A super-heroic love triangle like no other gets a fantastic start!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

Together, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought so much to the Marvel Universe, ranging from heroes and villains to iconic locales and whole races. However, they also established a great deal of relationships that remain relevant to this day. We, of course, know all about the connections between the Fantastic Four and even longtime comrades like the Avengers, but Lee and Kirby also established romantic bonds between characters, including the long and complicated one between Sue Storm and Namor!

It all began in 1962’s FANTASTIC FOUR #4 when Reed and Sue blamed Ben for chasing Johnny off in the previous issue. With one of their own flying solo, the other members of the team split up to track him down. Thing found the Torch working on a car with his buddies, but they fought, Ben changed back into his human form and Johnny ran off. After renting a bed at a men’s hotel in the Bowery, the youngest FF member met a man dealing with amnesia who also happened to be super-strong. After a flame-assisted shave, Johnny quickly realized the mystery man’s true identity: Namor, the Sub-Mariner!

To help jog his new friend’s memory, the Torch dropped Namor into the ocean, which brought all of the Golden Age stalwart’ss memories rushing back. Unfortunately for us surface-dwellers, the Sub-Mariner soon discovered that his underwater home had been ravaged by radioactivity left over from nuclear weapons testing. With that, Namor swore to have his revenge on mankind, even blaming Johnny Storm for waking him up to these atrocities. The Human Torch sent up a flare to get his partners’ attention. At that same time, the displaced ruler of Atlantis plunged the ocean’s depths to rouse a whale-like behemoth called Giganto!

Fantastic Four (1961) #4

Fantastic Four (1961) #4

What is Marvel Unlimited?

As the beast laid waste to New York City, The Thing decided to do the only thing that made sense: he strapped a nuclear bomb to his back and walked straight into Giganto’s maw! The plan worked, destroying the monster in the process. Unperturbed, Namor raised his creature-calling horn to summon more when Sue Storm used her invisibility powers to sneak up and snatch the instrument away. Upon seeing the Invisible Girl’s true form, the Sub-Mariner became instantly smitten. He even offered to spare humanity if Sue agreed to marry him. She quickly rebuked his ridiculous offer, which did not sit well with the arrogant king. At that point, Human Torch turned on the turbo jets, creating a cyclone that carried Namor back out to the ocean so he could cool off.

Far from the best meet cute in the history of comics, this initial meeting between Sue and Namor has led not just to further flirtations, but also more than a few alternate realities where the two actually got together and ruled the planet!

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.

Read More

The Fantastic Four take on a fiendish foe in Transylvania!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

If there’s a better way to celebrate Halloween than by traveling to Transylvania with Marvel’s First Family, we don;t know it! That’s the basis behind 1964’s FANTASTIC FOUR #30 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! In true FF fashion, the trip acted as a mix of business and pleasure for the team. The vacation began with Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben wandering through a forest that, according to Mr. Fantastic, seemed like it intended to trap them within.

Just as the group reached a clearing with an old, decrepit castle, a group of villagers appeared behind them, warning the heroes not to enter for fear of upsetting Diablo. Led by Mayor Baron Hugo, the party brought the FF back to town where he explained the legend of Diablo to them. A hundred years ago, the villagers had had enough of Diablo’s evil alchemy and sealed him up in the castle itself. While some thought he must surely be dead after a century, others believed the villain had figured out a way to extend his lifespan.

Fantastic Four (1961) #30

Fantastic Four (1961) #30

  • Published: September 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That night, Ben found himself roused from sleep by a melodious voice that seemed to put him in a trance. It called him to Diablo’s castle and he answered, using his strength to open a massive crypt and free his new master! The next morning, the rest of the Fantastic Four followed Thing’s trail and found him changed. He agreed to work for Diablo for a year in exchange for a new form that left him still orange, but more human in appearance. If Ben followed through, Diablo would give him the rest of the serum to turn him fully human again.

Grimm sided with the newly released prisoner over his longtime friends, even getting into a fight with his allies! Reed, Sue, and Johnny decided to leave Thing to his new life, but kept an eye on him. So did the rest of the world as Diablo started selling immortality chemicals. At around the same time, Reed discovered that Diablo’s chemicals truly caused more harm than good and Ben realized that he’d been tricked! The rest of the FF didn’t waste any time before attacking Diablo’s castle. He had amassed a small army to help defend his lair, but they couldn’t stand up against the heroes, especially Ben rejoined his teammates!

In the end, Ben Grimm may have turned back into The Thing, but he never would have been able to re-entomb Diablo without the strength and durability that came with that form! In other words, Kirby and Lee offer a spooky story with a nice message about being who you are on this Halloween day!

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.

Read More

View Ulysses Klaw's change from an invader to a super-powered sound slinger!

 

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Klaw made his diabolical return to comics with this week’s BLACK PANTHER #166. He and T’Challa have raged against each other for years, which means that he makes an excellent candidate for this week’s FLASHBACK FRIDAY!

The character debuted in a very different form back in 1966’s FANTASTIC FOUR #53 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which also happened to be Black Panther’s second appearance. In the previous issue, T’Challa brought the Fantastic Four to Wakanda and challenged them physically. In this one, though, he revealed his true purpose for bringing them to his homeland.  

Fantastic Four (1961) #53

Fantastic Four (1961) #53

  • Published: August 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The king showed his guests around and explained both the mantle of the Black Panther and the existence of Vibranium. In a flashback, we met Klaw who had arrived in Wakanda to mine the unique element. He needed it to power his own invention, the Sound Transformer. When T’Challa’s father refused permission, Klaw killed him.

Back in the present, Wakanda had been plagued by mysterious red creatures that left no trace when they finally fell in battle. While the Fantastic Four fought the projections, T’Challa went after the perpetrator himself. Klaw intended to kill anyone who stood between him and the Vibranium he craved. To put a stop to his enemy and avenge his father, T’Challa brought an entire mountain down on Klaw.

Instead of dying, though, the villain leaped into his own sound converter, thus turning his body into pure sound. The villain returned in a far more familiar form not long after in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #56. He popped up out of nowhere to trap Mr. Fantastic and Thing in Reed’s lab.  

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

  • Published: November 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Klaw then attacked Sue Storm and explained his new look and powers. “My physical structure is now composed of solidified sound – sound which serves me as a weapon, far greater than any ever known!”

Sue did her best to hold her own against the mad villain looking to prove himself. Meanwhile, Ben and Reed continued to try and escape from Klaw’s trap, which they eventually did! After Thing failed to drop the bad guy, Reed received a pair of Vibranium knuckles rocketed to Manhattan by T’Challa.

Properly armed, Richards knocked Klaw out with a few punches that would make Ben Grimm proud before smothering him with his own stretchy body. Having properly drained the villain of his powers, the team disabled his weaponry and then thanked Black Panther for his well-timed delivery.

Flash Forward

Klaw returned next in AVENGERS #5455 as a member of the Masters of Evil along with Whirlwind, Melter, Black Knight and Radioactive Man lead by the mysterious Crimson Cowl who turned out to be Ultron-5. The villains worked well together to take out the heroes! In the second issue, Klaw tried killing the Crimson Cowl, but failed. He then swore his allegiance. That failed to help, though, as the Avengers eventually escaped and Black Panther appropriately put Klaw down in the final battle. 

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

Fantastic Four (1961) #56

  • Published: November 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Read More

Can the combined Avengers and Fantastic Four halt a Hulk-Thing fight?

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

An old philosophical question once asked, what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? Well, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby didn’t answer that one, but they sure dug into what takes place when the Incredible Hulk comes to blows with the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! The two titans came to blows in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #25 and #26 from 1964 and the very Earth shook! It all started with Thing refusing to take an accidentally discovered serum that could have cured him of his rocky visage because he didn’t know if Alicia Masters would still love him as just Ben Grimm.

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

  • Published: April 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Meanwhile, The Hulk wanted peace and quiet after his fight with his old teammates in AVENGERS #3. The group quickly replaced him with Captain America, but still wanted to find their errant ally. The Jade Giant decided to get rid of every trace of Bruce Banner and smashed up his secret lab. He then saw the newspaper about Cap’s return and Rick Jones palling around with him. Feeling jealous and spurned, Hulk decided to hop to New York City and “destroy the Avengers forever.”

With Earth’s Mightiest Heroes actually near the old lab looking for Hulk, he jumped right past them and wound up causing such a ruckus that the FF took notice and moved to stop him. With Reed Richards out of commission and both Johnny and Sue Storm quickly felled by the emerald brute, Ben Grimm took it upon himself to stop the rampage. This duo had come to blows previously in FANTASTIC FOUR #12, but this time they tore through buses, buildings, and even the street to clobber one another. Thanks to some help from the Yancy Street boys, the pair wound up fighting underwater and then on boats before moving on to the George Washington Bridge!

Moving into issue #26, Hulk continued to call for the Avengers, but Thing still stood to fight another day, or at least a few more rounds! A battered Human Torch even got back in on the action, but the Fantatsic twosome didn’t stand a chance. Hulk messed them up and then went to Tony Stark’s mansion to visit his old friends.

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

  • Published: May 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Hulk tore into the Avengers who gave as good as they got. A rejuvenated Reed Richards soon led his own team to attack Jade Jaws as well, but all those heroes together proved more calamity than anything else. After figuring out how to actually work together, both crews converged on Hulk who had perched himself on a skyscraper construction site. Though the combined might of the Avengers and Fantastic Four could barely stop the rampage, Rick Jones wound up saving the day by tossing an “emergency gamma-ray treated capsule” that Banner had supplied him with months prior.

Hulk ran off, jumping into the water and soon turned back into Bruce, floating along to his next adventure. With that, both teams pledged to work well together in the future and returned to their own lives with an unspoken promise from Kirby and Lee that, when that happened, it would be just as exciting and groundbreaking as this time!

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.

Read More

The Fantastic Four investigates an empty house with startling results!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

New parents have a lot on their mind. From diaper changings and feedings to worrying about all manner of other potential dangers, making mistakes comes with the territory. Now, take all of that and throw in a never-ending train of super-menaces to deal with and you get an idea of where Reed and Sue Richards’ heads resided in FANTASTIC FOUR #8889 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Their son—not yet named in these issues, but eventually called Franklin—had been born not long prior in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6, so after coming home from a mission, they all decided to look at an out-of-the-way home that would offer them privacy and safety. The fact that they didn’t think anything of a strange building in the middle of nowhere that no one had ever lived in and seemed to come out of nowhere should have triggered a few alarms, but let’s blame that new parent baby brain on that.

For us, though, we get to see “The King” do his thing, designing a domicile that would make Frank Lloyd Wright’s places look tame in comparison. The more the Fantastic Four and Crystal—a member of the squad at that point—looked around, the more they realized that something might be up. Still, they decided to buy the place and start moving in. They started regretting the purchase a bit when Reed tried drilling some holes so Sue could hang pictures and the security system shot stub bolts and trapped him in a clear jar. Still, not fully wary of the purchase, they continued to unpack.

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

  • Published: July 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unbeknownst to the new tenants, the build actually came from a surprise source, one who kept an eye on things while the Richards’ moved in: Mole Man! He’d been using the place to send out a signal that would make everyone on the surface world as blind as him! After robbing the FF of their sight and revealing himself at the end of #88, Mole Man really pressed his advantage in the following issue. Far more used to fighting in the dark than his opponents, the villain easily dodged their attacks!

However, Mole Man underestimated how much Reed and Sue loved each other and how fiercely they’d fight any foe to keep the other safe. After Mr. Fantastic wound up on the wrong end of the villain’s staff, The Invisible Girl lashed out, knocking off his glasses and exposing his overly sensitive eyes to light they could not handle. Enraged at the attacks on his friend and his sister and with sight renewed, Human Torch took off and melted Mole Man’s staff. As the subterranean tyrant blamed everyone but himself for his crimes, Johnny Storm corralled him and then, essentially, told him to stop being so whiny and take responsibility for himself.

With the immediate threat out of the way, the team could concentrate on reviving Reed, who seemed out for the count, but soon regained consciousness after The Thing administered mouth to mouth and CPR. In this story Lee and Kirby presented a thrilling tale that keeps you involved at every turn while also giving Jack plenty of room to play when it came to designing a house that just about any fan would love to visit—though maybe without the booby traps!

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.

Read More

The King's Silver Age Marvel work comes to a close with a milestone for the Fantastic Four and more.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

The year 1969 became a turning point in the career of Jack Kirby as the legendary artist began what would be his final Marvel projects during the Silver Age of Comics.

Jack wound down his output even more in the last year of the Swingin’ Sixties, passing CAPTAIN AMERICA off to newer artists like Barry Windsor Smith and concentrating on his landmarks, FANTASTIC FOUR and THOR. With Stan Lee, Jack dove into an appearance by the mysterious Inhumans in FANTASTIC FOUR #82, as well as a new Doctor Doom saga that began in FANTASTIC FOUR #84. Later in the year, he and Lee created a planet of Skrulls who’d adopted an early-20th century gangster lifestyle in FANTASTIC FOUR #92, which led to the Thing battling a fantastic new Kirby creation, the robot Torgo, in FANTASTIC FOUR #93.

In CAPTAIN AMERICA #109, jack provided a big send-off for the Sentinel of Liberty with a retelling of his origin, then returned for a single story of super heroes’ remembrances of Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #112.

Captain America (1968) #109

Captain America (1968) #109

  • Published: January 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

One Jack greatest co-creation, Galactus, returned in THOR #160 to bedevil the Thunder God as well as another Kirby stand-out character, Ego the Living Planet. Later, in THOR #165, Thor battle Him before Galactus returned once more to stomp his way through the rest of the year.

As 1970 dawned, Jack made plans to leave Marvel. He’d already logged artwork for upcoming issues of his books and finished more in the first few months of the year. This provided Marvel and its fans a few more chances to see “The King” on their favorite characters before his departure.

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

Fantastic Four (1961) #100

  • Published: July 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Jack had drawn many a spooky witch in his early days on monster and horror anthologies, but perhaps his superlative success with the them came in the form of Agatha Harkness, introduced in FANTASTIC FOUR #94. A few issues later, Stan and Jack celebrated one-hundred installments of “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” in FANTASTIC FOUR #100, and then followed that up with a clash between the FF and Namor the Sub-Mariner with his new ally Magneto.

Over in THOR, Jack surrounded the Thunder God with the flames of Surtur in THOR #176, and then ended his run on the book with the incredible cover of Thor in all his glory on THOR #177.

Thor (1966) #177

Thor (1966) #177

  • Published: June 10, 1970
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 24, 2011
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

One fascinating footnote of Jack’s last days at Marvel arrived in the form of a new anthology Stan called AMAZING ADVENTURES. In the first four issues, Jack not only drew an amazing solo adventure of his Inhumans, but also scripted it, too. This rare combination of writing and art put a singular capstone on Jack Kirby last collaborations with Marvel in the 1960s. From there, he made his way to DC, but by no means did he shut the door on ol’ Marvel for good…

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

Amazing Adventures (1970) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Read More

Daredevil teams up with the Fantastic Four to take on Doctor Doom!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us 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.

When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Fantastic Four in their 1961 debut issue, none of the characters exactly wanted their cosmic ray-granted abilities. Sure—Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch, and The Thing eventually used their powers to save the world, but they likely would’ve chosen to give them up in the early days.

So what happened when they actually lost their powers just a few years later in 1965’s FANTASTIC FOUR #39 and #40? In the previous story, the team barely escaped a nuclear blast set off by the Frightful Four—and after floating in the ocean for 24 hours, a Navy submarine picked them up so they could convalesce aboard the vessel. Soon, however, they admitted to themselves and each other that in the chaos, they’d lost their powers!

Fantastic Four (1961) #39

Fantastic Four (1961) #39

  • Published: June 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After returning to New York, Reed immediately got to work, attempting to scientifically replicate their powers—while hoping that their enemies wouldn’t find out about their defenselessness. Despite his efforts, Richards failed with his experiments.

As the evil Doctor Doom raged against his longtime opponents—and planned an urgent attack—the Fantastic Four’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, agreed to meet them at a mysterious warehouse. There, he witnessed (via his special sensory abilities) the group practicing with their new power-replicating equipment. Then, during the meeting, Doom began his assault. In the smoke and confusion, Murdock changed into his fighting togs and offered his services as Daredevil!

As Doctor Doom set up in the Baxter Building, using Richards’ own weapons against the heroes, the group split up to take on the villain from different angles. And as Doom obsessed over tracking down the Four, the Man Without Fear snuck in a window and got the drop on the Latverian.

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

  • Published: July 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Daredevil held his own against Victor von Doom for a long enough time that the Fantastic Four were able to catch up—though still without powers, they still threw themselves into battle. While his teammates distracted Doom, Richards grabbed the Stimulator—a weapon they used against the Skrulls in FANTASTIC FOUR #37—and zapped Ben, Johnny, Sue, and himself.

The device reawakened their powers, allowing the team to join the fight full-force. The battle between Ben Grimm and Victor von Doom threatened to knock down the entire Baxter Building—if not New York City itself—and ultimately The Thing crushed Doom’s plans for conquest. Though the villain still managed to escape thanks to his diplomatic immunity as ruler of Latveria!

Having regained their powers, the team—and especially Grimm—didn’t celebrate, but at least knew they could defend themselves the next time their enemies came calling.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more Kirby klassics! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Cap gets his own title, while the FF battle a bevy of heroes and much more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Superstar artist Jack Kirby continued to focus on only a few books in 1968, but one character of his in particular received even more attention from “The King” that year. In all, 1968 would prove to be another standout time for Kirby designs.

Over in FANTASTIC FOUR #70, Jack played around with the look of Sue Richards’ costume, adding a kind of skirt motif to it. It didn’t last long overall, but one Kirby creation that seemed poised to launch even higher into the stratosphere of popularity called himself the Silver Surfer, and he returned in FANTASTIC FOUR #72.

Jack also got to draw some of the other Marvel stars in guest-shot appearances in FANTASTIC FOUR #73, aided writer-editor Stan Lee in Galactus’ latest mischief-making in FANTASTIC FOUR #74 and #75, and played around again with the Thing’s wish to change back to plain ol’ Ben Grimm permanently in FANTASTIC FOUR #78.

Perhaps the biggest news that year for FF fans arrived in Lee and Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 blockbuster. In it, Jack unleashed the spooky Annihilus, a weird insect-like tyrant who ruled over the Negative Zone and stood in the team’s way of securing a cure for Sue’s condition. What condition might that’ve been? None other than dangerous amounts of radiation in her body endangering the birth of her first child, Franklin Richards. Stan and Jack saw her through, though, and the old Kirby artistic touch seemed right at home at delineating babies.

To increase the tall tales inn the fabled halls of Asgard, Jack added the powerful, cosmic crowbar-wielding Wrecker to THOR #148, and designed a cool new monster, Mangog, for the Thunder God to lay the hammer down upon in THOR #154.

Jack’s World War II super hero soldier received his own title in 1968 when Lee converted his 11-page adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE into a glorious 20-page Kirby extravaganza aptly named CAPTAIN AMERICA. Cap hit the ground running and jumping in CAPTAIN AMERICA #100 and enjoying the company of Stan and Jack’s Black Panther for a clash with the masked Baron Zemo. The Red Skull dropped in for another bout with his arch-nemesis in CAPTAIN AMERICA #101, and Jack whipped up a creepy headshrinker in the form of Doctor Faustus in CAPTAIN AMERICA #107.

The remainder of Jack’s free-time—ha ha—in 1968 rounded out with his usual layout service for other books, and also his incredible control over covers. Two such knock-outs that year must be the Daredevil-Captain America boxing match from DAREDEVIL #43, and the high-flying new cover for TALES OF ASGARD #1, which reprinted Stan and Jack’s back-up feature from THOR.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Ulik, MODOK and the future Adam Warlock were all part of another great year for the King.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

By 1967, Marvel editor Stan Lee knew exactly where to use his top artist, Jack Kirby. Together, “The Man” and “The King” whittled Jack’s output down to two main titles that year, with two main side-projects just to make things interesting. One might say it became a true “Summer of Love” between the Marvel creators and their fans at that time.

Stan and Jack continued to infuse FANTASTIC FOUR with way-out wonders and swingin’ splendors in ’67. They kicked off the year with a multi-issue tussle between the FF and Doctor Doom, and then wasted no time tossing them into a battle with the Negative Zone’s Blastaar in FANTASTIC FOUR #62, and the alien Kree Accuser named Ronin—another stand-out Kirby design—in FANTASTIC FOUR #65.

Though the fans might’ve been unaware of the history-making events occurring in FANTASTIC FOUR #67, Stan and Jack introduced another great concept in that issue’s “Him.” Jack’s visuals on the golden-skinned godling seemed a bit subdued and minimalistic, perhaps, but the character continued on to transform into Adam Warlock a few years later, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic yet engaging stars.

In the pages of THOR, Jack’s other blockbuster assignment, the Thunder God met his physical equal in Ulik the Troll in THOR #137, Kang and his Growing Man in THOR #140, and the Kirby tour-de-force of the Super-Skrull in THOR #142. Thor himself suffered under an almost-complete loss of his Asgardian powers in THOR #145, allowing Jack the opportunity to portray the majesty and grandeur of the character in an Earth-bound, civilian-dressed form.

After a break from Captain America’s adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, Jack returned to the strip along with Stan in TALES OF SUSPENSE #92 to kick off a storyline that illustrated the great depth of feeling from Cap for Agent-13, one of Nick Fury’s valued S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After that, Cap met MODOK, surely the most unique Jack Kirby-designed character of the entire year, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #94, and temporarily retired to try and live a “normal life” in TALES OF SUSPENSE #95.

Apart form all the danger and drama delineated by Jack in 1967, he also poked some fun at himself and the rest of the Marvel pantheon through Stan’s latest brainchild, NOT BRAND ECHH, a comedy-parody mag. Utilizing Jack sparingly, but effectively, Stan included his star artist on the introduction of the Silver Burper in NOT BRAND ECHH #1, Sore, Son of Shmodin in NOT BRAND ECHH #3, and the ever-lovin’ origin of none other than Forbush-Man in NOT BRAND ECHH #5. What a way to go-go!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

See how a Kree warrior went from spying on Earth to protecting it!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

For legions of readers, the name Captain Marvel instantly leads to images of Carol Danvers flying around, punching bad guys and being generally awesome. However, as many longtime fans know, she’s but the latest in a line of characters to use that name at the House of Ideas.

The first debuted in 1967’s MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #12 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. Seeing as how Carol teamed up with the earlier Captain Mar-Vell in this week’s GENERATIONS: THE MIGHTY, it seemed like the perfect time to look back at the latter’s origins. 

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #12

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #12

  • Published: December 01, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 17, 2010
  • Cover Artist: Gene Colan
What is Marvel Unlimited?

As the issue opened, a Kree ship approached Earth with Colonel Yon-Rogg in charge. He ordered Captain Mar-Vell to head planetside even though it flew in the face of protocol. Even though he and his medic-girlfriend Una thought the colonel planned on betraying Mar-Vell, he did his duty and continued on the mission.

Decked out with a protective green and white suit, emerald helmet, air-ject belt, universal beam blaster and a potion that allowed him to breathe Earth air for an hour at a time, the captain leapt into action.

Thanks to his own remembrances, we came to understand what brought him to Earth: the destruction of Kree Sentry #459 as seen in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #64 plus Ronan’s defeat by the FF in the following issue! 

Fantastic Four (1961) #64

Fantastic Four (1961) #64

  • Published: July 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Almost immediately, Mar-Vell stumbled upon a missile test that went sideways. While searching for the cause of the failure, the operators quickly discovered Cap’s presence and set out to investigate. Not wanting to threaten his mission, he ran away, changed into Earth clothes, hitched a ride and got himself a room at a nearby hotel.

There, the colonel teleported a wrist monitor onto Mar-Vell. He then received a message from the Imperial Minister of the Supreme Intelligence that he would be the new Kree agent on Earth. Only success would be tolerated, failure would result in death.

Literally flying solo on a strange planet with no back-up, Captain Mar-Vell continued his adventures in the following issue, written by Roy Thomas where he not only took on the identity of Walter Lawson, but also met Carol Danvers in her first appearance. From there he transitioned into a solo series, CAPTAIN MARVEL, which ran from 1968 to 1979. Three years later, in MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, the world lost a hero as the Kree warrior succumbed to cancer that started developing thanks to his battle with Nitro in CAPTAIN MARVEL #34

Captain Marvel (1968) #34

Captain Marvel (1968) #34

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Flash Forward

Not counting time travel and Vanishing Points, Captain Mar-Vell continues to be one of the few dead heroes who hasn’t come back. During Civil War, though, it seemed like he’d come back from the dead as seen in CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN. That version of Mar-Vell continued on in five issue CAPTAIN MARVEL series which eventually crossed into Secret Invasion and revealed that the Skrull Khn’nr had been masquerading as the beloved character. It turned out that his mental programming failed and the Mar-Vell identity actually took over, so even after learning the truth about himself, he remained loyal to Earth and fought against the Skrulls. After fighting a losing battle that eventually killed him, he crossed paths with Noh-Varr and encouraged him to carry on the legacy of Captain Marvel which he did in the pages of DARK AVENGERS.

Read More