Saturday, August 28, 2010

Long Live The KING

Today is the birthday of comics legend (heck, ART and STORYTELLING legend);


Kirby either created, co-created or drew nearly every comic character / property that existed at Marvel and DC to the point of his passing in 1994.

Oddly enough, while he DID draw Doctor Strange in a few issues and spots here and there...

Fantastic Four # 27

Journey Into Mystery # 108


...and the occasional cover blurb for Strange Tales...

I particularly like his very heroic and traditionally ruggedly drawn rendition of Doc for the cover of Strange Tales 126.
 Seeing the Dark Dimension decked out with almost art-deco buildings blows my mind.
And Doc's little orange ankle boots just WORK for me.

...and also designing the little corner box drawing of Doc that would appear on many covers (wherein as he would often do, draw Doc's cloak as more of a poncho or robe so his hands could emerge from within the deep folds)...


...while also tossing Doc into a few other group shot images here and there (one odd entry being an old 1966 issue of Esquire magazine when the publication ran a story on college kids reading Marvel comics)...

(I have the issue and while I did steal borrow these scans from the web, I'll post about this issue in time - with nice full-size images.)


...I think the only time he drew Doc on a full cover was...

Strange Tales # 130

I absolutely LOVE old comic covers that have that mottled coloring style.

Strange Tales # 130 was also distinctive as it was the very FIRST time that Doctor Strange got the full cover! (and with a Beatles reference as well! Awesome)!

The Doc portion of the cover reprinted for Strange Tales # 183

Sadly, Kirby never drew Man-Thing that I can recall.
How freaky-cool would THAT have been!
And a Kirby-drawn ROM: Spaceknight would have been the absolute BEST thing to happen in the history of EVER... but alas, that did not happen.


I met Jack Kirby at a convention when I was a comic artist - this would have been 1991 I believe.
He was walking the con with his wife Roz, and as I spied him approaching my table in the 'artist's alley' I flustered a bit as to what to do to show this man my appreciation for all that he had done.
I quickly grabbed a hand-colored copy of a drawing of Captain America that I had done, and vaulted over my table to go and meet this iconic industry giant.

I tried to gently shake his hand, but his wife, Roz said he was under strict orders by his doctor, not to do so. Understanding this, I then gave him the illustration of the comic character that HE had created - and bestowed upon the world - as a gesture of my thanks and admiration.
I embarrassingly asked for an autograph, but his wife explained that he was under strict orders to rest his hands and that if I gave my name and info, he would mail one to me at a later date.
I happily did so, saying that autograph or no, this was indeed an honor that I would never forget.

Well, I never did receive the signature, and within a few years he was gone*.

I was working at a comic shoppe / antiquarian bookstore as Creative Director (and Sales Associate) when I heard the news of his passing.
Needless to say the entire mood of the store changed.
It shifted from fans bickering about whose favorite character could beat whom and what comics were out that day to a 'brotherhood' sharing tales and remembrances of the best and most favorite Kirby works.

That was the power of Jack Kirby's work.
He could unite the multitudes of discordant thoughts, views and arguments into a shared vision of what was GOOD about this hobby / industry / lifestyle.

The King is dead, but his works live on.
Long live the King!

 * I should footnote this partial anecdote with this link to a fantastic telling of how, 20 years after this meeting, the "ghost" of Jack Kirby "appeared" on my TV, and showed me that he did, in fact, keep and showcase my art gift. The piece has been seen in several documentaries of his life, Stan Lee's life, and the history of Marvel.

That tale, the artwork, and video/film proof, can be found HERE.

"Tamam Shud!"


cerebus660 said...

Lovely tribute to the King!

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