Long Live The King! Kirby That Is!

Nothing has been written about more in comics fandom than the split between Jack Kirby and Marvel. Jack leaving for DC. Jack returning to Marvel and all the various arguments that go along with it. My little bi-monthly column can’t begin to get into all the permutations of this topic nor do I want to. I am just glad we had the mind of Jack Kirby to entertain and enlighten us for so many decades!

Kirby drawing his creationsJack has been gone now for 22 years or so. He died on February 6 1994, yet has his work ever been more alive than it is today? You can’t turn around without seeing his characters everywhere! The Marvel Cinematic Universe, simply put, sprang from Jack Kirby’s pencil on the old school drawing table he used in the basement of his home! Whether it’s on the big screen or the small screen he is everywhere!

Even with all the tinkering at Marvel that has been going on over the last few years, Kirby’s characters are everywhere.

And let’s not ignore DC. Even though the DC Cinematic Universe seems to be running on less than round wheels, Kirby is essentially the overarching architect there as well. The Parademons making an appearance in Superman v. Batman foreshadow the appearance of Darkseid and hopefully the New Gods somewhere down the cinematic line. Now I am just speculating here regarding this but it would make sense.

So what is my point you ask? Thank heavens for comic books! Our “little” hobby has sprung forth and conquered the world! Literally billions upon billions of dollars have been generated  not only affording us some great entertainment (Marvel) and hopefully more cohesive new works (DC) yet to come. How many well paying and creative jobs have been created by our four color classics?

In my wildest dreams I never saw all this coming, but with the advent of modern technology, you can believe a man can fly! Hey, I think that has been used before.

So raise a toast to Jack Kirby, as what would have been his 99th birthday on August 28th! He certainly didn’t create all of this by himself but without him, I am sure we wouldn’t have what we have now!

Nuff said!  Er…Excelsior…or just,

Continued Happy Collecting!

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Dennis De Pues
Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.
Articles: 260

9 Comments

  1. Hey Dennis,

    Thank you for this timely reminder of Jack Kirby’s birthday. A toast will be raised on the 28th for sure I am certain there will be many special “Jack Kirby ” products available next year for the 100th.

    He was a man ahead of his time. Technology has caught up with his imagination. A real shame he didn’t live long enough to see some of it come to the big screen the way it has. Long live the King!

  2. As an aside (what else would you expect?) I highly recommend a story called “In the Days of Heroes” in Growing Up With Comics for my heartfelt appreciation of Jack’s impact on the lives of thousands of kids with troubles, family problems, puberty and life in general plaguing them. He gave all of us an imaginary, and noble, universe we could traverse in Jack’s own mind’s eye, and that alone is one beautiful legacy. Nobody, but nobody, will ever match that.

    Adios King.

  3. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at something created by the hand of the King. A giant among giants in the comic book world.

  4. Happy Birthday, Jack! Moreso than anyone else in comics history, his importance to comic books cannot be overstated. The late Vic Bertini, owner of Iron Vic’s Comics in Poughkeepsie, NY, used to say on a regular basis, “The day Jack Kirby dies I throw a big, black sash across the front of this building and close it!”
    This reminds me that I should give Joe Sinnott a call (he lives not too far away, and I had interviewed him years ago for Comic Book Marketplace) as Joe turns 90 this year.
    I’ll share a Jack story Joe shared with me when I visited his house for that interview. I cannot remember the details of why Joe still had these, but he said they were the last pieces Jack drew, pencilled cover recreations of FF #49 and Avengers #4. Joe was to ink them, but Jack had passed before he could do it, and he then could not bring himself to ink them. They were beautiful, but Joe had me look close and showed me the almost fractal quality to Jack’s pencil lines, a sign that his hand was no longer steady, Sinnott said.
    He said the one thing Kirby could not draw was ears. He said it was the only thing he would ever re-draw when inking Kirby.
    Just a couple little nuggets that I can remember about Kirby from an interview with, in my opinion, the greatest inker of Kirby’s work (and arguably the greatest of them all, period; certainly he’s on the short list of candidates in the conversation.)

  5. That is true, but it was a different time and with help from Neal Adams and many more creators eventually the pendulum did swing the other way and it made the world of comics a much more equitable place.Certainly it was far from ideal but his family has now witnessed the legacy that is the Kings!

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