Monday, February 05, 2007

Jack Kirby and His Work

There's a clip of comic book artist Jack Kirby from the MASTERS OF COMIC BOOK ART video here. The video was released in twenty years ago.

If you have heard the name and want to know a bit more about Jack Kirby, then this 5 minute clip will help you understand some of the seminal comics work that he did. Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men -- he created a lot of comic characters and has a multi-generational fanbase. A lot of them iconic, still valuable money-making properties for Marvel. In comic book shops, Kirby still outsells everything else, 13 years after his passing on February 6, 1994.

If you know his work, then it's fascinating to hear the man talk about what his stories. Even though it may be tempting to giggle as he very seriously talks about gods and heroes and silver surfers and demons -- this artist believed in these people and their worlds. And that showed on the page, then and now.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Kirby, whose style became Marvel's "house style." I was old enough to buy his 1970s DC output, and fortunate to find some old issues of his CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN at Buzzy's Used Books in Lawrence, KS. I always admired his work, but it was his tremendous output and the fact he followed his own path that I always found interesting.

Kirby was self-taught. He spent a week or a day at Pratt Institute when he was 14 years old (accounts vary). He left to find work. And work he did! He was one of the most prolific pencillers out there. Kirby pretty much WAS Marvel Comics.

"In the early days of Marvel, Kirby had found it necessary to often pencil and plot five or six books a month," reports the Jack Kirby Museum site.

And at 20 pages per issue -- uh -- ugh -- Good Lord! -- Choke! -- that's a lot!!!

Photo from the Kirby Museum site.

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