The History of Kirby: 1976
The King returns to Cap, launches The Eternals and adapts a sci-fi classic.
In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.
What better year for Jack “King” Kirby, co-creator of one of the most famous patriotic super heroes ever, to return to Mighty Marvel than 1976, the Bicentennial of the founding of the United States?
Back from his stint at DC, Jack arranged to provide the House of Ideas with new stories, new books, and a new era of creativity, and with a special deal from him to write, draw, and edit his own projects, got down to work once more. To launch his second term at Marvel, he unleashed three special books.
First and foremost, Jack took up the task of directing his popular co-creation, Captain America. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #193, he unveiled the beginnings of a fantastic adventure for Cap and his partner the Falcon that would pit them against the Royalist Forces of America and culminate mid-year in the landmark CAPTAIN AMERICA #200. The two heroes slugged it out with General Heshin and his so-called “madbombs” across the country, providing ample opportunity for trademark Kirby action and spectacle, as well as new characters and concepts.
Jack also opened up a brand-new series that year, one that sprang from the then-controversial “ancient astronauts” craze. ETERNALS #1 took readers on a journey into Jack’s latest pantheon of super-beings, ones that resembled gods and who revealed the shadowy history of the human race on Earth. The designs for Ikaris, Mokkari, Sersi, and their brethren echoed all the great Kirby looks of the past, yet seemed wilder than ever. As it continued, the series detailed the two other races that, alongside mankind, made up a cosmology that its creator obviously relished and enjoyed unfolding.
Lastly, Jack wrote and drew an over-sized MARVEL TREASURY SPECIAL which adapted the 1969 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and after its publication expanded upon the film’s ideas in a new ongoing title of the same name. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY #1 allowed Kirby the means to tell stories with themes he found interesting, yet also grounded in the same awe and wonder as seen on the big screen.
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