Today is the anniversary of Jack Kirby‘s birthday. His contributions to comics– both in terms of characters and stylistic conventions– have rightly earned him the nickname “King.” I first discovered his artwork pretty much right as I discovered comics, at a time when he was working for Marvel in the mid 1970s. While his Captain America was a little too out there for this 10-year old, I couldn’t deny the power of his artwork. At that time it was gracing many Marvel titles, from characters he created such as Fantastic Four and The Avengers to newer heroes such as a favorite of mine, Nova. The fact that interior art on many of those comics were provided by more conventional– though by no means not also great– artists such as George Perez and John Buscema made for a great package and they remain some of my favorite comics from that era. I later came to appreciate Kirby’s work more fully through his creations at DC just before I started reading comics: the New Gods cycle and Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, are amazing comics to behold. Like his later creation for Marvel, The Eternals, these works were able to (largely) stand on their own without interference from other editors or a need to adhere to line-wide continuity concerns. They are definitely worth checking out, especially since many of them have been collected in trade editions within the last decade.
Last year around this time I created the above piece for Jason Garrattley’s annual Jack Kirby birthday celebration on the Jack Kirby Museum‘s Kirby-Vision blog. It was a blast to do, and while this summer’s project (which is progressing quite nicely, thanks for asking) has kept me too busy to celebrate, I plan to do it again next year to celebrate Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday!