84 Facts About Jack Kirby


Jack Kirby grew up in New York City and learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons.


Jack Kirby entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s, drawing various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, before ultimately settling on Jack Kirby.


Jack Kirby was involved in Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, which in the next decade became Marvel.


Jack Kirby's titles garnered high sales and critical acclaim, but in 1970, feeling he had been treated unfairly, largely in the realm of authorship credit and creators' rights, Jack Kirby left the company for rival DC.


At DC, Jack Kirby created his Fourth World saga which spanned several comics titles.


Jack Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid-to-late 1970s, then ventured into television animation and independent comics.


In 2017, Jack Kirby was posthumously named a Disney Legend for his creations not only in the field of publishing, but because those creations formed the basis for The Walt Disney Company's financially and critically successful media franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg on August 28,1917, at 147 Essex Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, where he was raised.


Jack Kirby's parents, Rose and Benjamin Kurtzberg, were Austrian-Jewish immigrants, and his father earned a living as a garment factory worker.


Jack Kirby liked to draw, and sought out places he could learn more about art.


Jack Kirby was rejected by the Educational Alliance because he drew "too fast with charcoal", according to Kirby.


Jack Kirby later found an outlet for his skills by drawing cartoons for the newspaper of the Boys Brotherhood Republic, a "miniature city" on East 3rd Street where street kids ran their own government.


At age 14, Jack Kirby enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, leaving after a week.


Jack Kirby remained until late 1939, when he began working for the theatrical animation company Fleischer Studios as an inbetweener on Popeye cartoons at the same time in 1935.


Jack Kirby left the studio before the Fleischer strike in 1937.


Jack Kirby ultimately settled on the pen name Jack Kirby because it reminded him of actor James Cagney.


Jack Kirby moved on to comic-book publisher and newspaper syndicator Fox Feature Syndicate, earning a then-reasonable $15-a-week salary.


Jack Kirby began to explore superhero narrative with the comic strip The Blue Beetle, published from January to March 1940, starring a character created by the pseudonymous Charles Nicholas, a house name that Kirby retained for the three-month-long strip.


Jack Kirby asked if we could do some freelance work together.


Jack Kirby was bitterly convinced it was specifically Lee who betrayed them, ignoring Simon's willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt.


Jack Kirby was drafted into the US Army on June 7,1943.


Jack Kirby landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on August 23,1944,.


Jack Kirby recalled that a lieutenant, learning that comics artist Jack Kirby was in his command, made him a scout who would advance into towns and draw reconnaissance maps and pictures, an extremely dangerous duty.


Simon and Jack Kirby additionally freelanced for Hillman Periodicals and for Crestwood Publications.


Simon, inspired by Macfadden Publications' romantic-confession magazine True Story, transplanted the idea to comic books and with Jack Kirby created a first-issue mock-up of Young Romance.


Simon left the industry for a career in advertising, while Jack Kirby continued to freelance.


At this point in the mid-1950s, Jack Kirby made a temporary return to the former Timely Comics, now known as Atlas Comics, the direct predecessor of Marvel Comics.


Jack Kirby recast the archer as a science-fiction hero, moving him away from his Batman-formula roots, but in the process alienating Green Arrow co-creator Mort Weisinger.


Jack Kirby began drawing Sky Masters of the Space Force, a newspaper comic strip, written by the Wood brothers and initially inked by the unrelated Wally Wood.


Several months later, after his split with DC, Jack Kirby began freelancing regularly for Atlas despite harboring negative sentiments about Stan Lee, who Jack Kirby believed had disclosed to Timely back in the 1940s that he and Simon were secretly working on a project for National.


Jack Kirby was the single most influential figure in the turnaround in Marvel's fortunes from the time he rejoined the company.


Jack Kirby was like the Holy Scripture and they simply had to follow him without deviation.


Highlights of Jack Kirby's tenure include the Hulk, Thor, the X-Men and Magneto, Doctor Doom, Uatu the Watcher, Ego the Living Planet, the Inhumans and their hidden city of Attilan, and the Black Panther, comics' first black superhero, and his Afrofuturist nation, Wakanda.


Lee and Jack Kirby gathered several of their newly created characters together into the team title The Avengers and would bring back old characters from the 1940s such as the Sub-Mariner and Captain America.


Jack Kirby continued to expand the medium's boundaries, devising photo-collage covers and interiors, developing new drawing techniques such as the method for depicting energy fields now known as "Jack Kirby Krackle", and other experiments.


Jack Kirby began to both write and draw some secondary features for Marvel, such as "The Inhumans" in Amazing Adventures volume two, as well as horror stories for the anthology title Chamber of Darkness, and received full credit for doing so; but in 1970, Kirby was presented with a contract that included unfavorable terms such as a prohibition against legal retaliation.


When Jack Kirby objected, the management refused to negotiate any contract changes, bluntly dismissing his contribution to Marvel's success since they considered Lee solely responsible.


Jack Kirby spent nearly two years negotiating a deal to move to DC Comics, where in late 1970 he signed a three-year contract with an option for two additional years.


Jack Kirby picked the latter book because the series was without a stable creative team and he did not want to cost anyone a job.


The title character was an escape artist, which Mark Evanier suggests Jack Kirby channeled his feelings of constraint into.


The Superman figures and Jimmy Olsen faces drawn by Jack Kirby were redrawn by Al Plastino, and later by Murphy Anderson.


Jack Kirby later produced other DC series such as OMAC, Kamandi, The Demon, and Kobra, and worked on such extant features as "The Losers" in Our Fighting Forces.


Jack Kirby produced three issues of the 1st Issue Special anthology series and created Atlas the Great, a new Manhunter, and the Dingbats of Danger Street.


At the comic book convention Marvelcon '75, in 1975, Stan Lee used a Fantastic Four panel discussion to announce that Jack Kirby was returning to Marvel after having left in 1970 to work for DC Comics.


Back at Marvel, Jack Kirby both wrote and drew the monthly Captain America series as well as the Captain America's Bicentennial Battles one-shot in the oversized treasury format.


Jack Kirby created the series The Eternals, which featured a race of inscrutable alien giants, the Celestials, whose behind-the-scenes intervention in primordial humanity would eventually become a core element of Marvel Universe continuity.


Jack Kirby produced an adaptation and expansion of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as an abortive attempt to do the same for the classic television series The Prisoner.


Jack Kirby wrote and drew Black Panther and drew numerous covers across the line.


Still dissatisfied with Marvel's treatment of him, and with an offer of employment from Hanna-Barbera, aided by the fact that he lived close in the same city Jack Kirby left Marvel to work in animation.


Jack Kirby worked on The New Fantastic Four animated series, reuniting him with scriptwriter Stan Lee and they kept their relations sufficiently cordial on a professional level.


In 1979, Jack Kirby drew concept art for film producer Barry Geller's script treatment adapting Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, Lord of Light, for which Geller had purchased the rights.


In 1983 Richard Kyle commissioned Jack Kirby to create a 10-page autobiographical strip, "Street Code", which became one of the last works published in Jack Kirby's lifetime.


Jack Kirby continued to do periodic work for DC Comics during the 1980s, including a brief revival of his "Fourth World" saga in the 1984 and 1985 Super Powers miniseries and the 1985 graphic novel The Hunger Dogs.


Marvel offered him 88 pages of his art if he signed the agreement, but reserved the right to reclaim the art if Jack Kirby violated the deal.


Phantom Force was the last comic book Jack Kirby worked on before his death.


Jack Kirby proposed to Goldstein on her 18th birthday, and the two became engaged.


Jack Kirby returned to the United States in January 1945, assigned to Camp Butner in North Carolina, where he spent the last six months of his service as part of the motor pool.


In 1949, Jack Kirby bought a house for his family in Mineola, New York, on Long Island.


Jack Kirby moved the family to Southern California in early 1969, both to live in a drier climate for the sake of daughter Lisa's health, and to be closer to the Hollywood studios Kirby believed might provide work.


On February 6,1994, Jack Kirby died at age 76 of heart failure in his Thousand Oaks, California, home.


Jack Kirby was buried at Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California.


Jack Kirby has been referred to as the "superhero of style", his artwork described by John Carlin in Masters of American Comics as "deliberately primitive and bombastic", and elsewhere has been compared to Cubist, Futurist, Primitivist and outsider art.


Jack Kirby created stories in almost every genre of comics, from the autobiographical Street Code to the apocalyptic science fiction fantasy of Kamandi.


Where Jack Kirby diverged from these influences, and where his style impacted on the formation of comic book art, was in his move away from an illustrated approach to one that was more dynamic.


Jack Kirby realized that comic books were not subject to the same constraints as the newspaper strip.


Panels themselves would overlap, and Jack Kirby would find new ways to arrange panels on a comic book page.


Jack Kirby's figures were depicted as lithe and graceful, although Kirby would place them thrusting from the page towards the reader.


The late 1940s and 1950s saw Jack Kirby move away from superhero comics and, working with Joe Simon, try his hand at a number of genres.


Jack Kirby left behind the diverse panel framing and layouts.


Jack Kirby introduced the Negative Zone as a place within the Marvel Universe that would only be illustrated via collage.


Jack Kirby Krackles are typically used in illustrations of explosions, smoke, the blasts from ray guns, "cosmic" energy, and outer space phenomena.


The advanced technology Jack Kirby drew, from the Afrofuturistic state of Wakanda through the Mother Boxes of the New Gods to the spaceships and design of the Celestials is gathered together under the collective term "Jack Kirby Tech".


Unlike many of his contemporaries, Jack Kirby did not use preliminary sketches, rough work or layouts.


Jack Kirby's pencils had a reputation for being detailed, to the point that they were difficult to ink.


Will Eisner remembers even in the early years that Jack Kirby's pencils were "tight".


Jack Kirby's art has been exhibited as part of the Masters of American Comics joint exhibition by The Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles from November 2005 to March 2006.


In 2018 "A Jack Kirby Odyssey" was organized by Tom Kraft.


The Jack Kirby children filed a petition on March 21,2014, for a review of the case by the Supreme Court of the United States, but a settlement was reached on September 26,2014, and the family requested that the petition be dismissed.


Jack Kirby received a great deal of recognition over the course of his career, including the 1967 Alley Award for Best Pencil Artist.


Jack Kirby won a Shazam Award for Special Achievement by an Individual in 1971 for his "Fourth World" series in Forever People, New Gods, Mister Miracle, and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen.


Jack Kirby received an Inkpot Award in 1974 and was inducted into the Shazam Awards Hall of Fame in 1975.


Jack Kirby received the 1993 Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award at that year's Eisner Awards.


On July 14,2017, Jack Kirby was named a Disney Legend for his part in the creation of numerous characters that would comprise Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Jack Kirby was the posthumous recipient of the Bill Finger Award in 2017.