Happy Birthday to the King, Jack Kirby
Today marks what would be Jack Kirby’s 106th birthday. The man, along with Steve Ditko and Don Heck, with helped defined Marvel’s signature look during the Silver Age. Jack Kirby co-created many of the Marvel heroes people love—Captain America, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-men and many more.
His time at Marvel would often be met without proper credit and was often overlooked by the media in favor of the much more charismatic Stan Lee, Kirby’s frequent collaborator. I highly recommend checking out Josie Riesman’s biography on Stan Lee, True Believer to get a look at Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s dynamic over the years.
The narrative surrounding Jack’s time at Marvel has changed in recent decades as more fans learn about how much Kirby (and others for that matter) put into comics under the Marvel Method compared to Stan’s own input.
To honor his birthday I wanted to share some of my favorite comics by the King over the years.
Kirby’s use of collages and other multimedia technique were transformative for comics. This page from Fantastic Four #51 really showcases Kirby’s proficiency with collages.
Kirby would often exaggerate anatomy and the figure to enhance the emotion and sense of scale.
To bring things to an end I wanted to share a recent comic I managed to pick up. Fantastic Four #59 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is rare to find a Kirby/ Lee comic in the wild but I am glad to have this one in my collection.
The issue details the Inhumans escape from the Negative Zone barrier while Doctor Doom runs amok with the stole. Silver Surfer’s Powers Cosmic. It is just a masterful comic and the pages are just breath taking.
Happy birthday to The King. Go read some classics in his honor.