A trio of takes on the Sentinel of Liberty from his co-creator!
1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.
Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.
During Jack Kirby’s decades-long career he certainly created a number of memorable characters, but none can match Captain America when it comes to longevity. Along with his partner Joe Simon and the talented artists who worked for them, Kirby delivered CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 to Timely Comics in 1941 and continued working on the series through issue #10. During that time, Kirby not only drew Steve Rogers’ origin as the Army reject who wound up becoming the symbol of all things American when given the Super Soldier Serum, he additionally introduced the likes of Bucky and The Red Skull.
As later established in AVENGERS #4, Bucky died thanks to a plot by Baron Zemo that also left Cap floating through the ocean in a block of ice. He remained there until 1965 when Kirby teamed up with Stan Lee—who also contributed to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS—to reintroduce the Sentinel of Liberty to a new generation of readers! The thawed out Super Soldier quickly became a stalwart member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
After bringing Steve Rogers back, Lee and Kirby decided to tell even more Cap stories, this time in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE, starting with #58. While some of these adventures took place in the present, others drew on some of that raw material from the first run of Cap comics and retold them for a new audience, complete with new art that showed off how Kirby’s work had evolved in that time.
TALES OF SUSPENSE gave way to CAPTAIN AMERICA #100 in 1968. Between the two books, Kirby helped introduce characters like Batroc, Doctor Faustus, Sharon Carter, The Falcon, Peggy Carter, M.O.D.O.K., and more. Kirby drew the series through issue #109, and then returned for #112, which he reportedly drew in 24 hours.
In the mid-70s, “The King” returned to the castle he helped build and did one more stint with his bravest of knights: Captain America. Kirby took over as writer-artist-editor of the title with 1976’s #193. Without missing a beat, he launched the Avenger and his partner Falcon directly into classic adventures like “Madbomb,” which dealt with the dangers of weaponized hate.
During this time, Kirby created one of Erik Larsen’s favorite moments during “The Swine,” not to mention the still-relevant Arnim Zola. Ultimately, the King’s reign on CAPTAIN AMERICA would come to a close with 1977’s issue #214, leaving behind not one or two, but three legendary runs on the character!
Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.