constantly forward-looking innovations as the then cutting-edge photomontages he often used. The "Kirby Crackle" is the often imitated technique of visually depicting crackling energy using an arrangement of black dots. He (along with fellow Marvel creator Steve Ditko) pioneered the use of visible minority characters in comic books, and Kirby co-created the first black superhero at Marvel (the African prince the Black Panther) and created DC's first two black superheroes: Vykin the Black in "The Forever People" #1 (March 1971) and the Black Racer in "The New Gods" #3 (July 1971).

Kirby’s daughter, Lisa Kirby, announcedFact|date=February 2007 in early 2006 that she and co-writer Steve Robertson, with artist Mike Thibodeaux, plan to publish via the Marvel Comics Icon imprint, a six-issue miniseries, "Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters", featuring characters and concepts created by her father. The series has been reprinted in both hardcover and paperback.

Several Kirby images are among those on the "Marvel Super Heroes" set of commemorative stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service on 27 July 2007. [ [http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007stamps/#marvel "Postal Service Previews 2007 Commemorative Stamp Program" (Oct. 25, 2006 press release)] ] Ten of the stamps are portraits of individual Marvel characters and the other 10 stamps depict individual Marvel Comic book covers. According to the credits printed on the back of the pane, Jack Kirby's artwork is featured on: Captain America, The Thing, Silver Surfer, Amazing Spider-Man #1, The Incredible Hulk #1, Captain America #100, X-Men #1, and Fantastic Four #3. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/opinion/26sun3.html?th&emc=th Jack Kirby, a Comic Book Genius, Is Finally Remembered - New York Times ] ] [ [http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007stamps/ USPS - The 2007 Commemorative Stamp Program ] ]


*In the episode "The Forever War" of the 1998-1999 Fox Kids animated television series "The Silver Surfer", an alien general offers the Surfer a beverage "made from the finest grapes in the Kirby Cluster."

*Jacob Krigstein, a character in "The Authority" comic books, is inspired by Jack Kirby.

*Rock group Monster Magnet referenced Kirby's cultural impact in their song, "Melt", which includes the lyrics, "I was thinking how the world should have cried/On the day Jack Kirby died."

*Jazz percussionist Gregg Bendian's group Interzone recorded a tribute album, "Requiem for Jack Kirby", in 2001.

*In "Fantastic Four" #511 (May 2004), when the team went to Heaven, God — depicted as an artist sitting at a drawing board — closely resembled Jack Kirby, the characters' co-creator.

*The mid-1980s independent comic "Boris the Bear" satirized the conflict between Kirby and Marvel Comics over the rights to Kirby's creations. The eponymous Boris was given the "Cosmic Can Opener of Kir-By" with instructions to right the wrongs done against an entity known as "The King". Boris confronts "Jim Spouter" (a parody of Jim Shooter, then editor-in-chief at Marvel), who sets The King's own creations against Boris. Spouter, eventually defeated sets off in a huff to create "the "Phew Universe", over which The King would have no control.

*In the animated television series, "", the supporting character Dan Turpin, created by Kirby in the comic book "New Gods", is modeled visually after Kirby. Episodes #38-39, titled "Apokolips Now," were dedicated to Kirby's memory.

*The 1986 comic "Donatello" #1, a one shot centering around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character Donatello told the story of "Kirby and the Warp Crystal". It featured a character, based on Jack Kirby, whose drawings came to life. When Donatello goes into this artist's fantasy world, he finds characters based on the New Gods. The comic was made into an episode of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" 2003 animated series, "The King" which was also dedicated to him.

*Also, in a proposal for a character in the fourth live action TMNT movie (which was never produced), a fifth Turtle named Kirby was designed, who was named after Jack."Kevin Eastman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artobiography", ISBN 1882931858]

*In the fourth volume of Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there is a hospital called Kurtzburg Memorial Hospital which caters specifically to super beings, mutants and other special cases. It is said in one issue that some of the super beings refer to Kurtzburg as the "father of us all".

*In Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a supplement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, an example alternate dimension has a man named Kirby King with a pen that gives him the ability to draw creations that come to life. A note before his stats says it is an homage to Jack "King" Kirby.

*In Kurt Busiek's comic-book series "Astro City", many Kirby references and tributes appear, such as a mountain called Mount Kirby, and the character Silver Agent, who a pastiche of Captain America, the Guardian, and Silver Star.

*Alan Moore's final storyline in "Supreme: The Return" features a character known as King, an inhabitant of Idea Space, who is clearly modeled after Kirby and is heralded by Kirby dots. The storyline features tributes to characters Kirby created or had a hand in defining, such as the Newsboy Legion, Guardian, the New Gods, and Doctor Doom.

*In the series "Mage" one of the supporting characters is named "Kirby Hero".

*The look of the adult swim animated television series "Minoriteam" is an homage to Kirby's art style. He is credited as "The King" in the show's end credits.

*In the Batman Animated series Etrigan the Demon allies with Batman and during a battle scene the window to KIRBY'S BAKERY is smashed.

*The 1995 movie "Crimson Tide" features a scene in which submarine sailors brawl over a disagreement as to whether the Silver Surfer as drawn by Kirby was better than the version drawn by Moebius. Second-in-command Ron Hunter (played by Denzel Washington) finally announces, "Now, everyone who reads comic books knows that the Kirby Silver Surfer is the only true Silver Surfer. Now, am I right or wrong?"

*Episodes late in the 2006-2007 season of the NBC superhero TV series "Heroes" include New York City scenes set at the fictional Kirby Plaza.

*Kirby appeared in an episode of "Sabrina, the Animated Series," in which he is idolized by Sabrina's friend Harvey. Harvey meets "Jack" at a comic book convention.

*He appeared in an episode of the TV series "The Incredible Hulk" as a sketch artist at a police station. He does a sketch of the Hulk as described by an eyewitness, and of course the drawing he does looks like one of his early illustrations of the character.

*In the Marvel title She-Hulk, the titular character is employed in her civilian identity by the law firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway, Kurtzburg being the birth surname of Jack Kirby.

*In the 2003 film "Daredevil", a forensic analyst by the name of Jack Kirby is portrayed by Daredevil comic author Kevin Smith.

*The Freedom Force (2002 video game) franchise of video & computer games features characters designed in the style of Jack Kirby's art.


Al Williamson: "If you told me or most of my buddies to draw fifty spaceships, they'd all look like they were built in the same plant. If Jack drew fifty spaceships, they'd look like they were built by fifty different alien races." [ [http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2006_08_28.html#011987 Williamson, quoted in column News from Me (Aug. 28, 2006): "Happy Jack Kirby Day", by Mark Evanier] ]

Joe Simon: "My favorite artist was Lou Fine. He was also Jack Kirby's favorite artist. I know that Jack was a fan of and greatly influenced by Fine’s work." [ [http://www.comicartville.com/loufine.htm Comicartville Library: "Lou Fine", by Jon Berk] (no date)]

elected bibliography


* "Captain America Comics" (Golden Age) #1–10 (1941-1942)
* Various issues of "pre-superhero Marvel" science-fiction/fantasy stories in "Amazing Adventures", "Journey into Mystery", "Strange Tales", "Tales of Suspense", "Tales to Astonish", "Strange Worlds" and "World of Fantasy" (1958 to early 1960s)
* "Fantastic Four" #1–102 (1961-1970)
* "Incredible Hulk" #1–5 (1962-1963)
* "X-Men" #1–17 + Annual 1 (1963-1965)
* "Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos" #1–7 (1963-1964)
* "Avengers" #1–8 (1963-1964), #14–17 (1965)
* "The Mighty Thor" #126–177,179 (1966-70; continued from "Journey into Mystery")
* "Captain America" (modern) #100–109 (1968-1969; continued from "Tales of Suspense"), #193–214 (1976-1977)
* "The Eternals" #1–19 + Annual 1 (1976-1978)
* "The Black Panther" #1–12 (1977-1978)
* "Devil Dinosaur" #1–9 (1978)
* "Machine Man" #1–9 (1978)
* "" #1–10 (1976)


* "Challengers of the Unknown" #1–8 (May 1958 - July 1959)
* "Adventure Comics" #250–256 (July 1958 - January 1959)
* "World's Finest" #96–99 (September 1958 - February 1959)
* "Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen" #133–148 (1970-1972)
* "Forever People" #1–11 (1971-1972)
* "New Gods" #1–11 (1971-1972)
* "Mister Miracle" #1–18 (1971-1974)
* "The Demon" #1–16 (1972-1974)
* "" #1–40 (1972-1976)
* "The Sandman" #1,4-6 (1974-1976)
* "OMAC #1–8 (1974)
* "Justice, Inc." #2–4 (July-November 1975)
* "1st Issue Special" #1,5,6 (April, Aug.-Sept. 1975)


* [ Audio of Merry Marvel Marching Society record] , including voice of Jack Kirby



* [http://kirbymuseum.org The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center]
* George, Milo, ed., "The Comics Journal Library, Volume One: Jack Kirby" (Fantagraphics Books, 2002) ISBN 1-56097-466-4
*cite book |last=Ro |first=Ronin |authorlink= |title=Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution |format=hardback |year=2004 |publisher=Bloomsbury |id=ISBN 1-58234-345-4 |pages=388 pages
*cite book |last=Evanier |first=Mark |authorlink=Mark Evanier |title=Kirby: King of Comics |format=hardback |year=2008 |publisher=Abrams |id=ISBN 081099447X |pages=228 pages
*comicbookdb|type=creator|id=100|title=Jack Kirby
* [http://www.povonline.com/Jack%20Kirby.htm POV Online: "Jack Kirby", by Mark Evanier] (includes Jack Kirby FAQ)
* [http://www.maelmill-insi.de/UHBMCC/ The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators]
* [http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/kirbyjack.htm Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Jack Kirby]

External links

* [http://home.att.net/~mrmorse/nytimes20030827kirb.html "The New York Times" (Aug. 27, 2003): "Jack Kirby Heroes Thrive in Comic Books and Film", by Elvis Mitchell]
* [http://twomorrows.com/kirby/articles/10roz.html "Roz Kirby Interview Excerpts", "The Jack Kirby Collector" #10 (April 1966)]
* [http://www.pitch.com/2001-04-19/culture/custody-battle/ Wilonsky, Robert. "Custody Battle: Marvel Comics isn't going to give up Captain America without a fight"] "The Pitch" April 19, 2001
* [http://www.simoncomics.com/ Official Joe Simon site]

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