Jack Kirby was known as the “King of Comics” because he was one of the most talented artists in the industry. He’s made many significant contributions to the comic book universe with his brilliantly sketched characters. Here re ten interesting facts about Mr. Kirby that most people are not aware of.
1. He would have been 100 years old in 2017
August 28, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the King of Comics. Jack Kirby would have been a century old on this date. He was born on this date in 1917. He spend more than six decades of his life with dedication making comics. He passed away of February 6th of 1994 at the age of 76.
2. He was also a romance artist
Here is a fun fact about Jack Kirby that most people don’t know. He, along with Simon launched a comic titled “Young Romance.” Arguably, it was the first time that a romance had ever been published in comic book form. It was a first for the comic book industry and well as for both Simon and Kirby. The two were in collaboration on the project and although it’s largely been sidelined, it’s important to acknowledge that it happened.
3. He didn’t pander to a particular audience
In his work and profession, Jack Kirby knew that comics were not just a passing fad. He believed that the entertainment medium was here to stay and he didn’t focus his talents on pandering to any on audience in particular. He followed his instincts and used comics to tell a variety of different stories that would appeal to a wide range of viewers male, female, young, old and so forth. It’s not all about superheroes intended for male audiences. He saw the opportunity for storytelling on many levels and so he didn’t stick with one main theme.
4. He helped to build the Marvel Universe
Although Jack Kirby has been gone since 1994, his contributions to Marvel have been so significant that they wouldn’t be where they’re at today if it had not been for his efforts and his masterpieces. He collaborated with Stan Lee on projects that would become important aspects of the Marvel Universe we know today. He helped to craft fiction pieces with stories that began with a simple premise but the links and connections that they would develop in the decades to come would culminate into the combined forms that we’re paying money for to watch on the latest film release at the theaters. Together, he and Lee helped to connect the characters in meaningful ways.
5. He helped to reveal a “world within worlds.”
Kirby’s work with the Fantastic Four is what brought about the Negative Zone with its unfathomable depths. In addition, he’s credited with the creation of the cosmic threats of Annihilus, Kree, Galactus and more. The Attilan and the Inhuman’s society which are the secret ancient civilizations from the Savage Land present the Marvel Universe with a greater sense of believable fodder. He was one of the most creative minds in the business and the Marvel Universe, in part, exists because of his work.
6. Kirby was a mass media crossover expert
There aren’t many fans that are aware of the fat that Jack Kirby started his career as a professional animator. Early in his career he worked for Fleischer Studios. He assisted in bringing their Popeye cartoons to life. Later in his career, he also worked for Hanna-Barbera as well as Ruby-Spears studios.
7. He also worked in costume design
Although it’s not common knowledge that he was a costume designer, it really comes as no great surprise.
He spent time throughout his career designing costumes for movies, plays and for theme parks. Although many of them didn’t come to fruition he still put in the time and effort. He worked on a variety of different costume design projects that we’ll probably never hear about because this part of his career never really took off.
8. He was a political cartoonist
Jack Kirby also did some work crafting political cartoons. To confirm this all you need to do is to reflect back on the 1941 cover of Captain America in the number one edition. It shows Captain American trouncing Adolf Hitler. What a way to establish the character as a patriot.
9. Jack Kirby self-published
This was more of a feat than many people realize. It’s all too easy to make your own comic book today than it was back in the early 1950s era. They didn’t have the luxury of computer programs to generate the pictures. Almost everything had to be done by hand. It was a risky venture because in those days comics were considered to be a “bottom of the barrel” industry. Kirby and his partner Simon financed the endeavor with their own money.
10. He promoted diversity
Another interesting and little known fact about Jack Kirby is that he was an avid promoter of diversity. He worked with Stan Lee in the creation of Black Panther for Marvel Studios. When you review his work you can see that he made every effort to include all types of diversity into the characters and situations on his pages.