August 28th would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday. This column is not going to recap his story so much, as there are a ton of articles and celebrations from people that actually knew the man, I only had the pleasure of “knowing” him through his work. And what an incredible volume of work and genres he created or co created along his journey in becoming the King of Comics.
Now if you are a comics fan who never had the pleasure of growing up in the Silver Age (1956-1970) you never had the pleasure of waiting for the next issue of new Jack Kirby art. I came along at the peak of the Silver Age, buying my first Jack Kirby comic off the stands with Fantastic Four #76 “Stranded in Sub Atomica”. My introduction to the FF coming from the 1967 Fantastic Four cartoon show. I was instantly hooked! There was something different about this artist than any other artists of the time, and it was in his incredible dynamic characters and layouts that just exploded off the page.
I quickly became the collector of everything I could get my hands on, gobbling up back issues from Robert Bell and Howard Rogofsky and several other dealers that were listed in the ad pages of Marvel Comics.
As I am sure that most of you know the magnitude of the characters he created/co-created I won’t list them all here, but when you look at the multi billion dollars that have been generated alone by the Marvel Comic Universe at your local Cinema, it is mind blowing to say the least at the fact that none of this would be happening without Jack Kirby. No Iron-Man, Avengers, Ant-man and the Wasp, and on and on. Even the characters he didn’t create (Guardians of the Galaxy) feature his created Worlds! Kree, Skrull, Him( Adam Warlock), Thor, Hulk, and all the cast of characters that are also figure heavily in the supporting cast of characters.
The World’s Greatest Artist Edition just was released in mid August to coincide with Jack’s 100th, and what a treat it is.The twice up size is a hard to handle cumbersome volume that is filled with more magic from the King than you can shake a stick at. Featuring artwork from as early as issue #3 and artwork that showcases the varying styles of the many inkers that graced Kirby’s powerful pencils, and highlights exactly why Joe Sinnott stood so tall on his amazing tenure on the FF. My heart raced when I looked through the scans of the original art from this volume and once again I was the 10 year old kid trying to wrap my head around the staggering energy that is Jack Kirby in the Silver Age.
Marvel is releasing some of Kirby’s greatest characters in easily affordable $1.00 comics to hopefully introduce a whole new generation of Kirby fans.Here is the list.
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Black Panther #1; Reprinting Black Panther (1977) #1 and the Captain America story from Tales of Suspense (1959) #98
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Captain America Lives Again! #1; Reprinting Avengers (1963) #4
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Groot #1; Reprinting the Groot story from Tales to Astonish (1959) #13 and the Xemnu story from Journey Into Mystery(1952) #62
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Thor Vs. Hulk #1; Reprinting Journey Into Mystery (1952) #112
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Introducing…The Mighty Thor! #1; Reprinting the Thor story from Journey Into Mystery (1952) #83 and the Loki story from Journey Into Mystery (1952) #85
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Captain America #1; Reprinting Captain America Comics (1941) #1 and the Captain America story from Tales of Suspense (1959) #63
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Eternals #1; Reprinting Eternals (1976) #1
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Avengers: Devil Dinosaur #1; Reprinting Devil Dinosaur (1978) #1
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Nick Fury #1; Reprinting material from Strange Tales #135 and #141
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Inhumans #1; Reprinting material from Amazing Adventures (1970) #1-2
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Iron Man #1; Reprinting the Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense (1959) #40-41
- True Believers: Kirby 100th – Ant-Man and The Wasp #1; Reprinting the Ant-Man story from Tales to Astonish (1959) #44
DC is releasing 6 one shots featuring Kirby’s DC characters as well.
So, let’s tip our hat to the genius that is Jack Kirby! What an incredible imagination and talent.
It is truly a shame that one of his greatest creations is no longer being published. The Fantastic Four has been defeated, not by Galactus or Dr. Doom, but by the business interests of both Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox. However, as in the Halcyon days of the Silver Age of Comics, this too “Shall be Continued”.
So go grab yourself a copy of the Worlds Greatest Artists Edition and turn into that wide eyed ten year old kid again!
Thank you Jack Kirby!
Continued Happy Collecting!
Jack Kirby Fantastic Four Worlds Greatest Artist Ed HC
from: Things From Another World
I think my biggest regret approaching Jack’s birthday is the fact that Marvel has done dollar reprints of many of his greatest creations, but chose not to include even one Fantastic Four issue (#1 or 51 come to mind as great choices). Their continued snub to the fans who have followed the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine since 1961 is the major reason I have turned my back on the company for good. Make mine Image!
I was also a bit miffed that DC has chosen to have other creators cover Jack’s creations with a small addition of original Kirby material all for the great, great bargain price of $4.99!? Thanks but no thanks. Go plan your next relaunch.
I will be handing out a lot of those cheap Marvel books on the 28th to the kids in our building, many of whom I have mercilessly hooked on comics in hopes that they might one day be a sixty-something guy who still has the super power to become six years old every Wednesday.
I hear you Mel.Hard to believe not a single issue of FF out of the twelve reprints Marvel is doing.We were the lucky ones.The joy of experiencing the monthly release of “must have” books is a joy I would love to see return to a new generation of comic fans.That is why I keep shelling out the dollars for the Artist Editions just to be thrilled once again by the wonders of sequential storytelling.
Make Mine Image! I love your tag line.They are putting out some of the most refreshing books aren’t they?
Can you imagine the turn Jack’s career might have taken if he could have worked with a company like Image? I mean, with titles as diverse as Walking Dead, Lazarus, Black Monday Murders, Low, Bitch Planet (?!), Velvet, Chew, Outcast and more, the sky’s the limit, and, better still, Jack would have had absolute control over his product.The world of comics would no doubt be a much better place if that had been the case.
All of the creator owned titles owe an awful lot to Jack … and Neal Adams as well.That’s’ where this all creator owned stuff all started!
Yeah, I see your point about the creator-owned revolution being fomented by the likes of Jack and Neal Adams.
Jack was also the guy who said “one day you’ll see comic art hanging in museums” and lived to see that prediction come true. What a thrill that must have been for this giant of the industry.
He truly was a visionary artist.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, but Two Morrows Publishing has put out a great Kirby tribute, featuring testimonials, tribute pieces, original art, personal photos and anecdotes from some of today’s comic art greats. Because TwoMorrows publishes The Kirby Collector you might well imagine the amount of gorgeous original Kirby art included. Some of the best eye candy I have seen in a long time.
For Jack’s birthday, I have done a portrait of the Thing for the kids in our building and at the local comic shop to colour. The prize for best piece will be a bunch of the Kirby 100 reprints. I will probably be having a show of Kirby books in our tenant lounge too, since I am the de facto comic historian and writer in our building. should be fun to connect with a bunch of like-minded Kirby fans. I’ll have a showing too of the Jack Kirby documentary from the first FF movie’s bonus features and a nice display including FF 1-10 and 48-51, and Strange Tales 89. Hey, hundredth birthdays deserve something special.
I would love to hear if anyone else is doing anything special for the King’s birthday.
Hope you have a great Jack day! Excelsior!!!
Hi Mel, Have you seen the Kirby 100 issue from Two Morrows?I was just looking at it online.Sounds interesting indeed!
From the sounds of “things”, you must be a pretty popular guy in your building.Hats off to you.You are probably helping to foster the purchasing public of the future!
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