Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby: Marvel's Mightiest Creators Celebrate the King
Commemorate Jack "King" Kirby's 102nd birthday all week on Marvel.com!
Comic book legend and one of the architects of the merry Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby was born 102 years ago this Wednesday, on August 28, 1917. To mark the occasion, Marvel.com is taking a look back at his legacy, from planet Earth to Asgard, Ego, and beyond.
"King" Kirby's fundamental influence on the Multiverse is nearly inexpressible; it's not just characters, costumes, and worlds, it's also baked into panel structure, perspective, and line work. This impact—both overt and subconscious—has resonated since Kirby's early days with a new character called Captain America, into his remarkable run with the Fantastic Four, through his veteran pursuits with the Eternals, until today.
To celebrate Jack Kirby, we've collected interviews with just a few of Marvel's modern masters to see how they remember the King.
"There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t look at Jack Kirby’s art! If it’s not a book in my hands, it’s framed art on my walls! I don’t have any of my own work on my walls—but I have Jack’s! He was, and forever will be, the King of comics!"
"I discovered Kirby’s work before knowing it was actually Kirby’s. I guess it happens quite a bit when you’re a kid, but the Spanish editions of some Marvel Comics back in the day were not the best at crediting creators.
Anyway, I must have been 10 years old. I was already an avid comic book reader without giving much mind to where or from whom they came from. An issue of the FANTASTIC FOUR fell into my hands. It was the one in which The Thing ends up as the pirate Blackbeard, which I later learned was [Stan] Lee and Kirby’s [FANTASTIC FOUR] #5. I knew nothing; who those guys were, where they came from, what the hell was going on. I only knew it looked different; brash and energetic and fun and dramatic.
I never went back to my old comic books. I kept looking for that energy when I scanned through a new one, before buying. Kirby became the measure bar for every comic book I bought, without me really knowing his name."
"There is just something so alien and yet so accessible about his work. It draws you in because you’ve never seen anything like it before, and yet it feels like it’s something you’ve always wanted. The human aspect: the family, the outsiders, the angry rebel, the lost soul—all of these archetypal characters felt familiar. You saw a piece of yourself in Johnny Storm, Jean Grey, T’Challa or even Norrin Radd, Victor Von Doom, or Harvey Elder. But then that piece of you was whisked away to worlds beyond your wildest imagination. It’s mind blowing for me now to look at Kirby’s work and try to process it. I can’t even imagine what it was like at the time."
"My job is to dig down and rediscover what I love about these characters and then show it to you. And Kirby’s creations and co-creations are so emotional, so human at the core, that it’s almost impossible not to be able to tap into them."
"His stories are dynamic and bold and exciting. More than anything, Kirby was an “imaginer” and I don’t ever want to forget how important that is to comics. He brought his all to every page he worked on."
Stay tuned to Marvel.com this week for more in commemoration of the King!
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