When talking about kings, a lot of names and associations may pop into your mind, from The Lion King movie to some King animation on “play free video poker online” advertising you saw recently. But today, let’s talk about one of the world’s most famous kings. 

Jack Kirby is a real king of the world of comics, an artist whose art can be distinguished from far. He truly deserved to be called “King” because he created the most recognizable elements of the MARVEL and DC universes.

For the Marvel Universe, Kirby created Captain America and contributed to the creation of Fantastic Four and X-Men. And Kirby began his acquaintance with the world of comics from the Blue Beetle for Fox Feature Syndicate.

By having a break in work for Marvel, Kirby worked for DC, creating a whole Saga about the Fourth World – the confrontation of the powerful aliens calling themselves gods. The Fourth World did not become particularly popular in his time – but Darkseid fell into the main rules of the DC comic book, as well as the rest of the new gods from the Apocalypses and New Genesis.

Distinguishing Features of Kirby’s Art

The space theme in general was Kirby’s forte. He often wrote stories about clashes with various aliens (or monsters from underground, which was also in trend). Returning to the Marvel Universe, he also presented his readers with the Eternal History characters (Eternals) and Celestials Space Giants (Celestials).

Kirby’s fantastic creations are fairly easy to identify – they often feature some absolutely incredible technical features, either made by brilliant scientists on Earth or engineered by aliens. The mechanisms sometimes seem ridiculous, but it only contributes to their fantasticity.

In addition, a hallmark of Kirby’s work is his ability to portray monsters of all kinds (from large toothy trolls to large aliens), as well as his signature image of energy discharges, dubbed “Kirby Krackle” by fans. In honor of this, they even called one music group, writing songs on comics and (less often) video games.

Not all of his works were famous at the time of their appearance, but now the King is no longer just a King – he has become a Legend. In his honor, there are songs and references to him in comics and animated series. Throughout his career, he was the main artist in the comics, raising standards for illustration and creating essential and influential characters, such as “Captain America,” “Fantastic Four,” and many other characters for MARVEL and DC comics, among others.

Interesting Facts About Jack Kirby

Today, every proud comics fan should know about such an influential figure as Jack Kirby, and some of the real geeks may also know all the rare facts about him. Here are some of them below. 

* In honor of Jack Kirby, the comic artist Rick Wayich called his son Kirby.

* The dispute with Stan Lee forced Kirby to leave Marvel after several years of writing and creating illustrations for them. Kirby then returned to Marvel’s main rival, DC Comics (Joe Simon and Kirby left Timely Comics in the 1940s to go to rival National Comics/DC, and Kirby later worked for them in the 1950s), where he introduced his series “The Fourth World”, which included new gods, eternal people, Mister Miracle, as well as one of his greatest creations, the villain Darkseid. 

Although Kirby’s direct involvement with his creations was short-lived, he later participated in the design of figurines of these characters in the Super Powers toy line developed by the Kenner Toy Company in the 1980s. As DC Comics proudly noted, this led to the fact that Kirby finally received direct fees for the comic characters for the first time in his career.

* Kirby also created Omac characters (One Man Army Corps) and Kamandi, the last boy on Earth.

* He had a severe dispute with Marvel Comics to return his original artwork (which consisted of more than 9,000 pages and took ten years of work). Marvel asked him to sign a release, exempting a company from responsibility for missed work. Kirby refused. After a large-scale support campaign within the Marvel industry, he ultimately returned the remaining art without any conditions, but most of it was absent, including from his peak period.

* The character “Dan Turpin” in Superman (1996) (SUPERMAN: The Animated Series (1996)) was inspired by Jack Kirby.

* People who knew Kirby remember him fondly, not only as a creative artist, but also as a very attentive person at work. For example, when he came to DC Comics after his most famous stint at Marvel Comics in 1970, he insisted on taking on the title “Superman’s Friend, Jimmy Olsen” because no one was working on it at the time and would not lose their job.

* Kirby created producer art for an abandoned film project based on the “Lord of Light” by Roger Zelazny. The scenario of the film and the concept art were later used to trick the film project “Argo,” which was part of the successful operation of the CIA and Canada, which was able to pull six Americans from revolutionary Iran in 1980.